Today I want to talk about converting your niche site into an authority site… and what the basic requirements are. Many of us build small niche sites to see if the site is going to be worthwhile to build out. Once you have some success, converting your site from a niche website isn’t just simply adding more pages to it… it is about creating a brand around it.
So lets discuss what an Authority Site needs to be, and how to get there from your current niche.
According to Wikipedia: Brand is the “name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s product distinct from those of other sellers”. Initially, Branding was adopted to differentiate one person’s cattle from another’s by means of a distinctive symbol burned into the animal’s skin with a hot iron stamp, and was subsequently used in business, marketing and advertising.
The reason I want to discuss Branding is because in essence, an authority site is a website Brand. Here are a few things that your brand and authority website need to have:
An authority site/brand is Accountable: reputation management is becoming more important by the day and brand transparency is critical for you to have success. Your website can’t have filler content, irrelevant information, or anything that isn’t helpful to establishing you as an authority.
If you and your authority website aren’t trusted, then you may as well just stay as a niche site trying to make some small change with adsense. To be an authoritative brand, you have to be trusted to deliver engaging and accurate information. Those of you familiar with Niche Site Duel 1 may remember that Pat Flynn’s opponent/partner was using fake information to try to demonstrate value. All of it was a lie. It somehow worked out for Pat still, but Tyrone didn’t fare nearly as well. If people can’t trust you, they won’t come back to your website.
In the example above, someone tried to provide value and earn trust by faking experience. An authority doesn’t get that way by not having experience. Now, this doesn’t mean that you have to go to school for 10 years to be considered an expert in your niche… it just means that you need to have to be more than just slightly familiar with the topic at hand. A simple way to gain experience is to read 3-5 books specific to an industry/niche, and be involved in the niche segment for about 6 months or more. Chances are good that after that… you will know more than 90% of the people in your field, and will at least not be considered a newbie since you have been around for 6 months.
This is obviously critical. I’m not going to write a ton about this… if you don’t know how important content is these days, then you will find it difficult to succeed. Good content needs to bring value to the reader so they will come back tomorrow or share!
As an authority site, your website will need to be setting the bar for what readers should expect from a brand website. Your goal should not be to replicate other websites in your niche… your goal should be to blow other sites out of the water. Do your research so that you can find out what readers want, and then provide it to them. Don’t settle for being #2 by copying… be #1 by changing the expectations of your audience so they stop going back to other websites!
People crave to be part of groups. To create a strong brand, your authority website needs to be able to create a sense of community. If you are able to create a website that allows like-minded individuals to read/share/engage with you and your audience, you will be able to create brand loyalty, a feeling of connection, and people will want to follow you wherever you choose to lead them.
I mentioned Pat Flynn earlier, and I feel he deserves to be mentioned again. Pat’s Smart Passive Income Blog is tremendous at influencing people to action. Now, those of you that know me, know that I feel his success comes primarily from his audience clicking on his affiliate links. That is influence!! Pat has done a tremendous job of getting people to read just enough of his site, and gives them just enough hope to want to click on his ads and try to have success themselves. Unfortunately, I feel that Pat hasn’t done enough to show people exactly how to have that success… and few will be able to follow in his steps and succeed. That said, he is a wonderful example of influence.
Do you want your audience talking about your brand and your authority site? Scratch that… “WHAT” do you want your audience saying about your brand and your authority site? Unsure… start thinking about that answer, right now! Know the answer? Then take action with your website to make sure that your audience has a reason to say it!
Finally, and most importantly, you need to create value for your audience. Now, we all know that you can’t be all things to all people, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t provide value. The best thing about a niche site is that it only focuses on a very specific topic… and isn’t a wikipedia! So, the value you bring doesn’t need to be for everyone in the world. You can write polarizing content that gets some people to love you and others to hate you… and that is ok. More specifically, that would be great because it might get you some extra publicity.
Bottom Line: Have the well being of the audience at the core of everything you do.