You know that WordPress is super-easy to install. It's a 1-click thing with most web hosts. It's easy to enter content. You just type a title and then type the content. What could be easier to use to set up an army of niche sites?
There's just one problem.
WordPress blogs suck for niche authority sites.
Wait… I can hear you now “Kristen, you just told me how great WordPress is, and now you say it sucks?!”. That's right. See, the problem is, WordPress is a blogging platform, but your niche site is probably not a blog. It's an informational site geared to get your visitor to sign up for your list, click on an ad, or buy a product (yours or an affiliate product).
[thrive_text_block color=”blue” headline=”Update!”]I've been using WordPress to run a large authority site for 3 years now, and I've revised my ideas on what parts of WordPress you should use – in the original version of this article, I recommended using Pages for your core content, but now I feel differently. Read on for how I believe you can best tweak WordPress to build awesome niche and authority sites.[/thrive_text_block]
The Bad News
A low-quality blog may get someone to click on an ad (maybe just to get away from crummy content!), but do you really want to build your brand around that?
I thought not. To get someone to sign up for your list or purchase a product, you need to build some trust by showing them you have quality info on the topic they're looking for. A low-quality blog probably isn't ideal for this.
It is possible to build a blog around a personal project – like a travel diary kind of blog, or a cooking or renovation project. But if you're building an “authority site,” people come to search for particular topics and probably want a kind of order or organization to the topics on your site.
The search engine spiders also have a hard time getting a good feel for your content if it's organized as a blog. You need a solid, logical layout. Otherwise, your quality content and vital information get lost in a sea of newer posts.
The Good News
I'm not going to leave you lost in a sea of jumbled categories and newest posts while that brilliant tutorial you wrote last month gets lost forever. In fact, WordPress is a powerful tool you can use to create your niche site.
Here's where my advice differs from the original version of this article. I don't think you need to use a Page-driven layout. You can still harness the power of blog posts to bring attention to your freshest content.
**The key, though, is that you don't create a Post and move on…
…you first create a logical layout plan for your site.**
First, you can create a Page-driven, logical layout. Pages are different than Posts, in that they're created to be enduring content.
Here's an example:
So your post giving a general overview on dog grooming leads to a post on giving your pooch a bath, and another on tools you need to keep your dog well-groomed. Another post (linked in your navigation menu) features feeding your dog. That post leads to a post on puppy feeding, another on feeding the mature dog, and another on best dog food reviews. Check it out:
This isn't all, though. Wordpress makes it easy for you to create custom menus so you can highlight recent content, popular content, etc. Plus, if you want to have a blog-style page featuring news and opinion pieces, you can set that up, too. It's very powerful if you do it right.
Another advantage of doing it this way is republishing. You may update the content on your site every year, or when new information is available in your field. If you've created the content as a post, you can easily “re-publish” it with the date you update it so it shows up again on the blog.
Spend a Few Minutes Planning
The key to this is that you do planning. Sometimes your posts may center on current events, breaking news, and holidays. Those posts can probably fall into your archives without you needing to worry about them.
But work through a plan for the rest of your content. What's key, core content that needs to be on a site covering your topic? What are the logical subsections? Market research and keyword research can help you start to get a good feel for the niche and trends within it. Plan a site structure like we discussed above.
Then, as you add new content, you can link it to other, related content, and have pages that serve as “Tier 2” sections – which link to even more detailed “Tier 3” sections. (For example, a dog feeding post can link down to a detailed post on feeding puppies, on feeding your dog a raw food diet, etc.).
When to Use Pages
I do think you should use Pages for some things on your site:
- Contact page
- “About” page
- Disclaimers / Privacy policies
- Sales letters
- Squeeze pages / dedicated opt-in forms
Content of this nature is well-suited to pages. They form a backbone of crucial pages, but they're not really informative content pages, so they don't need to go in the blog feed.
WordPress makes it easy to add pages or posts into menus – we'll explore the robust menu-creation system (which can be used for far more than the navigation menu) in a future post!
Don't wait to take action – use a 1-click webhost like Bluehost and do some market research to plan your site. Choose a nice theme and publish well-organzied content – that's the key to a solid, growing authority site.(NOTE: Want to put together a content marketing plan fast? Use this blueprint to plan and execute a content marketing plan that works - even for the solo entrepreneur and small teams. Get yours here.)