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There is an old adage: "You get what you pay for." It's a common saying that has become cliché enough that some people tend to forget that it is usually true (but not always). Here is another quote, which you may or may not find useful: "Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination." That's from Oscar Wilde.

So... what is the point, you might be wondering. My point is that, more often than not, saving money is a good thing; however, when choosing a Web-design or SEO firm for your business's website, you could be doing yourself a disservice if you choose based solely on estimates of price.

Quite simply: if you are looking for a website that is designed to convert visitors into paying customers or potential customers and you are banking on search engine optimization to bring you targeted visitors, it does not pay to take shortcuts.

In fact, choosing a low-cost solution can often cost you more in the long run.

So how do you choose? Well, chances are, you are not a Web designer or SEO professional and that is why you are looking to hire an expert. So it's understandable you likely won't know what separates a good firm from one that's not.

Here's what you need to know.

Not All Estimates Are the Same

Every day, businesses like yours are looking for a quote on website design or SEO—or both. Though you may have provided your requirements, what you get back in estimates can drastically vary from company to company. What is and is not included in the proposal can be different from estimate to estimate. If you select your Web developer based on the bottom-line price only, you could end up eventually paying more for your website and online marketing.

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image of Jon Kelly

Jon Kelly has been involved in digital marketing since 2004. He works for 1stOnThelist.ca, an award-winning Internet marketing agency based in Vancouver, Canada.