Have you ever been told that to generate a good level of success online that you need an authority website?

In this article you will discover:

  • What exactly is an authority website and how do you create one?
  • Is this something you can do by yourself?
  • Do you need help to create and then populate an authority website?
  • What the 4 “I”s of authority websites are
  • Where search features in authority websites
  • How to brainstorm content for your new site
  • And what about certain websites makes them an authority anyway?

And finally you’ll have a good idea what you need going forward to build an authority website in your chosen niche.

Authority sites are websites that cater to one specific niche with an incredibly high quality website.

The content that is on the site is respected by the industry movers and shakers as well as the intended audience.

An authority site has relevant and useful content that is updated on a regular basis. If you’ve ever landed on an authority site, you probably were thankful you did because you find in depth information about something you needed to know, and from the comments and the social proof you trusted what you read enough to act upon it.

An authority sites can be life-changing for their audiences.

Authority sites are not only publishing power-houses creating information that visitors trust, they curate other trustworthy information for their audience.

If you want to create an authority site, you will need to create a lot of accurate, trustworthy, detailed and valuable information and offer it free to your reader in the form of blog posts, videos and short reports. For a lot of small businesses that can be incredibly expensive or time consuming, but it is worthwhile.

You’ll need to create a variety of different content that covers the 4 “I”s of authority sites:

  • inform
  • instruct
  • inspire
  • and to encourage interaction.

In giving away your knowledge you’re building trust and encourages readers to value the information that you give them and over time that enables you to monetize the site. What’s not to love about that?

For your website site to transition from just another site to an authority site it needs to:

  •  Be Relevant – Choose a niche and target audience and stick to it. Don’t butterfly all over the place or you’ll make your authority site confusing. If someone goes to it, it should be completely clear about what the niche is and who the target audience is. If you read a site and think this isn’t for me, the chances are it’s an authority site.
  •  Be Detailed – All the content you put on your site has to be very detailed and accurate (fact checked). The content should cover your topic in a deeper way than the millions of copycat websites in the niche. The site should have many, perhaps even hundreds of pages (eventually) of content related to your niche and your readers should think of it as a goldmine of knowledge, a treasure trove of information.
  • Have Regular News & Updates – Your authority site content needs to be updated on a regular basis. You’ll want to cover any news in your niche and industry that’s important to the audience and update your content continuously. This will often mean updates several times a day.
  •  Interaction, Participation & Feedback – Your content should encourage discussion, and be open to comments from readers. The feedback and participation you get from your audience when they comment on blogs, articles and other content on your site is very important to move you from average to authority status.
  •  Rank High With Search Engines – At first your authority site will have not a lot of influence in the search engines, but your job will be to move your ranking up high enough to be considered by others to be an authority on your given topic.

Did you notice the search aspect is at the bottom of this list?

Be relevant, be detailed, be regular is all more important than being found when you start building your audience.

To create an authority site you’ll need to understand your niche very well, as well as know and love the audience.

Before you start work on your authority website you’ll want to understand a few things about creating an authority site in general about web design, brainstorming, understanding your audience, coming up with content, developing trust, getting traffic and then finally monetizing your authority site.

The Best Website Design for  your Authority website

The most important aspect of an authority website is the content. Therefore, you want to put the content front and center. The best web design for an authority site is a blog focused design or a magazine design where the content takes center stage. The best way to build a website like this is to use self-hosted WordPress as your platform. There are many free and premium WordPress themes that you can use for your authority site. But whatever platform you use, it’s important to follow basic website design rules.

  •  Visually Stunning – Using images, whitespace, colors and space in a visually stunning manner means you need to understand how web design is different from designing something for print. People read the web differently than they read a book or a magazine. Understanding how people scan websites, compared to how they read magazines is crucial.
  •  Easy Navigation – Don’t try to be clever with the names of links. Give links the names they should have such as Signup, Contact, Subscribe etc. People know what these words mean, don’t create a new word just because you want to be different.
  •  Fast Loading – I’m going to sit around and wait 10 minutes for your site to load said no one ever. You’ll be lucky if they wait 30 seconds. Creating a fast loading site is essential to your success with an authority site. You want readers to be able to get to your content without any frustration points.
  •  Responsive Design – Today, with more people purchasing smartphone technology than personal computers it’s imperative that your website be designed so that it’s responsive to the type of devices being used to access the information. When determining your target market, find out how they typically access the web and then focus your design needs around that.
  •  Unobtrusive Signup Forms & Ads – How does a whole heap of popup and flashy, intrusive sign up forms and ads look like on your site from a reader’s perspective? If you do use pop-ups or pop-unders use well-made designs that are easy to close so readers can get to the content.
  •  Up Front & Center Features – If you want your readers to do something make it simple; put it up front and center. If your goal is to get readers to sign up for your newsletter, make it clear by putting the sign up form above the fold, and ask them to sign up. Tell them how; give them the steps in a clear manner:- close this pop-up by pressing the X in the top right corner is very handy to know.
  •  Useful Content in Many Forms  – Avoid promotional writing, and focus on creating informational content in text, video, imagery, and all the forms that you can. Some people enjoy reading short blog posts, some will enjoy getting deeper and reading a white paper, others will love watching your step-by-step video tutorials. Give them everything. Repurpose each piece of content into several forms for best results but the real secret here is to spread the re-purposed content over several weeks and months so you’re reinforcing the message.
  •  Don’t Reinvent the Wheel – It can be tempting to create a totally different web design to stand out from the crowd but it’s better to stick with design norms than to make a site so different that users are scared or intimidated. Your readers have expectations that a website will look and behave like a website. Give them that.
  •  Test Everything Always – Anytime you add a new feature to your website it’s crucial that you test it to ensure that it works right. Get someone else to test it out, to make sure they understand how to get around your site without you leading them. If you test it yourself you won’t have the same experience as your reader… self testing is authority site suicide.

Designing a website that works well as an authority site isn’t much different from designing any website except that in the case of an authority site the content is the central focus.

A blog type design works very well for an authority site, and self-hosted WordPress works very well for this type of website. Once you understand the fundamentals of effective website design, you’ll need to think about how to choose a niche.

How to Brainstorm Ideas & Choose a Niche

No, all the great niches are not gone and you can still offer your voice on a popular topic with one proviso – that you actually know what you’re talking about. If you’re going to run an authority site yourself, it’s important that you have some sort of connection or expertise to the topic that will enable you to write good quality content as well as be credible to your readers.

Think of it like this… Who would you rather you learned about weightloss from? Someone who lost 10lbs several times or someone that lost 50lbs and kept it off.

It’s time to go old school when it comes to your brainstorming. Gran a pen and paper and then sit down and make a list of all your interests, experiences you’ve had (or want to have), and anything you know about or want to learn about. In addition, look at the people around you and identify problems that they have where you can develop a solution. Your list might look something like this:

  • Practicing Vegetarian
  • Aspiring Buddhist
  • Cooking Steaks properly
  • Learning to speak Spanish
  • Learn to create better videos
  • How to buy a house abroad
  • Overcoming a parenting challenge
  • Love of books
  • Passionate About Words

okay, so your list will be a lot different from mine but you get the idea. Once you create the list, it’s time to figure out what your talents are and whether or not you’re the person to embark on creating an authority site for that particular niche.

 Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What are my skills?
  • If money were no object, what would I do?
  • What advice am I asked for often?
  • What do I want to learn about?
  • What do I do for fun?
  • What do I want to do for fun?
  • What things do I do, that make me enter “flow” and not care about my surroundings or time?
  • Can I find solutions to problems around me?
  • What lessons have I learned from the experience of my life?
  • How do my friends see me?

If you’re not sure, ask other people these same questions about you. Seeing yourself through other people’s eyes can help you find a niche in which you can truly become an authority, if you’re not already. You probably know a lot more than you think you know, and you only have to know more than your audience in order to be perceived as an authority.

Not only that you can also look at magazines, books, and on the net for more information about different niches that interest you or that come forth during your brainstorming. Don’t have a hissy fit if there are authority sites already in your niche that’s a great sign; if someone else is covering it, and they’ve earned money, that just means that the idea is a good one. Don’t be afraid of competition because these sites become some of your best allies.

Any one of these ideas can become an authority site. But not all of them will earn you money or status.  Can you monetize the niche? If no one else is doing it yet is it because it’s not a niche that can earn money?

Can you find or create a product that offers solutions for people who are interested in the niche? If you can find at least 3 to 4 products or have an idea for at least 3 to 4 products that you can create to monetize the niche then you might have a winner.

Understand Your Audience

In order to truly excel in the niche you chosen it’s imperative that you understand the audience you’re creating the content for. It’s easier if you happen to be part of that audience, but even if you’re not, you can do research to find out more about the audience. There are several ways in which you can research your audience.

  • Define Your Audience – It’s very important to be able to define your audience in a very specific way. You should be able to describe a particular reader within your audience. These are called personas. You need to know the demographics of your audience and the psychographics and then write to that one reader, and give them a name as well. When the person is named, they’ll be real to you. Mine is called Lois.
  • Use Social Media, Groups & Forums – Locate your reader persona on social media, in groups and forums and observe her. Use the opportunity to demonstrate your expertise by answering questions that they may have. You can also use the opportunity to ask them questions and start discussions so that you can get to know your intended audience more.
  • Conduct Surveys & Polls – If you’re not sure about what the audience likes, ask them. Surveys and Polls are a great way to find out what your audience wants, needs, fears, and thinks about a variety of topics. Remember the more you need to ask them the less likely they are to do the poll without incentive.
  • Look up Scholarly Studies – If you don’t have access to your audience directly, you can look up scholarly studies using Google Scholar about your audience. There are studies done of all kinds today and you are likely to find out a lot of information this way that is accurate. Most countries have an office of statistics as well and these are well worth exploring for the data they have about your audience.
  • Remember Alexa… and use it! Those competition sites have a goldmine of information, use Alexa to see their audience stats and see if they relate to your reader persona.

During your research you want to discover what motivates your audience.

  • What enables them to develop trust?
  • How much disposable income do they have?
  • What are their deepest fears?
  • What problems do they have that need solutions?
  • Where do they like getting information, do they like newspapers, the net, books or radio?
  • Are there particular messages that resonate (or offend) with this audience?
  • Are there movers & shakers within this community that your audience follows?

One of the most important aspects of creating your authority site is your ability to understand and connect to your audience.

Using Content to Develop Trust & Get Traffic

Once you understand what your niche is, and who your audience is you’ll be able to develop and publish the type of content that speaks directly to them.

You’ll want to develop and publish an abundance of content in all possible formats ; text, video, articles, podcasts, books and more. Over time, your audience will learn to trust you because your content is accurate, fact-checked, and useful.

Just the fact that your content appears on a regular bases will endear you to your audience, and Woody Allen once said “80% of success is showing up”. As you create content, consider the following important factors that will help you build a powerful authority site:

  •  Create Inbound Links – Use social media, guest blog posting, forum commenting, article marketing, as well as deeper linking withing your own website to create inbound links that will help your site rise in authority. Don’t be tricky, your comments and contributions to other mediums need to be high quality and useful to rank authority. Remember quality over quantity.
  •  Key Words – Use keywords in URLs, anchor text, alt tags, and within your content correctly and vary them constantly. You want to develop a large list of keywords but only use one keyword per page and use variations of the keyword on subsequent pages.
  •  Consistency – Be very consistent when it comes to adding content to your website and consistent within your message. Think of your website as the center of the universe and all content should start there, and everything else should link back to that content.
  •  Quietly Monetize – Don’t make everything on your site a pitch. Instead focus on providing good, accurate and focused information to your audience about your niche while also leading your audience to purchase important solutions from you. Focus on 3 or 4 superior products and / or services that solve problems for your audience in different price points, and you’ll make good money.
  •  Age Matters – When it comes to building authority, the age of your site is a factor in how your website ranks. So keep in mind that this just takes time. The other option is to purchase a domain name that is already aged, but there are pros and cons to that so do your homework and remember that sticking around matters.

Creating an authority site is not a short term task. It is a long term project that needs your focus, dedication and skill to make a success. You can do it if you make a plan and stick it; to act every single day on adding to and improving your authority site.

Final Thoughts

Finally, it should be clear that the most important aspects of creating an authority site are to understand your audience, provide solutions to your audience, and to do so on a regular basis through the content that you create and publish on your authority site.

You’ll want to create content in many forms. You can do this by repurposing content, for instance a book can become many blog posts, and vice versa. Blog posts can become podcasts, or inspiration for a “how-to” video or a webinar. The sky is the limit, only your imagination can stop you.

Is it worth undertaking all of this work to become an authority site? Yes, yes it is.  Is it easy? No it’s not. I’ve connected with some incredible people including Tony Robbins, Ariana Huffington and many others all through my authority site attracting them to me.

What’s not to love about that?

Hi, I'm George MP, founder of Trunk.Ly. I help bloggers grow their blogs from obscurity into something spectacular. I want to show you, step-by-step, how you can take your blog to the next level by showing you what works ... and what doesn't. Learn actionable tips and strategies to gain more targeted traffic, grow your list and build your influence.