Authority Site Case Study: Part 1

Authority Site Case Study

Case studies are all the rage nowadays, right? I know that I have learned a lot from case studies. Obviously there has been a couple of high profile examples, such as Pat Flynn’s Niche Site Case Study, and Nichepursuits have done a couple of public case studies.

Well I am going to do my own authority site case study. But I am shooting for something larger than the niche sites they aforementioned built. Plus, I am going to go down a more difficult route. I’m not saying this for any sympathy, more so as a forewarning that it could be a long road ahead.

The biggest challenge I envisage is attracting high quality links, that’s the problem most sites have. For those that are not totally clued up on SEO – inbound links are one of the most important ranking factors when it comes to seeing a new sites climb the search engine ranks.

This is where people have been slightly unfairly treated when following along with other well publicized case studies. You see, Pat’s Security Guard Training site, and Spencer’s Survival Knife sites were always guaranteed links.

They were always going to be successful case studies from the off-set. Sure the keyword research was important, but they knew they could get links.

Pat used the case study publicly as his main vehicle for links, people were linking to the site all over the web documenting the progress, he encouraged this. While Spencer went straight to his PBN well to direct some high authority at his site, knowing he would just add as many PBN links as were necessary.

I don’t have the luxury of either of those methods, neither do I want them. I want to build a genuine authority site with a genuine audience. An audience of people who love my content, want to read and interact with what I publish, and hopefully so much so that are willing to spend cash when I start to monetize.

With that being said, in web terms I am taking a ‘white hat’ approach, as opposed to the ‘black hat’ approach of the two case studies I mentioned. So what does this mean?

Definition of White Hat SEO

In search engine optimization (SEO) terminology, white hat SEO refers to the usage of optimization strategies, techniques and tactics that focus on a human audience opposed to search engines and completely follows search engine rules and policies. – webopedia.com

Definition of Black Hat SEO

In search engine optimization (SEO) terminology, black hat SEO refers to the use of aggressive SEO strategies, techniques and tactics that focus only on search engines and not a human audience, and usually does not obey search engines guidelines. – webopedia.com

Enough of discussing what is morally right and wrong, or what works and doesn’t lets get on to the project in hand and see how I go about things.

Settling on a Topic

With Google putting more and more focus on relevancy, I wanted to choose an authority site with a large collection of relevant topics. To be honest there is a range of topics I have always been interested in, and this was a perfect excuse to start writing about them. So where this part of the process might slow some people up, I knew what I was going to work on.

Personal development and self-help. That’s what I am going to be writing about. A topic that I thoroughly enjoy, I read some personal development blogs, so I’m familiar with the niche.

Selecting a Domain

We all know the problems with exact match domains. Not only does Google frown on the shameless attempt at locking in on that keyword, but it limits what you can write about on the site. With authority sites you need a more general, or brandable name.

I’m not going to release the name just yet (although the tech savvy can probably find it). Like I mentioned earlier, I want this project to be non-reliant on this, or any other blog.

I always use NameCheap to buy my domains. I find their site the easiest to navigate, and their prices are really competitive. I bought the domain for 3 years, plus some whoisguard – I always find it a bit weird publishing my home address for everyone to see.

Hosting

I use HostGator for my sites. I have tried a couple other hosts, including a particularly bad experience with 123-reg, and haven’t had a problem with HostGator to date.

Picking a Theme

There are so many theme available, I have spent hours previously trying out different ones. But I have learned the value of premium themes of late. They often look and work better than free themes, and you get better support and updates.

I have been very happy with MyThemeShop themes in the past. Both their free and premium themes always look great, and run smoothly. They put emphasis on loading speeds too, a massive bonus, especially on shared hosting plans.

I have already selected my theme, I’ve used it before. So it won’t take long to set up.

Getting Started

The biggest step is always the first one. I am going to need to allocate a lot of time to this project, around 2 hours a day I am thinking. So it’s going to take commitment, especially on the long run. Where most people fail is giving up – something I don’t do.

Goals are a great motivator, and achieving them is even better.

My Goals for the Month of April:

  • Set up the theme and all the necessary plugins.
  • 20 High quality 1,000+ word posts. Some SEO and keyword focus, but getting unique content is the priority for now.
  • Set up social profiles, webmasters and analytics.

I will post an update next month. It’s going to be a long-term project, but hopefully I can learn something from the process. More so I hope to have a successful site, and if it helps one person reading this – mission accomplished!

If you have any comments or questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.

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