A Sneak Peek at My Two Authority Sites
As you’ve probably noticed, I’ve written quite a bit lately about authority sites. It’s not a coincidence that authority sites have been my focus ever since Penguin hit my niche sites (which were already nearly worthless after losing my AdSense account).
Although I’ve written a lot about authority sites lately, I haven’t really divulged a ton of information specifically about my own authority sites.
I wanted to write this post to give you a little insight into what I’ve been working on (without revealing actual URLs), but here’s a little teaser: at some point in the next few weeks, I will be revealing the actual URL for one of these sites, along with a fun challenge that you may be able to get in on.
I still consider both of these authority sites to be in their early stages, but both are fairly well developed already, from a content standpoint. My strategy and plan for each site is very different, which I will touch on below.
Authority Site #1: The Jobs/Career Niche
This is a fairly saturated niche, but it’s one that I’m interested in, given my career experience in recruiting (although it only lasted a year). There are a lot of topics to write about where I can weave in my own opinions and expertise, and I like knowing that I can positively impact someone’s career.
Domain & Target Keyword Searches
One of the challenges with this site, in my opinion, is the fact that it’s on a .ME domain. From a branding perspective, the .ME actually works quite well, and makes the site sound a bit more memorable. My fear though is that it doesn’t have the same ranking power as a .COM/.NET/.ORG – at least, it may require more backlinks and overall stronger SEO. Using a .ME domain, however, allowed me to grab an exact match keyword domain.
My primary target keyword has 18,100 exact local searches per month, but as of right now, I’m nowhere near page 1 on Google for that keyword. I may not necessarily ever get to page 1, and honestly, that’s okay. As you may know, long tail keyword searches are often where the real traffic is at (Pat Flynn wrote about this recently).
It’s always good to formulate some kind of content strategy as you build any content-driven website. Even if you have to change it over time (and trust me, you will), having the plan in place gives you the framework to take action.
For this site, I try to post an article at least once per week. The nice thing is (from a passive standpoint) that I don’t write a lot of the articles myself (I previously wrote about how I do this for free).
In the future, I would like the site to be a resource for learning about all types of jobs (possible career paths, salary potential, etc.), but this is probably a project I would need to outsource to one person, and I’d expect it to be costly. This would likely be in its own “section” on the site – not part of the main blog content.
There are a few ways I’m currently monetizing the site:
2) Job search engine embedded onto my site (via Indeed.com)
3) Other random affiliate links, including those to Amazon.com
However, I am also working on building an e-mail list (and currently offer a free eBook as my “magnet” for subscribers). This has been a slow process and I’m still testing some different things.
I tried a small amount of PPC advertising to a landing page for the eBook (on both Facebook and LinkedIn) – after spending $50, I ended up with approximately 25 subscribers. At $2 a subscriber, I decided this probably isn’t a profitable strategy, at least not until I can monetize the list and really see the true value of each subscriber. I probably could’ve gotten better conversions and lower CPC with more testing, but I’ll experiment with that later, if I decide to revisit paid traffic.
Further down the road, if traffic picks up the way I hope it will, I plan on creating my own products to sell – possibly a Kindle book (or at the very least, a PDF eBook). There is also the potential to offer other services (such as resume reviews or career coaching, which are both obviously not passive).
Current Traffic & Income Levels
This is the authority site that I write about in my monthly income reports, so you may have seen that it has been earning around $10-15/month. Given the fact that the site still only receives 20-30 unique visits a day, the earnings aren’t bad.
I’ve been churning out a lot of good content, and am surprised at how the long tail search traffic doesn’t seem to be there. Again, I think the .ME domain puts me at a disadvantage for SEO, but this is pure speculation on my part. I started this site several months ago (well before the Penguin update), and I’m wondering if I have issues with “over optimization” as far as backlinks go.
Although more income would be better (obviously), I’m aiming to make around $50 per day with this site, at least for the short-term. I’d love to turn this into a real business (with some of the services I mentioned above) and earn a “full-time income” with it, but time will tell if that’s possible.
Authority Site #2: The Diet/Food Niche
I know what you’re thinking: “That’s super competitive!” You’re absolutely right. I do, however, believe that I’ve carved out a sub-niche for myself that will be worth pursuing. This authority site is much newer than the one I discussed above.
I’m not going to go into much detail right now on this authority site, because I will soon be revealing everything about this site. A new challenge is brewing, and I’m excited to be a part of it.