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Q: Aren’t authority sites difficult to create? Don’t you have to be an EXPERT, or an “authority” to create an AUTHORITY site in the first place? What if I don’t yet have enough experience in my niche to position myself as the “go to” professional person online?
A: This is a question that comes up a fair amount when I write something new about authority sites….and in my mind, one of the biggest misconceptions about WHAT an authority site is, and what type of experience you need to have to create one.
Consider this for a moment.
I’ve been thinking about getting my real estate license for a few years.
Why? Because my Mom keeps bugging me to get a real job that requires me to leave the house before 3.
And, because it’s a good thing to have, obviously….if you plan to buy (or sell) property.
The funny thing is, as soon as I think about getting my real estate license, the next “natural” thought is to create an AUTHORITY site in my area that would help me either sell properties if I went that route…..or, more likely, to build an ASSET that had real value to both the public, and the professionals in my local area.
Now, I can have ZERO experience with selling real estate to create a hyper local directory of realtors in my area.
All I need is a good directory theme, a WordPress installation, and a low cost outsourced agent, or admin assistant to get the contact details of a few hundred realtors in my area…and add them by hand to my directory to “seed” the site. (or I could do it myself, …something I’ve done on multiple occasions as well)
I don’t even need to charge other realtors a fee to list THEMSELVES on my directory if I don’t want…I can do all of this for free, and still get a bevvy of benefits from offering real value to real estate professionals in my area.
1 – I’m buidling relationships with other professionals in my new niche (and taking a proactive position as someone who has a skill – and services – that others may need)
2 – Once you get a certain amount of realtors added to your directory, you are goign to start to get free traffic on THEIR names, in your local community, from folks looking to find them online, or to read reviews of local professionals, etc.
3 – If you want to sell SERVICES…..from blog building, to brand building, to relationship marketing, to business coaching, to social media or SEO services, to content creation, to web site design and the cacaphony of other creative online marketing agency style services you can dream up, owning an AUTHORITY site (in this case, a directory) is a great way of demonstrating that you have some expertise, and experience in the online marketing niche.
The truth is, the ONLY authority you need to create an authority site is a sense of passion and purpose and personal EMPOWERMENT about building something valuable in your niche. Using a proactive strategy to position yourself as someone “special” in your industry is smart…..easy, affordable, and there are many unique possible permutations of this approach you can use to make it happen as well.
Check out the short article I wrote earlier for EZA that details this a bit more at the link below…….OR, simply set up a time to discuss YOUR inspired idea if you’re ready to dive IN and do it instead 🙂 Enjoy!
Why are authority sites such a unique way to build real wealth online?
Very simple. Much like OFFLINE assets, an authority site is akin to virtual real estate, and can be monetized in a cacophony of creative ways from old fashioned approaches like contextual ads, to affiliate offers, to more “agency” style offers that target professionals in a given niche.
A professional directory is a great example of an authority site.
A directory can be done in a hyper local marketplace (where YOU live, work or play).
A directory can be done in a hyper specific national niche as well. (let’s say a global directory of massage therapists, or credit repair agents, or yoga teachers)
You can monetize that directory in a whole hodge podge of ways.
You can sell listings to individual yoga teachers, so that the PUBLIC, when seeking out local yoga lessons or studios, finds the folks who are listed on your directory.
You can offer online “Agency” style services to the professionals in the niche who you list on your directory. In any given marketplace, up to 30% of the professionals you will target will NOT have a blog, or good business branding, or any real online presence at all. You can use your directory to offer FREE listings, and then turn around and upsell services to those people any one of 10 or 12 core online marketing services from web design, to blog building, to content marketing, to email and relationship marketing, to business coaching.
An authority site can ALSO be a local job board, or classified site.
You can monetize that site by selling listings, or by simply trying to attract as many FREE users as possible, and using AdSense, affiliate or contextual offers.
The best part?
There are tons of unique ways to build these sorts of sites, and much of the technology that is required to do it is “baked” into popular blog platforms like WordPress and extended upon with affordable, yet powerful plugins.
While you BUILD something like an authority site, you are creating value, even if you don’t make any money as you begin the project at all.
Consider a local real estate portal or directory of agents in a given city, town or state.
If you work on that diligently for 2 or 3 months and do NOTHING other than add listings in a natural and organic way, you are going to get HYPER local, hyper TARGETED traffic for your area.
That directory now has VALUE – both to the public, and to the professional realtors and agents that you are serving.