Authority Sites Vs Niche Sites – A Completely Pointless Debate

I know, I know – I just posted about the authority site rage and here I am again posting about them once more. The reason for that is that they are a hot topic right now and there is a huge amount of ‘chatter’ about them on various forums, so I’ve decided that I would express my view and clear the air a little bit this silly, pointless debate.

What Is A Niche Site

Before we really dig into the authority site, let’s briefly cover niche sites.

niche about babies

This has nothing to do with anything involving niche sites. Why are you still looking at it and laughing?

We are all familiar with sites like CNN, Fox News, CRACKED, so on and so forth. These are sites that talk about all sorts of topics. Business, politics, funny cat videos, etc. They don’t really have a ‘niche’ other than maybe “News” but news really isn’t a niche so much as it is a market. (And by the way, describing a niche versus a market is for another post completely.)

A niche is a topic, a little section, a corner of the internet. Health is not a niche. Whole Foods Diets on the other hand might be a niche, with many subniches at that. So, lets say that you want to promote a clickbank product like the Cruise Control Diet – a product that’s based on following a whole foods diet to lose weight. You would be wise to then create a site that discusses whole foods diets overall. The benefits, the drawbacks, etc. That would be considered a niche site, because it covers one mean topic.

What Is An Authority Site

Oh boy, here is a loaded question because everyone has seemed to make up their own definition and almost nobody agrees completely.

In my opinion, an authority site is a site that is so well developed in any one topic that it completely covers all aspects of that topic. Under this understanding, I do not consider CNN, Fox News or CRACKED an authority on anything. They don’t have the kind of thick, dense material and coverage needed to really make them “An Authority” on a topic. Instead they provide a general overview of many topics…

When I think “Authority” I reason it to be a resource that really has not just great answers, but great answers to virtually every aspect of a certain field of study.

So… How should we create authority sites? What’s the direction to follow? Is it obvious yet…

What Is An Authority Niche Site

authority definition

Authority Sites will cover a niche as well as all of its sub-niches completely.

If you ask me, an authority niche site is really the only kind of site that counts as an “Authority Site” for marketers. That is a site that is so well developed on one specific niche that it not only covers the main points, but covers all of the subniches as well.

Let’s go back to our Whole Foods Diet example…

So you want to promote this product, The Cruise Control Diet. It’s a weight loss guide that promotes eating a whole foods diet to lose the weight. Great right. So you develop a 30-50 page niche site on general Whole Foods Diet based information. But is that an authority site? No…

If you want to create an authority site from here, you should then take that base material that you’ve already developed and continue to develop it further by covering topics (or sub-niches) like:

  • A Fruitarian Whole Foods Diet
  • A Plant Based Whole Foods Diet
  • A Paleo Whole Foods Diet
  • A Vegan Whole Foods Diet
  • Etc…

Then within each other those you are going to have another 30-50 posts per sub-niche. After developing this site, you will then have a true authority site – you will absolutely have demonstrated an authority of knowledge over the whole foods diet niche in just about every way and from every angle.

So The Debate Is One Had By Fools

The bottom line is simple. If you want to build a niche site it should really cover that niche well. In doing so, if you actually go out and do it well that is – you will have essentially created an authority niche site, which is probably the most effective kind of site that any marketer can build today.

Instead of trying like hell to rank just a few pages of your site, you will be able to ‘feed the domain’ and rank hundreds of pages for various terms all related to your niche and ideally, to the products or services that you are promoting.

But Hold On GOY, What About Sales…

authority sites make money

With an authority site you have the opportunity to convert potential leads into sales using a well designed funnel.

I’m not going to end this without covering a very important point about our example. If you are promoting the Cruise Control Diet you might ask yourself how well a person interested in Paleo diet information might convert into a sale on a whole foods diet weight loss program. Ultimately, the answer is up to you.

You should be familiar with what a sales funnel is by now (and if not, please go read up on it) and users that come into your site from these other sub-niches should be treated as if they are entering the front (or top) of your sales funnel.

When constructing your authority niche site you’ve got to have your site structure laid out in advance because you are going to want to be able to walk a user through a decision making process and convert them into a sale.

In the example of a Paleo diet, it could be as simple as using one simple line:

If you are interested in starting a Paleio diet to lose weight then take a moment and read our article on safe weight loss with whole foods diets.

Then send them to a nice general article designed to capture people specifically interested in Paleo diets (who very well may be interested in them to lose weight to begin with) and simply guide them slightly away from Paleo while maintaining strong sight of using a whole foods diet to get them to their goals.

It’s simply telling them that they can do what they want to do, but that they don’t need to be following a Paleo specific diet to do it. Then maybe follow that article up with another general “Catch All” article where you direct all of these sub-niche users to once you’ve detached the specific sub-niche component in their minds. Something like…

You know that you can lose weight with a natural whole foods diet, but you should read about the benefits of doing so.

This article is where you would introduce the idea of following a specific plan for weight loss on a whole foods diet. I’d introduce the Cruise Control Diet for the first time here…

One highly success way to lose weight on a whole foods based diet is to follow the advice given in the “Cruise Control Diet.” If you’ve been living under a rock for the past 3 years and have never heard of it, learn more about it here.

Authority Niche Sites Make Money

At this point you should see how easily you can generate affiliate sales by capturing traffic from dozens of sub-niches once you decide to develop your authority niche site.

It doesn’t have to be sleazy, it doesn’t even involve trying to rank your site for “(Product) Review” or “Does (Product) Work” keywords because your traffic will organically get to those pages if you are properly directing them through your on-site sales funnel.

In Conclusion

A lot of people may now be upset that I suggested a proper niche site should be an authority, but that's life. You can either build something worth having or you can cry about it...

A lot of people may now be upset that I suggested a proper niche site should be an authority, but that’s life. You can either build something worth having or you can cry about it…

If you are debating on building an authority site, this post should have clarified to you exactly what that site should look like and how it should work.

It should cover a niche and all of the sub-niches in detail. Further more it should have a pre-built funnel ready to focus the attention of your users on whatever conversion goals you have in mind.

In my example I used a diet plan, but you can even just build a general information authority site and rely on banner ads for CPA offers or Adsense if you wanted to.

But whatever you do, I would stop thinking about general topic sites as authority sites. Sure they are popular and yes they have a lot of ‘weight’ with certain search engines – but are they really “Authorities” on any one topic? When it comes right down to it – they aren’t.

Further more I would stop debated between a niche site and an authority site. An effective niche site will be an authority site and an effective authority site will deeply cover a specific niche. They really are one-in-the-same when done correctly.

My point: Stop arguing and debating… it’s pointless.