Originally Posted by Snydermf
I mentioned I'm in a rural area and could have a full blown 5-10 page site with SEO done for less than the $1000 I mentioned above, do you find there are significant jumps in price by area or just by level of work done?
I find that "with SEO done" means different things to different developers and clients, and usually not for the better. Regardless of rural or not, less than $1,000 for a solidly performing site, both the site itself, and the on and off-site SEO, is probably difficult to find. A good, solid rural developer should have clients outside of their rural area, so the costs should be commensurate with the experience and output, and not because they live in a small town. If they're that low priced, it's usually more indicative of their skills
, drive, and client-base. A small-town client base might mean you can only sell a $750 site to the local law office, because the work level is different due to the competitive space for ranking that site. To do the same for, say where I live, would be $10k and rise sharply from there. For this, it's the off-site work that adds the sharp increase as, quite frankly, the core web sites themselves could be pretty the same.
I will say that, in all my years here, I can't really recall any site reviews where the poster was assured that their project included SEO and it actually was remotely up to snuff. Same goes for lowball web sites. As Headz points out, you get what you pay for. The problem often being that "you get what you pay for" can also still mean you're getting ripped off. We just saw another incident of that in the review requests. $1800 for a site that, with one glance I knew was a mass-market template, and another 5 second look at the developer's "portfolio", and I knew the story wouldn't jive with what the member probably thought he was paying for.
It's sad, but before going with a developer, you really should do as much vetting as possible. I get PMs all the time asking me to look at a developer's work, and it's extremely rare to find one I would recommend hiring. You just can't pay lowball prices for what's shaping up to be a local business' primary marketing and lead vehicle. It's the irony of ironies, as it pertains to a large majority of Lawnsiters.
(A bit off topic, but pertaining to your example, my main warning for people going with a local is to make sure that they're not working for your competition. I say it often, but Search Rank is a sport that can't have the same coach for both teams. Headz, PaperCutter, and inzane will tell you that it really gets the competitive juices flowing.)