to generate over $200/month
in under 3 months - click here
Setting up an authority website has a lot of the same steps as setting up a micro-niche or any other WordPress site but my focus on user experience is different. I plan on using a theme and set up that improves the users experience and engagement but leaves money on the table when it comes to ad click through rate.
In this epic tutorial I will show you exactly how I create my authority website (paymystudentloans.com). Typically I outsource this process using the instructions below but for this site since I will be investing so much of myself into this project I want to build it myself.
Photo from – dawniecakes
Step 1 – Register My Domain Name
You can read about how I selected my domain – here
When it comes time to register my domain I almost always use Namecheap(aff link) they are inexpensive, have an easy to use interface and have resolved any issue I had quickly. Over 95% of my 150 domains are hosted at Namecheap(aff link) and I have used them since 2008.
I Hate GoDaddy
I have had a couple bad experiences with GoDaddy in the past and I know many others that have as well. Most people online I know that register a lot of domains (like Hayden at NoHatSEO.com) register their domains with NameCheap.
NameCheap coupon – Every month NameCheap offers a coupon to save a couple dollars on domain registration. If you are interested search Google for “Namecheap Coupon month year” and you will get a couple dollars off the already inexpensive domain registration.
Step 2 Hosting for my Authority Website
I use several hosting companies but have found HostGator to be the best inexpensive host and will use them to get my authority website started.
Since I plan on having the traffic to this website to be more than a shared hosting account can handle I want to have a hosting growth plan in hand before I start. My plan for increasing hosting capacity with the growth of the site is…. Hostgator Baby(aff link) > Hostgator VPS(aff link) > Amazon S3 or Servint or Synthesis (not aff links)
Starting out a lot of people recommend Bluehost Hosting and I agree it is great for Micro-Niche websites, I use them, however, the problem with Bluehost is they don’t have an in house option to scale to a more robust and faster hosting account. With Hostgator when you want to improve your websites speed at around 20,000 visitors per month (the right time to increase will vary) you can do so in house.
See HostGator Plans and Pricing Here (aff link)
Step 3 Prepare to Install
At this stage I like to work through a variation of a Google Document Template that me and my team has used for years. This simple Google Document Checklist helps ensure we have all the information needed before we start building the site. After recently reading a book The Checklist Manifesto(aff link) which discusses the success of simple checklists in aviation and medical practices I have re-worked my sheet so that it is broken down into smaller 5-7 step sections.
Below is a video of me walking through what is in my document.
Here is a Public Copy of the Google Document I Used to make my PayMyStudentLoans.com website – View It Here
Step 4 Install WordPress
Using HostGator’s Fantastico or QuickInstall tool it is very easy to install WordPress.
Here is a HostGator video walking you through the process…
See HostGator Plans and Pricing Here (aff link)
Step 5 Install an SEO Friendly, Secure and Robust Theme
There are many many great free themes available, my favourite way of finding free themes is typing in the month or year and “year top 20 free wordpress themes” or some variation of that. Typically there are some good lists with some really good free themes available. However, with any free theme you can not be certain the coding is robust and SEO friendly. That is where premium theme frameworks come in.
Great Free WordPress Themes
My favourite sources for free WordPress Themes…
The links above are Free WordPress theme aggregators so a lot of them will have the same themes as the others.
Genesis vs Thesis Framework
A lot of the most popular WordPress websites run on a WordPress Framework with the two most popular frameworks being Genesis and Thesis. For my authority websites I like to use the Genesis framework from CopyBlogger because it has some great out of the box themes that are focused on the reader experience. Most of the Thesis skins seem to be more geared to high ad click through rates and result in what I think is a worse user experience. When using the Genesis Framework I am confident that my theme is search engine friendly, secure and robustly coded so I won’t be having to hire someone to fix little issues everytime I try to make a change.
View Available Genesis/StudioPress Themes Here(not an affiliate link)
Steps 6 to 32 – How I Optimize a WordPress Website
Optimized for…SEO / Speed / Security / User Experience and Monetization
Once I install and have adjusted the general settings there are a series of plugins I use to get the most out of my website. Some of these are for security, backup, seo or user interaction. Here is the checklist (which is also on the Google Document) that I install on most of my sites, this list is the ideal list but you can still have a successful site if all you did was install a quality theme and change the permalinks. For my micro-niche websites I use a much smaller list so that it doesn’t take my VA as long to install the sites.
- Change permalinks – /%postname%/
- Change General Settings
- Install Theme and Adjust Theme Settings
- WordPress SEO by Yoast – Use the details from the Google Document – Not required if using Genesis or Thesis theme framework
- Install Google XML Sitemaps Plugin – Not required if you installed WordPress SEO by Yoast
- Install Yet Another Related Posts Plugin
- Install Broken Link Checker Plugin
- Install Redirection Plugin
- Install SEO Friendly Images Plugin
- Create Google Analytics Code - If not already done
- Install Google Analytics for WordPress Plugin – In depth setup instructions at http://yoast.com/wordpress/google-analytics/
- Install Quick Adsense Plugin – I copy the code I placed in the Google Document here
- My favourite ad blocks are 336-280 placed in the Top Left and 336-280 Text Only placed in the Bottom Left with the colors customized to blend into the page.
- Change Discussion Settings
- Intall Sharebar Plugin – I use twitter, Facebook like, Google +1 and email – I also sometimes use LinkedIN
- For Google+1 I use this code in the Big Button box
- Activate Akismet Plugin - requires a free key from Akismet
- Install W3 Total Cache Plugin
- Install Revision Control Plugin
- Install WP Smush.it Plugin
- Install Limit Logins Plugin
- Install WP DB Backup Plugin – I set it up to send weekly emails for all my sites to a GMail account I don’t use regularly. This way all the DB emails don’t clog up my inbox. I could do something with rules in GMail also.
Step 32 Capture Emails (optional)
When building an authority site I start thinking more about the lifetime value of a visitor and there is no better way to build a relationship and help your visitors than via an email.
So on my authority website I will be focusing heavily on building a strong email list.
Difference Between KPI for a Micro Niche Site and an Authority Website:
- Micro Niche = Earnings Per Visitor
- Authority = Lifetime Value of “Customer”
Here is a tutorial on how to install an AWeber form in wordpress from Paul Counts
I use AWeber(aff link) for my EMail list and autoresponder needs. It is a great service with a fairly reasonable cost structure. To integrate AWeber I use their Plugin.
So that is it, I now have an optimized wordpress website up for my Authority Website at paymystudentloans.com. The next steps I will be working on is to add the articles I outsourced to the site then build backlinks and promote it.