The One Hour Authority Site Project: My Make or Break Strategy

Photo Credit: Kalexanderson

Photo Credit: Kalexanderson

The following is part of an ongoing series, The One Hour Authority Site Project. If you’d like to read more about it then click here!

As my income has increased over the past few months and I have started making more than I ever have before, my attitude towards money has begun to shift.

I bought solid wood furniture for my new home office. I took my girlfriend to a very fancy (and rather expensive!) restaurant for her birthday. I paid someone to decorate my living room. These are all things I wouldn’t have done a couple of years ago. I would have shopped at Ikea, eaten at Frankie and Bennys and picked up a paintbrush.

You may be wondering what this has to do with my authority site project. Well, it’s related to my attitude towards money. Now that my business is profitable I have an opportunity, for the first time, to invest financially in my future success. And that is exactly what I plan on doing — I will be investing a sum of money in my authority site with the hope that it will offer me a return.

In this post I want to share exactly what my plans are in order to make this site a success. If it doesn’t work I will draw a line under this project and move on. If it does work then the potential for future growth could be huge (both with this project and others).

My Deadline

Just a couple of weeks ago I was floundering a bit. I had no direction.

What I needed was a deadline, as my friend Steve Scott told me in one of our mastermind meetings. He was totally right. I set myself a deadline for both my upcoming book and my authority site and my attitude towards the projects changed completely.

But how do you set a deadline for a blog? By their very nature blogs do not “finish,” do they?

Well, the deadline is intended to be an exercise in commercial viability. I have been working on my authority site (freeonlinedatingadvice.net) since September of last year, and in that time I have done a great deal of work and achieved very little. I have a site with over sixty articles, but no one is reading them.

So I decided that I would create an environment by which success was required in order for the project to move on. That’s what the deadline is about — if the site is unable to sustain itself (i.e. create an income that matches its outgoings) by my deadline, or at least shows the potential to do so, I will cut my losses and move on.

As I revealed in my last update, that deadline is Monday 12th August 2013. By then the site should be earning a minimum of $90 per month, which will enable me to hire writers on an ongoing basis to produce one post per week.

I am hoping that with the intensity of the project I will be able to surpass that goal comfortably, but I honestly have no idea of what the outcome will be. This is totally new ground for me.

My Budget

Once I had set my deadline I needed to define a budget — the amount of money I would invest in that time to give the project the best possible chance of success.

To be honest the budget is likely to be a bit of a moveable feast — I have no benchmark to compare against and no real idea as to what would be a sensible amount to invest. Provisionally I came up with a figure of $500, broken down as follows:

10x posts @ $20 = $200

10x guest posts @ $20 = $200

Infographic @ $100

I know one thing for certain — the budget will not go beyond $1,000. That is mental cutoff point at which I would have to draw a line. I don’t think expenditure will get that high though.

My Content Strategy

One of the things that had been holding me back from taking this project forward was a lack of time to produce new content. In reality I had become a bit burnt out from writing so many online dating articles.

However, that situation has now changed entirely. The content for my site is now in your hands — literally. In my last update I made a job offer to LWB readers and the response I got was far greater than I anticipated.

I received around thirty applications for the role of which many were really top quality. Although I had originally planned to hire just one writer, I ended up with three:

They will share writing responsibilities over the next eight weeks or so, with a schedule of 2-3 posts per week.

Not only that, I received guest posts from no less than seven other talented writers:

My sincere thanks go out to all of those who applied — it was a seriously tough decision narrowing the field down and I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to pick from such a talented pool of writers.

My final choice of writers was led in part by a desire to have different “voices” on the blog, and I think I have achieved that. I’m really excited to see what Gina, Nick and Dave produce in the coming weeks.

My Marketing Strategy

I am delighted with future prospects for content on the site and have no doubt that my writers will produce great stuff. It is the marketing of the site that is the great unknown — will I be able to do enough of the right things over the next eight weeks to enable the site to break even?

Well, I certainly feel like I will be pulling out all the stops. My strategy will be based upon the advice contained within the awesome Point Blank SEO course, which I would recommend to anyone who wishes to boost the visibility of their site (both in the search engines and in general).

My approach will be made up of the following elements:

  • Reverse engineering of competitors’ backlinks portfolio
  • Guest posting on related blogs
  • Directory listings
  • Inclusion on blog lists (like my own LWB 100)
  • Mentions in links mashups
  • Blog comments
  • Slideshare
  • Docstoc
  • An infographic

I will be spreading out this work over the coming weeks. My intended schedule is as follows:

  • Week 1: Guest Posts 1/2, Directories, Slideshare
  • Week 2: Guest Posts 3/4, Blog Lists, Docstoc, Links Mashups
  • Week 3: Guest Posts 5/6, Comments 1 – 5, Reverse Engineer Backlinks
  • Week 4: Guest Posts 6/7, Comments 6 – 10, Reverse Engineer Backlinks
  • Week 5: Guest Posts 8/9, Comments 11 – 15, Reverse Engineer Backlinks
  • Week 6: Guest Posts 10, Comments 16 – 20, Reverse Engineer Backlinks
  • Week 7: Infographic
  • Week 8: Infographic

The infographic is intended to be the coup de grâce — it will be sent out to every single website, blog and social media profile that I can dredge up in the niches of online dating, dating and relationships, women’s and men’s interests, and so on.

I have no doubt that I will think of additional tactics that I will implement as I go on as I am determined to give this site the best possible chance of success.

What Do You Think?

As always, I’d love to get your feedback on my plans. Do you think that I have a chance of success? Do you disagree with anything I have planned or do you have alternative and/or additional suggestions? Please let me know in the comments section below!

Comments

  1. says

    Tom,

    Congratulations on taking action and setting some deadlines for the project, however, I think the marketing strategy is light. I know you’ve limited the budget but I think you could do more than –

    • Week 1: Guest Posts 1/2, Directories, Slideshare
    • Week 2: Guest Posts 3/4, Blog Lists, Docstoc, Links Mashups
    • Week 3: Guest Posts 5/6, Comments 1 – 5, Reverse Engineer Backlinks
    • Week 4: Guest Posts 6/7, Comments 6 – 10, Reverse Engineer Backlinks
    • Week 5: Guest Posts 8/9, Comments 11 – 15, Reverse Engineer Backlinks
    • Week 6: Guest Posts 10, Comments 16 – 20, Reverse Engineer Backlinks
    • Week 7: Infographic
    • Week 8: Infographic

    I also can see there’s quite a few onsite SEO issues you really need to fix that can help improve the indexing and discoverability of your content and no matter how much link building you do the onpage SEO will hold you back.

    I would also seriously look at the site’s design – if you are trying to make any money from this site.

    If it was up to me I would ditch the blog commenting strategy and invest more time in other strategies as you are going to need to considerably increase the numbers of links to the site to see any movement beyond 20 comments, 10 Guest Blogs and a handful of Infographics/Link Roundup type links.

    The other thing you can do with the infographic is submit it to infographic directories and I would also consider a press release to announce both IG’s.

    Personally I’d be looking at things such as Linkbait and Broken Link Building to complement my link building mix you’ve got some great writers on board, I can see, so I’d really encourage them to push the envelope a little and get creative, thinking beyond your normal how to blog posts.

    Sorry if I seem a bit critical but I know there’s a lot of money to be made in the target niche and I think more upfront investment in time/money will yield better results here.

    Happy to chat more

    Chris

    • says

      Hey Chris,

      Thanks for the feedback! Really appreciate it. I’d love to know more about what onsite SEO issues you think there are.

      I’m not concerned about the design for the moment — I don’t think Google are going to penalize it for that.

      The blog commenting will take barely any time — it’s intended more to add link diversity than anything else.

      I totally agree with you about linkbait; that’s a good idea. I’ll definitely create a “top dating sites” resource or something like that and try to get some links through. Do you have any other specific suggestions on that front? As for broken link building, it’s not something I’ve looked into in detail before but I’ll check it out (I know it’s covered in Point Blank SEO).

      Don’t worry about the criticism, I really appreciate it!

      Cheers,

      Tom

      • Chris says

        Hi Tom,

        I see you are using Yoast SEO on the site so I would probably start by noindexing the tags and possibly the categories taxonomies as they’re causing some near duplicates and just wasting crawl budget.

        The only reason I commented on the design was to look at the location of the ads and also a better design might improve the perception of the site with users.

        Jon has covered broken link building on his blog quite a few times, and another area to consider is looking at content that might be out of date

        http://www.greenlaneseo.com/blog/2013/06/content-update-link-building-strategy/

        Chris

        • says

          Those are some good ideas Chris. I think a lot of people forget some of those basic things.

          I know I have forgotten them from time to time.

          Ad placement is always important as well. Maybe a theme like niche website theme or intellitheme once your up and running might be a good idea Tom.

  2. says

    Tom,

    I appreciate your site very much. I am just starting my blog and am following your lead.

    Although I can’t provide any feedback based on experience, I can tell you that your plan makes sense and seems to be on the right track.

    On a side note (and sorry for being off-topic), how many posts should a blog have before really trying to direct traffic to it?

    I’m reading your Freelance Blogging book right now, which is AWESOME, and I may just not have gotten to the part that tells me that. ;)

    Thanks so much for a great site, a great ebook, and for sharing your journey with all of us!

    • says

      Thanks! My pleasure :-)

      Generally I would advise that you launch a blog with a minimum of five posts or more, otherwise people have nothing to engage with for more than a minute or two.

      Cheers,

      Tom

    • says

      I love your gravatar profile because you’re right – being a mom is a phenomenal thing to be.

      As for your blog, I wouldn’t worry so much about quantity as I would quality. If you have 5 solid posts, an equally solid ‘About’ page, and a clear CTA (call-to-action, such as ‘Subscribe to my newsletter’), it would far outweigh a whole website of thin, forgettable content. Content is king.

      Go get ‘em!

  3. says

    Hey Tom, I have not been here for some time. How’s going? I am glad you started this journey and I was just about doing the same thing. On top of that, I plan to build niche sites as well.

    Good luck with your project and I will check your future updates regularly.

    BTW, I love Point Blank SEO course and just finished it yesterday. There are lots of techniques to be applied when building an authority site – more exciting than a little niche site in my view.

    Sincerely,

    Sibo

  4. says

    What about Facebook or Google Adwords advertisements. Whenever I’m on facebook all I see are ads for meeting “single people in my area” so I imagine someone has to be clicking those things for it to be so prominent.

    • says

      In my opinion it would only make sense to have such ads if I was making quite a lot of money per visitor. I’m not at the moment so that kind of strategy will have to wait.

  5. says

    I like the outline Tom.

    I haven’t created an authority site like you have yet although I have dabbled in niche sites. Some of which are doing ok.

    Also, consider how Google is changing their algorithm, so make sure that when you do some backlinking to keep it legit.

    Look forward to the progress..

    • says

      Hey Iain,

      I’m definitely going down the route of legitimate link building — none of the stuff I have in mind could be seen as dodgy. I’ve well and truly learned my lesson on that front!

      Cheers,

      Tom

      • says

        For sure, just thought I would point it out just in case.

        I haven’t done anything dodgy, but I hear expired domains are working for some people.

        What you outlined here is pretty solid though

  6. says

    Hi Tom,

    Your plan sounds great, but I would definitely add daily Facebook and maybe even Google+ marketing activities.

    I wouldn’t worry too much about backlink engineering – Google is changing constantly and I think if you write great guest posts and combine it with Facebook marketing you will get lots of great and natural backlinks over time.

    Good Luck :-)

    Roebrt

    • says

      Hey Robert,

      Social networking doesn’t come naturally to me to be honest — it’s always something I’ve struggled with. With regards to this site I don’t think it’s the best cause of action as I’m not convinced that people will be too keen about “Liking” an online dating site (for fear of what their friends will say, etc.).

      Cheers,

      Tom

  7. John says

    Hello Tom.

    Great start to your site and I look forward to reading your updates.

    Just have a quick question. I remember reading a post you did on efficiency and how if you work faster your earnings per hour automatically increase.

    This got me thinking about working faster and I was wondering if you have ever used voice recognition software?

    Very tempted to give it a try but just wondering if you would recommend it for freelance writing.

    Looking forward to your response!

    Thanks!

    John

    • says

      Hey John,

      I haven’t, although I know that others have and swear by it. I write at around 90-100 WPM so I don’t think voice recognition would give me a net gain on speed.

      Cheers,

      Tom

  8. says

    ” I have a site with over sixty articles, but no one is reading them.”

    They seem to be reading your blog here. What is different ? Maybe if you isolated that…
    Just a thought.

  9. says

    Thanks so much for including me in your content-building strategy, Tom. I’m honored to be a part of your authority site experiment–and I look forward to learning from your link-building and marketing strategies as I work with you on making the content fun and helpful!

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