I see the phrase 'Authority Site' thrown about with reckless abandon, however I doubt the majority of new marketers truly understand the work behind such a thing (based on the 'authority site' examples posted on this forum). Im in the process of building my brand 'SurrealPSD' - so I thought I'd share the journey with you guys. Maybe it can help you out, maybe not; but at the very least it will provide some sort of context and illustrate the work involved in the authority site model.
I'll disclose outright that I am not an IM expert, nor do I make thousands of dollars each month with my online endeavours. In a way, I could be considered a 'newbie' too..
Im a Professional Digital Artist, and Ive been doing it 16 years - I love this stuff with a vicious passion, I'd do it if I weren't getting paid, I do it on my 'time off'. As glamorous as this field sounds, there isn't actually a great deal of money to be made as a commercial artist.
I went to university at a later stage (when I was 25) and graduated with an extremely good grade. I now teach at university level.
For the final year project of my degree, I decided to build a tutorial site for my major project. The site teaches fine-art / photomanipulation techniques in Photoshop, and features showcasing the finest digital art on the planet.
The site was born February 2011.
Prior to building the site, I've been active on DeviantArt for a long time - talking with other digital artists and participating in the community. My presence on DA (the largest art community on the planet) has provided generous amounts of traffic to my site. My personal 'brand' is pretty strong on there, as Ive been a member for nearly 8 years.
Aside from DA, Twitter has been great for interacting with my audience and talking about digital art.
Through these avenues, I also talk often with the 'best on the planet' - guys and girls at the absolute top of the game, this is important. These experts know who I am, and what Im up to.
Being sociable and having contacts is all well and good, but this leverage doesn't mean anything if your content isn't up to scratch. People that are passionate about their respective interests can see straight through you if your content is weak.
After the website was 'finished' for my assignment, I let it fall to the wayside - at that point I never considered it to be a business or that I would enjoy any success with it. I literally done it for the 'fun' of it, and to get marked lol.
You can check out how I promote my articles here: How I Promote Articles
The site continued to be developed, as it is used as the primary learning resource for lectures I teach at university. At an early stage, I installed adsense to cover the hosting costs, but the amount made using this monetization method is pitiful at best.
At present there are no other monetization methods implemented on the site.
Summer this year, I decided that the site could really turn into something big - so I started doing a lot of research into marketing, and found WF. After ingesting a ridiculous amount of info, I'd started researching monetization and the resources required to turn this information resource into a viable business.
Early 2013, I will be releasing a video training product - this is how the site will generate revenue. I cannot wait to scrap adsense!! A few months ago, I started 'building my list', and I'll get the full autoresponder sequence in place, once I have my product live.
Youtube will be my next 'big' traffic generator, so I look forward to hitting that with an absolute vengeance. I will be treating the site like a full time job, with a huge increase in content and audience interaction.
So, What's the Point of this Meandering Post..?
As 'Authority Sites' seem to be hot right now, I thought I'd take some of the above and condense it into some useable info:
- Throwing a couple of articles together and carpet bombing your site with Affiliate links, does not make an 'Authority Site' - in my opinion.
- Community presence is paramount. Do you know the 'movers and shakers' in your respective field, are you well known in your niche community?
- Social Media platforms will enable you to get the conversation going. Trust is built on dialogue, Gary Vaynerchuck is an awesome guy to look at for inspiration in this field, highly recommended.
- Do you know in-depth about your niche, or willing to be transparent enough to say that you are new, and that the website represents your research findings?
- If you are jumping into a niche you are fairly interested in because it is proven to be 'profitable' - I doubt the authority model is going to be succesful for you. To become an authority, I think you need considerably more than a glancing interest.
If you are looking into building an Authority Site, be prepared to work very hard for a couple of years - with no financial reward whatsoever. I do fully understand that there are others who will generate revenue a lot faster, but most often brands take a while to gather momentum.
I think it will be at the 2.5 year mark that my site will start making some serious revenue, but Im perfectly fine with that. Im in it for the long haul, not the quick buck.
Can you build something for two and a half years and not receive payment for it? To achieve this, Im pretty sure you need to love your topic
(..getting rich slowly since 2011!)