There’s been a lot of buzz about authority sites recently, with many people claiming that they have amazing money earning potential.
Honestly, I think they’re entirely right, but they often underestimate the amount of work involved in an authority site.
The very first thing to understand is that an authority site is a long-term investment.
You won’t get immediate results with this type of site, but you end up with a site that you can continue to develop and grow for a long time.
So, you are probably here because you are curious about how to build an authority blog or an authority site and that is going to be the focus of this article.
I’m also going to talk a little bit about what an authority site actually is and what makes it different.
After all, you should know what something is before you figure out whether you actually want to go through with it or not.
What is an Authority Blog?
Defining an authority blog is surprisingly difficult.
First of all, the terms authority blog and authority site basically mean the same thing.
Most people simply pick one term and use it, or even alternate between the two terms as they see fit.
Realistically, this is because there really isn’t that much difference between a blog and a site anymore, particularly as content creation has become so critical to actually ranking a website.
In general, money making websites are broken down into two categories: niche sites and authority sites.
There are two main areas of difference between these.
The first is the subject area.
Niche sites tend to have a relatively narrow focus – such as a site dedicated to beauty products for teenage girls or one looking at stylish maternity clothes.
In contrast, authority sites often cover a much broader area.
For example, you might find a health and beauty website for teenage girls or even for females overall.
Such a site would focus on multiple different areas, such as eating right, supplements, exercise, beauty products and maybe mental health.
Because they have a much broader subject area, authority sites tend to contain a lot more content.
In many ways, an authority site is like an expansion of a much simpler niche site, or a combination of multiple different niche sites.
The second big difference is the focus on customers.
Generally speaking, authority sites attempt to be a comprehensive source of information on a given area.
Normally this involves helping to solve a problem that the site visitors have, like weight loss.
In contrast, niche sites tend to have a stronger focus on selling products, and often niche sites won’t actually provide that much value to the customer.
This also means that authority sites tend to be of higher quality than niche sites – but as you can imagine, this isn’t always the case.
The problem is, it isn’t that simple.
Whether you consider a site an authority site or a niche site is largely your own personal perspective.
ESPN is a really good example of this.
Some people consider the site to be a very large niche site, while others consider it to be an authority site.
Realistically, it has some features of both, so it’s pretty easy to get confused.
Perhaps the biggest difference doesn’t lie in the site at all, but in the person who builds it and in what they were actually trying to do.
Despite this, there are many sites that do clearly fall into one category or another.
A site with a narrow area of focus and around 20 different posts that are mostly reviews, is probably a niche site, while a site teaching people how to take good holiday photos is probably an authority site.
What makes it Different?
So, with that in mind, what is it that sets an authority blog apart from everything else?
Quality is one thing.
An authority site should have high-quality content, and the content should actually provide value.
For example, you shouldn’t see five articles on an authority site all basically saying the same thing in different words.
Generally speaking, the quality and quantity of content on an authority site is considerably higher than on a niche site.
If you had low-quality content, your authority site probably wouldn’t be very effective.
Additionally, every piece of content (or just about every piece) should be focused on meeting a specific need.
Maybe this involves reviewing a specific product or service or maybe it involves providing instructions or a video tutorial on something that people find interesting.
Above all, an authority site takes time to develop.
You have to spend more time developing content and more time wooing your audience.
Many people actually choose not to sell anything on their site for the first six months or even longer, using that time to build a reputation with their viewers instead.
Whether you do that or not is up to you, but be aware that success with an authority site will not be fast – but it will probably be long term.
How do you Build One?
As you can probably see, there are many similarities between an authority blog and other types of websites, but at the same time, there are many differences.
Because of this, it can seem a little difficult to work out how to build an authority blog, particularly if you haven’t actually built a website in the past.
More than anything else, building an authority site requires planning.
Owners of niche sites often find that they can wing much of their development, because if you have a small or smallish topic area, you will eventually cover it well in time without even trying to.
An authority site is a bit trickier.
For one thing, your reputation matters so much more.
This means that you have to be aware of how your site looks and the direction you take it in right from the start.
With actually building a site you have two main options.
Either you start a site from the very beginning with the specific aim of being an authority site, or you take a niche site and expand it.
Clearly, the first of these options is going to take more time, while the second one will be faster.
Most of the time, an authority site that is developed from scratch will be higher quality.
That just makes sense.
When you know you are making an authority site, you make different decisions and you choose different priorities.
One example of this is that when you start from the beginning you can be sure to pick an area where an authority site is likely to be successful and where the competition is not too strong.
You can also get the navigation and content right from the very beginning, meaning you don’t have to go back and change anything later.
This approach also means that all of the content on your site should be high-quality and relevant.
When you are beginning from an already-made niche site, you may be dealing with earlier content that isn’t quite up to par.
However, you might be looking at how to build an authority blog because you already have a niche site that you want to expand.
It certainly is possible to expand a niche site into an authority site, but it does take a bit of planning and effort.
The first thing to consider is whether it is actually a good idea.
If you have a well-performing and self-contained niche site, trying to expand it might be a bad idea.
Inevitably, expanding a niche site into an authority site will involve adding additional areas of content and directions.
This may annoy some of your readers, and it could actually cause you to lose traffic rather than gain it.
However, if you have a poorly performing niche site, expanding it to an authority site may help to improve it.
In both cases, developing an authority site involves planning out what areas you are going to focus on and what types of content are going to go into each area.
You also want to look at how you are going to make money off the site.
Some authority sites pick a handful of affiliate products to promote, while others develop their own products and/or services based on the needs of their readers.
An alternative approach is to use Google Adsense ads to get revenue from people viewing the site.
You have to know this before you start developing content, because it will affect what keywords you go after and what content you develop.
There really is no trick for building an authority blog.
You want to focus on developing quality content regularly and making sure that content covers the areas you wanted to focus on.
The more comprehensive your content becomes; the more success you will have with your site.
Pair content development with keyword research, and you should be able to build an effective authority blog that ranks well within Google and is popular among users.
Watching the Competition
When you are working out how to build an authority site, you need to consider what your competitors are doing.
You also need to figure out what type of competition you actually have.
For example, if you are wanting to develop a new authority site in the area of weight loss for males, you might want to see what else there is out there.
If there are five really high-quality authority sites already out there, you might want to consider a different niche, or at the very least consider taking a different angle in that niche.
The real trick is to look at the competition in your niche and decide whether you actually compete against it or not.
If you think you can, the next step is to seriously look at what it is about their site that makes them rank well and makes them popular.
You also want to consider what they are missing.
An example of this is the way that many weight loss sites gloss over how challenging weight loss is and focus almost entirely on what you should be doing.
To compete with that you might develop an authority site that takes a more realistic approach to weight loss, considering approaches that can be used to make weight loss sustainable for when people find weight loss challenging to stick to.
The thing is, when you are developing an authority site, you don’t fully know what is going to work and what isn’t.
There is a lot of research that you can do – but it doesn’t tell you everything. I mean, people aren’t exactly predictable at the best of times.
Your competition is an important source of this information, and your competition will show you what problems you are likely to run into down the road.
Pay careful attention to what people have to say about your competitors’ site, particularly in the comments sections.
For your site, you want to preempt any concerns and try to prevent any problems from occurring.
Using your competitors to work out what potential problems are is a very good place to start.
The Importance of Relationships
The relationship between you and your audience is critical for any authority site.
You want your audience to feel like the site is for them, and that you are going out of your way to help them.
This means that you have to build trust, and you have to be careful in what you do, and do not, say to your audience.
When you are figuring out how to build an authority blog, you need to work out how you are going to build that trust, and how you are going to interact with your audience.
One important aspect of this is to find a way to communicate directly with your readers, and let them communicate with each other.
Many authority sites use the comment area for this, allowing people to comment under each post.
This is a fantastic approach, because it means that you get comments that are actually relevant to your content.
It also provides an indication of what content is the most popular at a glance.
An alternative option is forums. If you have a well-developed forum, then you will find that people do use it.
However, this is mainly an option for larger sites, as a forum on a small or new authority site probably won’t get used much.
Regardless of what approach you use, you need to be active.
You’re trying to build trust and build relationships and to do this, you actually have to interact with your viewers.
If you’re using comments, this means that you really should be responding to every post that people make – and I don’t mean saying ‘thanks for reading’ either.
You need to be having real conversations with these people.
This sounds time-consuming, and it can be.
But it also dramatically helps your bottom line.
People will end up trusting you more, and this makes them more likely to purchase.
Additionally, you can get some real insights about your readers from this process.
You can (and should) turn the information you get from this process around and use it to develop content that specifically meets the needs or your audience.
You can even use the information to work out what products you should be developing for your audience.
Some site owners have a habit of asking their users every so often what their biggest challenge is.
This is an interesting way to get people talking, and it means that you find out a whole lot about your audience – which is exactly what you need.
For example, if you were doing a site focused on making money online, you might ask people where they’re getting stuck and then develop content or even a service designed to help them get past that point.
Be warned though – if you try this approach you have to be prepared for a lot of work.
The thing is, if you ask people what their issues are, you have to do something with this information, even the stuff that isn’t useful to you.
You can’t simply ignore the problems that can’t be monetized; otherwise you will lose a lot of your audience fast.
At the very least, you have to talk to people about the responses they give you.
So, don’t try asking the question unless you are certain you want the answers.
One key approach for building relationships with your audience is social media.
Now, some internet marketers use social media regularly, while others don’t.
Whether you do or not is really up to you, but I think social media is critical for an authority site.
Using social media gives you the chance to really reach out and connect with your audience in a way that you just can’t through your site.
If nothing else, I really suggest using Google Plus, because that is Google’s social network anyway, and it does provide a very effective link between your website and Google.
Social media also plays another role.
It provides a way for people to share your content, and people really do share content that interests them.
Realistically, an authority site is likely to get more shares through social media than a niche site is, because the content on an authority site tends to be actually interesting and useful.
Finally, social media provides you with a fantastic way to keep your audience up to date and let them know when you are developing content.
It can even act as an alternative way to interact with them directly and find out more information about what they need and how you can help them.
However, I do recommend being careful not to take on more than you can handle. There are a lot of social networks out there, and you are better off being very active in one than barely active in many of them.
This post has really focused on how to build an authority blog, but I do know I have missed out on the literal ‘how’ of the question.
The reason for this is that I wanted to talk specifically about authority sites without going into the details on how to build a website overall.
Building a website has become much easier than it ever was before, and this is something I have written on in other posts.
In particular, there are a number of free tools that use either templates or drag and drop, meaning that you don’t need any programming knowledge whatsoever.
Not only is the tool itself great, but Wealthy Affiliate offers fantastic training on all levels of how to create a website and how to be successful in online business.
It was where I learned how to develop websites, and where many others have too.
I really suggest checking it out – and you can look me up on there if you want extra advice or direction.