The Goal of This Tutorial
If you’re reading this tutorial then you’re probably hoping to create a popular website with a goal of earning passive income through Adsense, or affiliate links. Creating an authority website is not a short-term goal, and it will take time. This guide will get you started on the right path to creating a successful authority website that ranks well in Google and other major search engines.
What Is An Authority Website?
Before we start, it’s important that you understand what an authority website is, and how you can make money from owning one.
An authority website is respected by leaders and major publication in its industry, as it is a website that is known to provide users with quality content. For example, searchengineland.com is an authority site in the SEO industry, and it’s always a great site to visit for the latest SEO news and advice for optimizing websites.
When you own an authority website you will have a ton of subscribers, daily blog readers and search engine traffic. This means you can make money by putting Adsense or other ads on your website, and you can throw in affiliate links to relevant products or services. If you play your cards right you can make a lot of money with an authority website, and if you’re not interested in maintaining one you can sell it for a good amount on sites like Flippa.
Step One: Pick Your Niche, Domain and Hosting Company
What topics do you like the most? Which of these topics do you actually know the most about? Pick something that you truly make a great website out of, and pick something that you know enough about to validate the content on your site is accurate and of great quality.
If you’re not writing the content that is fine, but you can’t be cheap when it comes to hiring a writer, and don’t hire someone from India to write for your site if its viewers are primarily American. People always think this is okay and the articles aren’t that bad, but 99% of the time they are.
Since an authority website will be getting a decent amount of traffic and feature a large amount of content, it’s important that you go with a reliable web hosting company. There is nothing worse then your website going down without warning due to a lack of resources.
If you can’t afford a VPS or Dedicated Server plan, avoid GoDaddy. It’s perfectly fine to start with a shared hosting plan, and we highly recommend DreamHost or WPEngine if you want the biggest bang for your buck. These hosting companies are reliable, have great customer support, and don’t cost a fortune.
WP-Engine is more expensive, but a better option if you want to ensure your WordPress website loads as fast as possible. DreamHost is a better option for most simply because you can register your domain through them as well and it’s easier to set up WordPress and get started.
Your domain does not have to include the keyword, for an authority website you should try to come up with a brandable name, something that sounds good – don’t force the keyword into your domain if you don’t have to.
Step Two: Setting Up Your WordPress Site
For this tutorial we will be using WordPress, as it’s the best CMS for creating an authority website and it provides you with more tools than alternatives like Joomla or Drupal.
Install WordPress using your web host’s tools, it’s usually a straightforward process and most hosting companies offer a simple way to install it. Once WP is installed, login to proceed.
Now is the time where you will want to write down an outline of your website, so get a paper and pen, or open up a document on your PC to start writing down the pages you want on your site’s menu. Take this time to really think about the experience you want to provide your users, as you want to get it right the first time and make tweaks as necessary later on.
Pick a WordPress Theme.
This just might be the most exciting part of setting up a website. The WordPress theme you pick has to be good enough to last at least a year, and will hopefully be popular enough that the developer maintains it and frequently provides updates.
It doesn’t have to be a premium theme, and you can find some really good ones on WordPress.org if you don’t have the funds to buy one. Just remember, these free themes will usually require you to keep the author credits, which sometimes make the site look unprofessional. It always looks better to have a premium or custom theme.
You can find a ton of themes on themeforest.net, but we recommend getting one from TeslaThemes, as they provide great customer support and keep their themes updated.
If you own multiple sites or plan on starting more than one site, then I recommend becoming a member of TeslaThemes so you can own all their current and upcoming themes for the price of one.
Install your theme, every premium theme will include some kind of documentation to help you setup your website. It’s sometimes impossible to setup your theme without any content, so you can focus on creating content to fill out all the pages of your website before you completely set up your theme and launch the website.
Plugins You Need
One of the main reasons why we recommend WordPress is because the insanely large selection of free plugins. There are a few that you need…
- Yoast SEO – This is the best SEO plugin, as it gives you full control over your site’s SEO so you can optimize each page and blog post for the search engines. Here’s a guide to setting up and using Yoast SEO.
- W3 Total Cache – Google really cares about your website’s loading time, and if your website loads too slow then don’t expect good rankings. This plugin is very powerful, and it doesn’t take a developer to set up. The folks at wpmudev have put together the Ultimate Guide to W3 Total Cache.
- Wordfence – Taking security precautions will save you a ton of hassle in the long-run, because the more popular your site gets the more people will try to hack it. Wordfence gives you total control over your website’s security, allowing you to monitor and block intruders. Here is a guide to configuring Wordfence.
By now, you have your WordPress site set up with a theme and all your required plugins are installed.
Step Three: Create Content
Now is the time where you have to create content, either yourself or by paying a quality writer. You can find writers on sites like Guru and Upwork, just make sure they have positive reviews.
It’s recommended that you get enough content to fill up your theme and website’s pages. You want a complete homepage, and each section on your site should have content. If you own a site on dogs, you might have a section with blog posts on ‘training’, and another one on ‘breeds’, so just fill out these sections with at least 3 posts before you launch your website.
You don’t technically have to do this, and you can launch your site with just one post if you really want to. But no, you shouldn’t do that. Google will take your website more seriously from the start if they see you have a good amount of content already, and you’re going to be posting frequently.
Oh yeah, having an authority website means you need content added on an almost daily basis, and depending on your niche you might want to publish 3-5 posts a day for the first few months. Doing this allows you to break into your industry and gain traction on social media platforms with all the content you have to share.
Your blog posts should contain 500-750 words, but anything more than 300 is okay. Once you have some content up and your website looks complete, check how it looks on mobile and tablet devices. If you can’t check on these devices, simple resize your browser window and see how your website adapts to different resolutions.
Step Four: Create Your Social Media Pages
Every authority website should have a Twitter, G+ and Facebook Page – as you will be sharing your content on these networks to get viewers quickly after launch. We recommend having every page on your website filled up so when you start sharing content after launch, readers won’t leave your website quickly due to it being empty.
Users are more likely to subscribe if they see you already have a bunch of quality content available for them to read.
Put your URL on your Twitter page, and join various Communities related to your niche on Google Plus. Verify your G+ page and try to get it 100% completed. You can share all your articles on here publicly, and this will definitely help get your articles indexed quickly, but it’s also beneficial because sometimes these public updates show up in the search engines too.
Step Five: Install Google Analytics and Set Up Webmaster Tools
This is the last step you need to complete before launching your soon-to-be authority website. Go to analytics.google.com to set up a property for your website and verify it by placing the tracking code on your website. Most premium themes have an option to make this easy for you, check with your theme’s documentation.
Once the Analytics account is set up you can go to Webmaster Tools to add your domain. When they ask for you to verify your domain, there will be an option at the bottom for other ways to verify your site – and then there will be an option to verify using your Google Analytics account. Verify it so you can submit your sitemap.
Yoast SEO creates an awesome sitemap for you, and the URL is typically yourdomain.com/sitemap_index.xml.
It’s also great to setup a Bing Webmaster Tools account too, as they seem to provide us with even more useful content than Google’s Webmaster Tools. You can submit your sitemap to them as well to guarantee they pick up on all your latest posts.
Step Six: Launch, and Publish Articles Frequently…
Authority websites do well because when you publish content to your blog on a daily basis, or at least every other day, then search engines learn to crawl your site often to pick up new content. It really doesn’t take long for Google to pick up on this, and they will sometimes have your articles indexed within 15-20 minutes.
So schedule content if you have to, but make sure you get something published often, and try to aim for multiple posts a day for the best results. Remember, you’re new in an industry that already has a bunch of authority sites, and you’re really playing catch up at this point.
Step Seven: Set Up Your Mailing List!
Okay, maybe this should have been mentioned before the launch, but hey, we assumed you would jump right to this step after you announced your website to the world!
To make this step as easy as possible, we recommend MailChimp. They seriously make setting up a mailing list simple, and we really think they’re the best around when it comes to creating newsletters and mailing lists. There are many MailChimp plugins for WordPress that make it easy to put a subscribe form in your sidebar or other widget area, such as your website’s footer.
Step Eight: Monetize
This is the part you’ve all been waiting for! Time to start making money with your website, and the best way to do this is by placing Adsense ads on your website. If you don’t want ads on your website, then we recommend signing up for Amazon Associates and putting affiliate links in your articles when it’s possible.
You can also do both, and that is probably the most effective route to take. When we say put affiliate links in your articles, we don’t mean to force them there. But, every niche has quality products that your users need and probably want to know about, so naturally recommend them and provide them with a link to the product on Amazon.
Placing ads on your website is as easy as placing the code in your WordPress widget areas, just throw it in a ‘Text Widget’ and hit Save.
Step Nine: Promote Your Website
Now you must do some things to promote your new website and get quality backlinks in the process. In this day and age it seems that guest blogging is the best route, as you can get immediate traffic, as well as a good backlink to help with your SEO efforts.
So what do you do? Open up a tab in your browser and do a Google search for your-keyword “Write for us”. This will pull up places that you can write for, but depending on your niche you may need to play around with different keywords or use broad keywords to find good sites to guest publish an article on.
Very often you will find yourself waiting for an article to get published, but just one article published on the right site can be very beneficial to your rankings in the search engines.
If you focus your efforts here and in creating new content for your own site, and stick with it for a year – you will eventually have an authority website capable of making you thousands of dollars a month in Adsense revenue.
This is not a get-rich-quick scheme, and it is not an easy thing to do. Many people attempt to create authority sites but get lazy or start looking for shortcuts. You can’t get sidetracked, you need to focus on creating quality content, sharing it, and guest posting on authority websites. Do these three things for a year and you will not fail.