|Courtesy of The Hunger Games. No endorsement intended.|
I'm building an authority site. It's quite a learning process. Wanna learn with me? Let the
Hunger Writing Games begin!
Authority sites, for those new-ish to the internet marketing world, are sites that aim to be THE authority on a specific niche. If you typed in a phrase or a question, the authority site wants to be on the first page of search engines. When you click on that site, it wants to answer your specific question about that niche and make you want to read more answers or other niche-related pages.
As you visit the authority site, you will be exposed to ads that are (hopefully) related to your interests. You click on the ads, the site owner makes money from a pay-per-click or a commission if you buy something.
If you are an expert in something or a niche, this could be very good for you. In fact, if you are NOT an expert in a niche but you can write your socks off or get info on a niche you can still benefit and make this work.
There are, however, some SERIOUS limitations I’ve learned. But I still want to do it!
Your niche should have low to mid competition and good search volume for longtail keywords. Ok, that sounds a little gobbledy gookish. But let me explain. Let’s say you are an expert in daycare. You’ve done daycare for 15 years and know everything about daycare and kids. If you did a search on “daycare tips” you would find some huge authority sites that have been around for ages that everyone goes to like babycenter.com .
But if you did something like “California daycare tips” or “best places for daycare in Los Angeles” you may find fewer websites with that specific information. Use a good keyword search tool to see how many people are searching for that exact or similar phrase. If you are getting 200 to 300 a month, you could be on the right path.
My site is related to The Hunger Games. I am not a huge Hunger Games fan, but my daughter is. Yet there’s an aspect about The Hunger Games that I did know a lot about because I used to teach about it many moons ago. I looked up some recent info and not much has changed on that angle. I did a keyword search and found that hundreds, if not thousands, were looking for info on the Hunger Games-related niche.
Consider Pay Per Click ad revenue. If you’re going to take on the niche, what are your possible earnings and how will you earn them? Pay-per-click is a good method. Sites like Adsense will display ads related to your content. For every click a customer performs, you make money. How much money depends on your topic and cost-per-click. The keyword tool I use also shows the estimated cost-per-click. Experts like a CPC of around $1, which is understandable. Even if you had a 5% click-thru-rate on 100 visitors a day, that’s $5 a day, or $150 per month.
This is just one angle for revenue. You can also get sponsored ads whereas a company will pay you X dollars per month to put an ad on the site. Those offers usually come in after you build serious traffic volume, as in thousands per month. You can also sell affiliate products or even build your site around a product and make commission for each sale.
Currently my site’s average CPC is between .50 and .75. However, it’s just started and I only targeted three or four longtail keywords. There are more I plan to target right before the next movie comes out. With at least two more movies to come, I’m hoping to ride The Hunger Games wave for years.
Locate potential targeted traffic. Who wants to visit your site and what would they gain from it? Your traffic volume doesn’t have to be in the millions in order to make money from your authority site. You just want to get the people that are asking the questions and want to learn more, so go where they hang out. In my case, The Hunger Games fans are in forums, blogs and Facebook. I made pages and accounts related to all three. My target audience is split into two groups: young fans and their parents. But I’m not targeting the parents-yet. That will happen during the holidays when it’s time to buy gifts. For now, I’m building relationships and web presence among the young fans and it’s working so far. I’ve had my site up for not even three weeks and I’m getting 50 unique visitors a day. That’s enough for me to get a sense of what they are looking for as I continue to build. I haven’t paid for any traffic, but I haven’t made a lot of money yet. I don’t expect to make any real money until six months down the road because of the next step.
Come up with a TON of articles about your niche. The magic number suggested was 100.Yes, that number was no joke. From everything I’ve seen on authority sites, 100 articles is the magic number. However, they don’t all have to be 400 words. Some can be shorter than others, depending on the article title. Authority site owners like to hire us freelance writers to do those articles for them. They pay reasonable rates but end up making much more in the long run. They don’t know how to write or want to take the time to do it. There’s nothing wrong with that. But this is to your advantage as a freelance writer. With all the search engine crackdowns going on, it seems like content is once again king.
Even my site’s traffic is proof of good timing and decent content. I only have six articles up and I’m getting traffic. The first day I posted a link in a social site and got 300 visitors. A week later I posted another one and got 200. Those links are on the front page of the social network still. I check my page analytics and many new visitors are coming from there.
Yet I still have 95 more articles to write. Will that take a long time? Absolutely. But I know that Hunger Games fans can never get enough, even in my micro-niche. I think that, before the next movie comes out, I can get it done.
You may get lucky and find a high-paying niche with little to no authoritative-looking info on the web. You could get away with 50 articles if the CPC is high enough.
I’ll post more articles as time goes on and I pick up new tips.
In the meantime, if you want to see what site I’m working on, become a subscriber and I’ll show it to you along with screenshots of my traffic and key you in on some free tools I’m using.
That’s one thing about becoming a freelance writer. You always want the odds to be ever in your favor.