what_is_an_authority_siteMany people new to the world of affiliate marketing struggle to grasp some of the fundamental concepts involved in choosing a niche to write on. Mainly, many new bloggers confuse markets or industries with niches, and worry too much that their niche is too small, when more often than not its the opposite: their niche is too big.

However, there is a separate type of website that is related to niche sites, but encompasses a slightly larger user and topic base. These sites are known as authority sites. It is important to understand what an authority site is so you can understand if you’re dedicating your time to building an authority site or a niche site.

What is an Authority Site?

Authority sites, first and foremost, are larger than niche sites. They are sites that attempt to dominate a larger market, by providing relevant, information information across several niches.

For an example, let’s take a yoga-themed site. For a niche, “yoga” is a poor choice, because the topic is extremely broad, encompassing dozens of different styles of yoga and dozens, if not hundreds of types of individuals who are looking to practice yoga.

To narrow this site into a niche, one would need to refine the topic. Instead of “yoga,” the site might be “yoga for new moms” or “hatha yoga for weight loss.” These topics are more specific, and have a better chance of more quickly rising to the top of their respective industries.

However, depending on the business, choosing just one of these niches might not be a good choice. If the business depends on developing information over a broader set of materials, then it becomes an authority site.

To use the same example, even the market “yoga” is probably too unrefined for an authority site. Instead of “yoga for new moms” or “hatha yoga for weight loss,” the authority site might become “yoga for parents” or “hatha yoga.” These topics are still fairly broad, but refined down from the industry-wide term.

Authority Sites vs. Niche Sites

There are pros and cons to both authority sites and niche sites, and choosing the right one for your business depends a lot on your experience, time, and objectives for that business.

If you’re completely new to affiliate marketing, I recommend you focus in on a niche site first, improve your affiliate marketing skills, and gain confidence in your business. If you’ve already built several niche sites, however, it may be time to move on to try your hand at an authority site.

This is because authority sites, while they have the potential to be more profitable than niche sites, also take longer to develop. Whereas a niche site will start to see results after a few months, authority sites commonly take more than a year to develop. This is because authority sites tend to compete for higher value keywords. Eventually, if successful, you’ll gain more traffic from these keywords, but it’s a long road uphill first.

What are your opinions on authority sites vs. niche sites? Do you have a niche site you’d like to turn into an authority topic?