Micro niche sites won’t last, you may make money today with them but in a month, six months, or year chances are that it will have died. The way to make money for the long term is to build an authority site. This does take hard work, long hours, and can test your limits (unless you love the subject of your site) but in the end you should have a product that will stay around for a very long time. I’m going to share an example of an authority site that I built (but no I won’t give you the site URL or niche…) and how I went about building the site, how long it took me, the results that I’ve gotten, and what I think its prospects are for the future. If you are interested in building an authority site I think this article will offer you some good insight into things to consider before you start out.
The most recent authority site I’ve been building I hadn’t planned to build. I check out the domain name auctions frequently so I can both flip domains and find domains that are good to build sites out on. If interested in flipping domains or learning how to buy premium domains at a discount I have two posts on Anticareer you can check out here and here. I came across a one word domain on a topic that I knew would be excellent for an authority site. I was already busy with a lot of other stuff going on but I couldn’t let this opportunity pass by so I bid on the domain. Of course there is always that one other guy that wants it to, and if he was just sleeping that day I would have gotten the domain for $1,500 but he and I battled back and forth and I eventually tired him out and won the domain for around $4,400. Yes, it is a lot of money for a domain when I could have added a few letters and bought an unregistered domain for $10, BUT I believe the first step in building an authority domain is in building it on a domain name that screams authority. If you wanted to build an authority site on health, would you rather build it on a domain name like Health.com or a domain name like HealthSiteOnline.com? Yes, there will be a significant price difference, so before you spend the bucks on a premium domain name you should sit down and work up some figures on how much you think this site will generate you in income when you are done building it. I wasn’t going to spend $4,400 on a domain name to build an authority site out on unless I thought I could make AT LEAST $4,400 in the first 12 months following completion of the site (hopefully it would make much more).
When you are going to become an authority site it is more likely than not that the subject matter is already out there, it is not something new that you are discovering. The key to becoming an authority site is that you are going to put all the information about that subject onto your site. I wrote a post about becoming a consolidator which you can find here and this applies to a lot of authority site niches. I’m not telling you to go and copy other people’s articles or information, but I am telling you that you need to do a lot of research to build an authority site, and there is nothing wrong with finding about all the different topics under your subject from other sites and then writing the articles yourself using other sites’ information as reference for your research.
When you create an authority site there’s a few things you’ll notice. You’ll gain natural backlinks without any effort. When your site is recognized as an authority you’ll have a lot of people linking to content on your site. This may sound funny to all you 5 page mini site owners out there because most likely nobody links to your sites, but for an authority site it is different. You don’t have to worry about offsite SEO, you just need to worry about content and being very comprehensive about the subject at hand.
Another thing you’ll notice is return visitors. Nobody returns to a micro niche site because there’s nothing there to return to. When you are an authority site you will get traffic that comes back to your site because they recognize the value of your content and know they can find all the information about the subject on your site. What is key to helping people return to your site is having that one or two word domain name. If you have a one word domain name (preferable the dot com, or dot net or dot org if dot com is not available) people will be much more likely to remember your site. You’ll also get people who talk about your site in the real world and you’ll get traffic that way…
“Where’d you learn how to fix your transmission?”
“There was this great tutorial on Transmission.com that I read.”
It just makes sense. But if your site was TransmissionFixingManual.com than the guy who read your site may easily forget the name, or the guy he tells it to may easily forget the name and you just lost yourself some traffic.
Let’s talk about my real world example of the most recent authority site I built (and I’m still working on)…
It is a one word domain. The subject matter is not consolidated on a site solely about this subject ANYWHERE in cyberspace. Let’s say if the subject was “Legal Alcohol Levels in Each State & Punishment for Breaking Them” you would have an easy time finding state run websites that talk about the local laws in that specific state, but you would probably be hardpressed to find a site that had information covering all 50 states. By consolidating this information you are building an authority site that will standout, that will gain natural links, that will be referenced in other people’s articles, and that will rise in the SERPs because you have a ton of content about a similar subject matter.
I went and found information about the different topics under the subject on many other sites. Each site had an article or articles but these were all pretty short and nobody did a great job of writing comprehensive articles about the topics. I did my research and wrote articles that blew everything else out of the water. It was not the easiest thing to write about because I honestly am not interested about the subject matter, so I couldn’t sit down and write 50 articles in one shot so I broke it up and did a few articles a day with the goal of finishing in 2-3 months. This is a realistic goal, I’m able to handle writing a few articles about this topic a day and the quality does not suffer like it would if I tried to write 50 articles in the same day and I got bored, frustrated, and rushed.
I waited to try to monetize the site until I had a lot of content up. Right now I have about 100 pages of content up and in the end I’ll have maybe 250 pages up in order to complete the subject matter. In the future I’ll add maybe 1 page per week based on new articles I read online about new information about this subject (I use Google’s Alert feature to receive a weekly email about articles featuring this keyword). My monetization method is very sparse, meaning I only have 1 ad per page and the ad box is not very large. By having fewer ads sure I’m hurting my conversion rate somewhat probably, but by only having one small ad per page I’m helping build credibility of the site by not making it look like a billboard. Right now the traffic is about 150 uniques per day. It is making $5 per day (my goal remember is $4,400 in the first year after the site is done so that would be closer to $13/day). I think once the site is completed, once it gets more natural backlinks and starts to climb higher in the SERPS I don’t see why the site can’t be bringing in 1,000-1,500 visitors a day at least and possibly 5,000-10,000 a day if I land in the top 3 for a variety of keywords. If I accomplish this my financial goal will be met and exceeded. And the great part is I don’t have to work on any offsite SEO or be worried about any future Google updates because my natural backlink variety will be just that, natural.
While a lot of people are building small sites, trying to rank them quick and make a fast buck I urge you to consider building a site that may take some long hours, require hard work, and may take a few months to put some money in your pocket but it is going to last and succeed well into the future. Passive income is where its at (for me at least) and building authority sites is one of the best ways to get there.