Authority sites don’t have to be big and bulky. They can be pretty darn small and still accomplish their goals of being the most authoritative website online about their topic. In this blog post I am going to break down the basic anatomy of one of my small authority sites so that you can see how I like to build them. I much prefer building the small variety like this.
You are already familiar with this website, AuthorityBlogStarterKit.com. It is a great example of a small authority site. So let’s use this site as an example and take a look at its most basic components.
First take note of how the site is entirely focused on one main topic – How To Build An Authority Site
You can tell that it is focused on that pretty easily because of the big heading across the top of every single page on the website. Check it out.
No matter what page a person lands on when they first enter this website, there is a giant message at the top of that page telling them that this website is about learning how to build an authority website or an authority blog.
One mistake I see other people make when trying to build a site like this is that they don’t make it clear and obvious what their site is all about. Every site needs to have a benefit that it offers to the visitor. That benefit should be crystal clear. I built this site to teach you something and it is quite obvious what I am trying to teach you. Your site should make it obvious for people to see what benefit you are offering them.
The second thing I want you to pay attention to are the nine articles (blog posts) I link to in the sidebar underneath where it says “Start Learning Here”.
Those nine blog posts were easy for me to create. They were easy because I just wrote down a handful of questions that people like you would be wondering about if you were exploring the possibility of building an authority site. I just sat down one day and brainstormed to come up with the title ideas for those articles. As I came up with each new article title, I then added it into my business plan for the website.
Then whenever I had time available, I would sit down and write a blog post to answer one of those questions. I would save that article into my folder for this website project on my hard drive. Then over the course of the couple weeks when I was planning this site, I would revisit those articles. I would read them again and edit them for grammatical errors. Sometimes I would rewrite a paragraph or reword a sentence so that I felt it made more sense.
Those articles are what I call my “core” articles for the site. Those articles are going to draw people into the site via organic search results on Google, Bing and Yahoo. Also, those articles are what gives the overall site its authority. As you can see, each one of those articles covers one little aspect of the entire process of building an authority site. Each blog post explains one more piece of the puzzle. They fit together nicely like a jigsaw puzzle does as it comes together. With every article you read, you become one step closer to understanding everything you need to know about building an authority site.
All you really need to make a successful information based authority site are a good homepage and these core articles. The rest of the website just dresses up that core content and makes it more appealing to visitors.
Do you understand what I mean about how the homepage and these core articles fit together? That big header at the top of the website explains that you are about to learn “How To Build An Authority Site or Blog”. Then all those articles fit together with one another helping to deliver on that promise and educate the reader a little more.
And then the whopper of a delivery is the free downloadable starter kit that I gave you. That starter kit covers the entire topic even more thoroughly and gives you even more specific details on how you can launch your first site.
In this particular case, I am giving that product away. But, if this was a regular money site, I would have had that product for sale at a price. That is how that site would have been made profitable.
I could have added other monetization to it as well. I chose not to in this case because I just want this website to be a way for you and I to connect with each other and establish our friendship. I really hope you are learning something useful with my site. I promise you that these sites do work well.
The third thing I want you to notice is that I dressed the site up a little bit. I chose a color scheme, added some basic graphics and also added a background image to the basic WordPress theme I was using.
I chose a shade of orange and black for the color scheme because they seemed to just go well together. Think Halloween.
Using a color scheme is really important because it helps the site get an identity. It helps earn trust from the visitors too because it subconsciously provides the kind of uniformity throughout the site that instills calm in a person. I know that sounds silly, but it is true. Websites look far more professional when you have a color scheme of some kind. They appear more professional and therefore more trustworthy.
You will see some of my images have borders around them that are black and orange too. That helps me keep the look consistent throughout the site.
I had that eBook cover made by a guy on Fiverr.com for five bucks. That was a total steal. I would have made it myself, but my Photoshop skills are lacking somewhat. I don’t feel bad only paying five bucks for it either because I know how easy graphic work is like that when you have enough experience and templates available. It probably took that guy less than 10 minutes to bang that baby out.
I use Microsoft Word to create my blog posts. And I often take advantage of the free clipart and free photos that you can get from http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/images/ for use with your Microsoft Word documents. I also get some free photos from Morguefile.com which has been one of my favorite sources of public domain images for years. Dress up your pages by adding images.
When you read my article about how to build a website search engines want to rank high, you heard me talk about how you want to impress visitors if you can. You are a one person operation. So, I totally understand that you are not going to be good at both graphics and writing copy for the site. You are probably better at one than the other.
Even if your graphic arts skills stink like mine do, you still just want to do your best. If the site comes out looking ugly, then just find somebody on Fiverr.com or Odesk.com or ask a friend to help make it look better. Don’t let your lack of graphic arts skills prevent you from trying to build a great looking site. Just give it a shot. You can improve it over a period of time as your skills improve.
The fourth thing I want to bring to your attention and make sure you focus on is making your articles as thorough as possible while keeping your target audience in mind.
I can’t stress enough how important it is to be thorough. You see, internet marketers are notorious for trying to do as little work as possible. Naturally then, a typical internet marketer will have a website with relatively shallow articles on it. Either that or they just link out to somewhere else that explains something better than they can. They are always looking for shortcuts to get out of doing work.
If you take that approach with your authority site, then your authority site is going to suck. People aren’t going to like it. Nor are they going to recommend it to their friends.
You want to think of yourself as a teacher. Your website is teaching another person (the visitor) exactly what he or she needs to know about your topic. You want to share the vast majority of what you know about that topic. You don’t have to be ridiculous about including every single last tiny little detail no matter how small. You will bore some people if you try to do that.
Your authority site should deliver 95% of what they need to know. And it should deliver 100% of the most crucial information you think they need to know. So just shoot for 100% of the important information and you will probably get close enough.
Remember that these people want to learn what you are teaching them. If they aren’t on your site to learn what you are teaching, then they weren’t in your target audience anyway. All you should care about is delivering that core benefit to your core target audience. Forget about the people who aren’t on your site to learn. Focus on the ones who want to learn.
In order to teach them about your topic, you must be thorough. Google can tell when you are being thorough. They will reward you for it by ranking your stuff higher. I am telling you the truth man. Google rewards most of my authority sites, even the ones with less inbound links, because those sites are honestly the best in their class for teaching people about that topic.
Be thorough. Five hundred word articles are usually not thorough enough. Be more thorough than that. Start with a 500 word article if you have to. But, you better come back and add more rich content to it than that. Come back and add more insightful material like a personal experience of yours that somehow relates to it. You had better make your pages nice and beefy, stuffed with high level information that the reader is going to really appreciate.
You aren’t building a cheesy article directory. You are trying to build an authoritative website with high level knowledge that people trust.
Yes I know that sounds hard. It is nowhere near as hard as you are imagining though. Just try it. If you are writing about a topic you honestly know about, then writing more thorough articles is not really challenging at all. Just get in the zone and let the information flow from your fingertips onto that keyboard.
Imagine you are a private tutor that the reader has hired to teach her about something. So talk to her just like I am talking to you. Teach her everything she really needs to know and go deep with it.
Can You See Yourself Building A Useful Authority Site That Is Nice And Small Like This One?
The reason I love these kinds of sites is because, if I work on one website by myself too long, then I become bored with it and lose interest.
I can create a website like AuthorityBlogStarterKit.com in about one month even if I am working on it part time. Of course I have more experience than you do. So, your site might take longer than that to get it up and running.
I am not totally done with the site in one month. I will still revisit the site from time to time and polish it up making small improvements wherever I feel I need to. But, the core site and the core content for the site are done enough so that I can launch the site in about one month.
Think about it…
How stoked are you during that first month when you are working on a site? You are super pumped and love to work on it. It usually takes longer than one month to hit the point where you kind of start getting bored with a site.
In that short time frame you can create a profitable authority site (a small one like mine) that will last a really long time; pretty much indefinitely. The site won’t be profitable in that first month. You will have to wait some time and you will need to work on promoting the site for a few months at least. But the majority of work for the site will be done in no time. Then you just need to spread the word about your site.
This business model allows you to create more than one site so that you don’t have all your eggs in one basket. I know that the thought of running one big site seems like a better idea. Maybe for you it is. I personally prefer to have a portfolio of sites so that I can stay interested in them and bounce around from site to site finding ways to improve them over time.
Plus, if you have a portfolio of these sites, you will eventually get one that is a really good earner and earns more than you ever thought it would. Some of the sites won’t earn much because you chose the wrong niche to work or because you simply can’t find a good way to monetize it. That happens. It still happens to me even though I have been doing this a while.
That is why I would never promise someone that they are going to earn lots of money with a website according to my business model. It is possible, but there are no guarantees. I have no idea whether or not you are going to choose the right niche or the right monetization method for it. Even if I help you investigate it, we could still get it wrong. That is the truth. I am not going to lie about it.
But, I think that you are going to find these kinds of sites to be really fun to work on and really rewarding in addition to being profitable. I love building these things. And there is no doubt you will make more money with these authority sites as opposed to those cheesy thin websites that most internet marketers try to build. Give it a shot.
And hey, if you like the stuff I am teaching you about, please share it with your friends by either linking to it or using social media……….thanks……