How to Build an Authority Internet Business [An Overview]

Authority Internet Business Case Studay (An Overview)Can you generate income with a brand new website?

How do you build a large authority business?

What’s the best way to make money online?

All of these questions will be answered in a brand new series titled: “Authority Internet Business Case Study.”

This will be a multi-year look at how to build a profitable business from the ground up.

Unlike other case studies, I’ll show how to take a new website and turn it into a property that generates income from a variety of sources.  In other words, it’s my goal to create a long-term asset that has real-world value.

In true case study fashion, you’ll get both the good and the bad.   Yes, I’ll talk about my breakthroughs and successes.  But I also won’t shy away from discussing my failures.

You might have a lot of questions about building an authority Internet business.  So I thought I’d provide an overview before we get to the meat-and-potatoes.

[title color=”green-vibrant” align=”scmgccenter” font=”verdana” style=”normal” size=”scmgc-2em”]What is My Niche?[/title]

A big lesson I’ve learned as an online marketer is the importance of passion when it comes to building a business.

It’s simple:

[quote type=”medium” align=”left”] The #1 Secret to Authority Business Success is to Talk About a Topic You Love [/quote]

(Tweet This!)

Think of the question we’ve all heard before:

“What would you love talking about… for FREE … if you were already rich?”

Everyone has their own answer.

The one I’d give is “personal development.”

This has been a passion of mine for over a decade.  I love to read books on this subject and apply the lessons in my personal life.

The problem?

A lot of the information in the personal development space is filled fluffy, woo-woo content.  I don’t believe in the Law of Attraction.  Nor do I believe in wishful thinking.

It’s my opinion that the only way to get what you want in life is to work for it.  Really, you can break down the “success process” into finding what works and repeating these action items on a daily basis.

In other words:

[quote type=”medium” align=”left”]Your Daily Habits Determine What You’ll Achieve in Life

[/quote] (Tweet This!)

So yes, I’m not into most of the namby-pamby personal development stuff.  But I do believe in the power of developing good habits.

My plan is to take a small part of a large niche and focus on becoming THE leading authority on this subject.

[title color=”green-vibrant” align=”scmgccenter” font=”verdana” style=”normal” size=”scmgc-2em”]How Will I Demonstrate Authority?[/title]

I feel you can demonstrate expertise in a variety of ways.  Specifically you’d use one of the 3 B’s of Authority:

#1- Be an Authority: You have a detailed understanding of a niche and can draw from years of personal experience.  You don’t just talk about a subject; you live it on a daily basis.

#2- Borrow Authority:  You don’t have much experience with the topic, but you know how to find others who do.  You demonstrate authority by interviewing these experts and getting them to reveal their secrets.

#3- Build Authority:  You don’t have a lot of initial authority.  Instead you have passion for the topic and a willingness to test different things.  You build authority by reporting the lessons you’ve learned and talking about the breakthroughs you’ve achieved.

Do I have authority on developing good habits?

Yes and no.

I do have a college degree in psychology and I do have experience with forming a number of good habits in my life.

On the other hand, I don’t have a PhD or real-world experience with helping people form habits.  All I have is a small amount of knowledge and a willingness to test different concepts.

That means I’ll focus on building authority.  This will be done in a number of ways:

  • Provide case studies of “30 Day Habits” from my personal life
  • Review books dealing with habit development and related psychological concepts
  • Define specific topics that help people form positive life habits
  • Link to quality information in the personal development space
  • Show examples from positive habits I’ve previously developed

Most of the content will be an examination of my journey towards building a great life – One habit at a time.

[title color=”green-vibrant” align=”scmgccenter” font=”verdana” style=”normal” size=”scmgc-2em”]How Will I Monetize This Site?[/title]

Authority Internet businesses are great because they can be monetized in a variety of ways.

This won’t be a niche site that generates a few nickels from Google Adsense.  Instead I’ll apply everything I’ve learned as an online marketer to create a valuable, lifelong asset.

First off, my primary focus is to build an email list.

Email marketing has been my bread-and-butter since 2006.  So the authority site will be designed to encourage opt-ins and build loyal subscribers through a quality autoresponder sequence.

In theory, this will help with the five income strategies I’m planning:

#1: Affiliate Marketing:  The personal development space is filled with a variety of information products, software, and physical goods.  The trick is to find the offers that actually help people develop good habits.

So, the first thing I need to do is to find a single affiliate product that is worth promoting.

#2: Kindle eBooks: Publishing small books on Amazon has become a profitable part of my online business.  Naturally, I’d like to repeat this success by offering low-cost reports that solve specific obstacles with habit development.

My goal is to have one published Kindle book by the time I launch the site.  That means I have to find a qualified ghostwriter to create this product.  (More on this in a bit.)

#3: Information Products: Ultimately I’d like to become an authority on habit development.  Then I can offer a detailed eCourse which provides a ton of value to blog readers.

I’m years away from this goal.  But I think it’s important to think long-term when you start a brand new website.

#4: iPhone Applications: People use apps all the time to track their daily habits.  So I can *hopefully* get a piece of this action with my own app.

This is another long-term strategy.  The first thing I need to do is “de-construct” the existing apps in the iTunes store.  This market is saturated, so I’d have to find an angle that’s unique and interesting.

#5: Physical Products: Not many case studies talk about selling physical products.  I’d like to change that!  My long-term goal is to offer a line of products related to habit development.

Nowadays, it’s not hard to ‘white label’ an existing product line.  In theory, all I need to do is find physical products related to forming habits and promote them on my store (and on

These five ideas are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to building an authority business.  I’m sure I’ll come up with more once I know more about the habits niche.

[title color=”green-vibrant” align=”scmgccenter” font=”verdana” style=”normal” size=”scmgc-2em”]How Will You Develop the Authority Site?[/title]

I’ve been “anti-niche site” for most of the past year.  In fact, I even wrote a manifesto where I slammed the idea of building niche sites.

Since then, I’ve come to realize a few things:

  1. Niche sites can work if you have quality content
  2. Google does give preference to authority style websites
  3. There are many ways to build traffic besides Google

I think Spencer Haws put it best in his 11th podcast episode:

[quote type=”medium” align=”left”] “Build your site to get as much Google Traffic as possible, but build your business like search engines could disappear tomorrow.”  – Spencer Haws [/quote]

My plan is simple.  I’ll start out by focusing on the niche site model.  But I’ll quickly scale it into a business where I’m not solely relying on getting Google love.

There will be three phases for this site:

Phase 1 will look very much like a niche site.  I’ll focus on long-tail phrases and include a number of keyword-rich articles that define habit-related concepts.

In addition, I’ll include a few income-generating opportunities:

  • A free eBook to build an email list
  • A paid Kindle book offer
  • A review of an affiliate product

During this phase, I won’t build backlinks or do any marketing.  Instead I’ll design a framework that will (hopefully) lead to long-term income.

Phase 2 will focus on building authority.  I’ll provide personal examples of how I use habits and talk about breakthroughs I’ve achieved.

Another thing I’ll do is write Massive Value Posts (Learn more about MVPs in my recent Kindle book) that will attract natural links and social shares.  Again, I’m not going to worry too much about backlinking.  Basically my strategy is to create good content and hope my site will get mentioned by other blogs.

This phase will last a few months.  I want to organically grow the content and get all the pages indexed before I do any serious promotion.

Phase 3 is all about marketing.  This will be the point where I network and focus on building backlinks.  Furthermore, I’ll experiment with other tactics like: Writing press releases, creating YouTube videos, and building a social media platform.

[title color=”green-vibrant” align=”scmgccenter” font=”verdana” style=”normal” size=”scmgc-2em”]How Long Till It’s Profitable?[/title]

I’ll probably invest at least $2,000 before seeing a return on investment.  Primarily the money will be spent on outsourcing content creation.  But I’m also investing in a nice looking logo and a high-converting blog design.

Realistically I won’t see any profits till the six-month mark.  That should be enough time to create a few offers and build a baseline of traffic.  From there, I’ll explore different options for how to scale this business.

[title color=”green-vibrant” align=”scmgccenter” font=”verdana” style=”normal” size=”scmgc-2em”]How Will Outsourcing Be Used?[/title]

I have mixed feelings about outsourcing.  It can help you free up extra time.  But it can also become a source of frustration and lost revenue.

Primarily, I’ll use outsourcing to create “seed content.”  I’ve hired a writer to create simple articles which define habit-related concepts.  I’ll then go over each post and add my own personal spin.

From there, I hope to train a writer to create blog posts in a specific style and format.  If things go well, I can minimize the biggest headache with building a large website – Creating content.

I’ve also hired another writer to create my lead magnet.  This will be a free book that covers “77 Daily Habits.”  I’ll offer this report to visitors in exchange for their email address.  That means I’ll build an email list from day 1.

Why am I hiring multiple writers?

Over the last few years, I’ve learned it’s really hard to juggle multiple content creation projects.  Eventually I’ll write a lot of the content myself.  But I’d like to immediately find someone who can handle some of this work.  That’s the only way to quickly scale an authority site.

[title color=”green-vibrant” align=”scmgccenter” font=”verdana” style=”normal” size=”scmgc-2em”]When Will the Fun Start?[/title]

Right now, I’m working hard on my next Kindle book.  I’ve been planning this one for awhile.  So I want to get it done before I really begin the Authority Internet Business project.

I’m thinking it’ll be a few weeks before I do a follow-up post to this article.  Till then, a lot will be happening behind-the-scenes.  So stay tuned 🙂

Now it’s YOUR turn.

The #1 goal of this case study is to provide a learning environment for building a large-scale authority business.  I can’t do this without your feedback.  So I’d love to hear your thoughts on what you’d like to learn.

In the section below, please submit any questions or comments you have about this project.

Take Action. Get Results.

72 thoughts on “How to Build an Authority Internet Business [An Overview]”

  1. Hey Steve,
    I’m really looking forward to this and I’ll be paying close attention to see what techniques I can pick up to help grow my own site. I like the way you’ve laid everything out so far and you seem like you have a great plan.

    I also like how you say it could take a few years before you create your course because this is something I was thinking too. I have enough to write an amazing book to get started, but ultimately I’d like a full course and I need to do a lot more experimenting within the niche first.

    My question is:
    I’ve got countless freelance articles to write and I’m writing Kindle books + blog content at the same time. On top of that I have to commit a few hours to actually living my niche. It doesn’t leave a lot of time to market the site, so when I write this book I was going to try and build traffic by buying it. I don’t care about making much, but would be happy breaking even and building a fan base.

    Do you think it’s worth doing it with Kindle, or should it be an actual information product? I know Kindle books are cheaper, but I’ve also heard Amazon converts 5-10X more so theoretically it wouldn’t be so bad compared to a $30 eBook.

    What do you think, and is PPC a good way to build the readership?

    Sorry about the long question.
    P.S. When I started reading about your Kindle success I was inspired and put my freebie book up. It’s already broke $70 this month with a few days to go. Not much, but feels good so thanks. Time now to try and do 1 per month.

    • Hey Jamie,

      I’ll be honest – I’m not an expert on paid traffic. What I do know is you need to be very conscious of return on investment (ROI). If you go with the paid route, you should make sure your books are making more than what you’re spending.

      The good news is Amazon books do convert well. I’m seeing 10 to 15% conversions on these guys. So if you can get your traffic at $.10 per click, it might work. Really, I think it comes down to testing and seeing what happens from there.

    • hey Jamie, you have a great question here, so please allow me to share my 2 cents, as Steve already answered…

      Multiple streams of income is the real key online — so I’d go with real books, PDF ebooks, and Kindle books – you should use all the formats you have at your disposal and go on the hyper productive route, meaning the more you publish, the higher your chances to make $ and build an audience.

      With kindle, just like with YouTube, you need to know the system, and what makes kindle books become top sellers (how they rank, etc.) – reverse engineer the system, and you should do fine (just not overnight).

      As with PPC, the advice is similar. As Steve said, know your conversion, track and test your variables. I’d also recommend you build a strong follow-up and backend system , so that if your PPC campaign is not profitable, at least you have the leads you can count on, for weeks and months to come.

      Hope it helps!

  2. Great stuff, Steve. I’m excited to follow along and see how things go. And thanks for making a non-crappy personal development site. They’re all so fru-fru-y and stupid. I’m with you on the law of attraction stuff—total trash. Just avoid that and the other stale personal development platitudes (e.g., follow your passion! Reach your potential!) and you’ll already have a big leg up on the other sites out there. Oh, and please avoid overused terms like kick-ass and epic. That stuff drives me crazy.

    I’m always starting new projects, even when I tell myself not to, and even after I go through a round of shuttering older or less valuable projects. I just started a new one (about snorkeling, which I’ve recently gotten into), and it’s a long-term thing. The plan I have for it is similar to the one you’ve outlined here. I won’t be putting as much time and effort into it as you’re putting into this site, but this is something that I can see myself doing long-term and becoming the go-to site in the niche. I’m excited.

    Thanks for the great post.

    • Hey Tristan… You’re the 3rd person this week who said they hated the word “epic.” My girlfriend can’t stand that phrase…so I say it just to bug her 🙂

      The snorkeling site sounds awesome. How would you monetize it? Kindle, Amazon products, or something else?

      • I’d monetize it through Kindle books and Amazon affiliate links. In a couple weeks I’m heading to Cozumel for 3 months, which is enough time to research and write a guide to snorkeling on the island. I’ll also write a more general “snorkeling tips” ebook.

        And the affiliate links will be for snorkeling gear and books.

        I’ll eventually have individual pages for specific snorkeling destinations, and sponsored ads for local tour operatiors or dive shops are another option. The Kindle books and Amazon links will be the main focus in the near future, though.

        • Excellent!!! Sounds like you have a killer strategy there… I love the idea of sponsored ads. Great way to monetize local traffic. Let me know when it’s completed…I’d love to see how you’re doing things.

  3. Hey Steve,
    I have considered you a mentor of mine since I first began discovering sustainable strategies for building a business online. Probably because you were the first person I found out there that really offers great content. I still look to you first for quality information on how to make a website work.

    As my site has evolved, it has been less about how to make money online, and more about a personal spiritual journey learning the truth about Buddhist philosophy. I still share my guerrilla camping tips (travel hacking for minimalist), and what I learn about building the blog itself too.

    Nonetheless, I am greatful to see this case study. It is as if finding your site was meant to be. I have learned so much already from your blog, and a couple of your Kindle books. Now I am greatful that the lessons will be more niche related to mine.

    I have been following your advice about how to include keyword phrases in my blog post, and to teach more than just journal about my trip. Now I am starting to get to the phase where I need to develop traffic.

    I know you have covered this before, and I will be re-reading “Get 100,000 Blog Visitors” this week. One question I would like you to address more specifically is how to form alliances with other people in my field.

    You have spoken about guest blogging, and commenting on blogs & forums before. I would like you to share more about the actual steps you take to get on these other bloggers radar. Specifically when we are just starting out and have little traffic ourselves.

    How do we befriend others who have less time and incentive to pay attention to us?

    Thank you again for your passion to share with us what you learn,

    Omar Von Gimbel
    The Kinesthetic tiger

    • Hey Omar,

      I’d definitely get on the networking and building relationships with other bloggers. That has made a huge difference in my biz.

      I built my own relationships organically and over time. But I will implement a strategy for reaching out to other bloggers in this market … But it might be a number of months before I get to that phase.

      Basically, I think you can start by sharing another person’s content and commenting on their blog. Find a way to help them first, and use that to get on their radar. From there, ask for a guest post. You can then build the relationship over time.

  4. Yo Steve, thanks for sharing this awesome information bro.

    I’m with you on the “namby-pambyness” it’s time to cut the crap and get down to the nitty gritty tasks that drive success.

    Too many “guru” are stuck on the theoretical, hypothetical bull crap.

    So is it official? Did yo purchase the new niche domain yet?

    • Couldn’t agree more!

      I do have the domain registered and WP installed with a theme. Now I’m in the process of adding a few articles. I’ll probably unveil it in 2 or 3 weeks.

  5. I’m diggin’ the idea, Steve.

    Personal Development isn’t an area I care much for especially from what you mentioned – the fluffy stuff – but I do love the psychological factors of it.

    I’d much rather read something like ‘How I quit smoking by using X when I had cravings’ vs. ‘Learn how to meditate your cravings away!’ type of stuff.

    Overall, what I’d want to learn, is how does taking a “harder” edge on the topic help you break from the massive amount of PD sites out there (those fluffy ones); I wanna know if people just enjoy the circlejerk of reading fluffy stuff or if they actually want to put it into motion.

    • I agree with the need for actionable content. I honestly believe there is a huge market for people who just want to be told what to do. They don’t want the 10,000 word preamble and meditative actions. Instead, they need something that helps them overcome their problem. Hopefully that’s where my new site will come in.

  6. This sounds really interesting Steve and touches on some personal interests of mine.

    I hate with a passion all the wishy washy crap out there about “believe in yourself and follow your star and the universe will give you what you want!”

    I spent decades watching my mum fall for all that crap – she had a bookshelf full of this rubbish and yet she never actually DID anything to improve her financial prospects.

    I’ll be following your progress with great interest!

    • Yeah, not a big fan of that type of stuff. I do like the idea of habits and how they can affect positive change in a number of different ways. So I think it’s possible to provide good content, simply by providing tactical, easy-to-follow information. But definitely no “believe in yourself, follow your star” crap.

  7. Hi Steve, thanks for the great post.

    What if your passion is not marketable? I mean, my passion is football (soccer) and there are very very few ways to market it, plus the niche is dominated by really big sites with lots of influence and thousands of links…

    • I definitely think there’s a HUGE audience for football. But you’re right, it might not be very profitable. I do know someone who sells information products related to it. Send me an email and I can give you his contact info. Perhaps you can build an information-based site around this topic and promote his products as an affiliate.

  8. Hi Steve,
    I’m excited about this upcoming project of yours. I remember a while back when i first started my independent travel & lifestyle site in 2011.

    I felt really annoyed that I only had one site because that’s all i could handle. There was all this talk about multiple niche sites but all i could handle was this one site.

    Then around 2012, I started reading about authority sites and realized that that was what I was creating. It was actually the “niche vs authority debate between you and Mike over at adsense flippers that I read.

    Anyways, just wanted to say love your no fluff style. You’re really such an inspiration.. in a non-hyped kind of way.

    • I loved doing that interview — Especially because I realized I was kind of *wrong* about a few things. It made me second guess my hatred of Google and how it’s still a viable source of traffic if done correctly.

      I definitely think you’re on the right track with a single site – Especially since it seems like you’ve branded it really well. You have any information product, right? It seems like you’d have a lot to share since you’ve gone through the temporary-ex pat thing.

      • No product yet, I’m working on some products. at first i thought an online course, then since following along as you release your kindle ebooks i’ve been thinking shorter smaller more focused ebooks on living as an expat temporarily starting with france. It helps to follow you and see the plus and minuses of the various models. I like the kindle publishing model because of the laissez faire (somewhat) style vs an online ecourse which right now i’m not prepared to create emotionally and from a time stand point. Sigh..

        • I agree – Kindle publishing is a lot less stressful than doing a large info product. Obviously, the margins are smaller. But you can crank them out quicker. Let me know if you have any questions when you’re ready to publish. Also, if you’re doing a freebie launch, I can share that with my audience. 🙂

  9. Hi Steve, Thanks for sharing this wonderful overview about creating an authority site. Being authority in one field is not an easy task, it takes quite time and some time juggling. Looking forward for your progress, excited to see your next kindle book.

  10. Steve,

    You’ve got my attention!

    It’s about time! All that positive thinking crap just bugs the hell out of me. It’s not about the positive thoughts, it’s all about the positive actions (can you say habits?). Can’t wait to see the results of yours.

    I’ll be following you closely with great interest.

  11. A great focus area Steve. For years I did work in that area, mostly before the internet came into play so I was doing workshops and personal training. It is amazing how much more productive a person can become when they look for what works rather than the theoretical.

    You demonstrated a lot of good thinking by what you have in your post. A basic part of what is effective is the commonly known part of setting out clear goals and written plans so you are demonstrating here your own knowledge of the subject by how you are starting.

    I will enjoy following your project. You have become one of my favorites lately. You have been providing some valuable, very practical information in your recent books and posts. Thanks, and keep up the good work.

    • You’re right. Having clear goals and written plans works well with developing any habit… I like the idea of writing about the stuff I’ve personally implemented. Not just having a bunch of conjecture.

      Glad to see you’re following along with the project. Hope it helps out!

  12. Great Post Steve,

    I’m building a blog with the same premise. I’m learning and sharing as I go.

    I’m starting to see some small successes but have a long way to go. There are so many aspects to building a successful blog and I’m struggling with the learning curve at times. Overall I’m making progress and I have a long term approach as well.

    I’m looking forward to following your progress.

    I read book a few months back that some of your readers may enjoy.

    “The Millionaire Messenger” Brendon Burchard

    The premise is similar to your # 3 “B” Build Authority

    Best of Luck Steve!

    • Listening to “The Millionaire Messenger” on tape. I’m with you on recommending it.

      Seeing (and hopefully meeting) Brendon next week in San Diego at an event. Can’t wait!!


    • Thanks for the suggestion! I’ve heard about Brendon’s stuff, but haven’t had time to check it out.

      Anyway Frank, keep me posted on your site. Perhaps we can share content with each our audiences.

  13. Fun, fun!

    Can’t wait to follow along with you on this new journey.


    1) Are you using a new pen name for this site and as author of Kindle book(s) that go along with site?

    2) What about profile picture?

    My new site uses a model for the primary pages, yet when it got down to “the voice” I couldn’t quite do it.. so “Niki” is the face (and I say this in the “About” page) and then I am the main person with me talking and my personal picture.

    Very interested to see how you handle this part of your new niche.

    Lovin’ your site. Darlene 🙂

    • I’m going to still use my “online presence”. Same pics, etc. The only difference is I’ll use S.J. Scott as my name. That way there won’t be any brand confusion on sites like Amazon.

      I agree it does get confusing when you have to go with a different pic and then have to find a unique voice. So I figure the simplest thing to do is be straight with readers.

  14. Hey Steve,
    Love your plan, it’s obvious that you have put a lot of thoughtful time into this idea. Your passion oozes just talking about what you are going to do, I’m really digging it. As you know content creation is my biggest pain…I’m very interested in how you went about hiring your writers and how scared you must be:) Your “voice” is so dominant in your writing and a lot of what probably makes you successful, I’m curious how this hybrid style is going to work…I’d do almost anything to outsource content creation if there’s a way to make it work. Looking forward to this project, I know it’s going to be great, thank you for sharing.
    Best regards,

  15. Hey Steve,

    Amazing post! Talk about massive value..

    Had a question about the outsourcing. I was always concerned that hiring writers would mean that whatever I post would be too bland/unoriginal and therefore unable to really stand out. So how do you approach the hiring process exactly to make sure the content isn’t so bland that you’re practically rewriting the article before publishing?

    Also can outsourcing be used for massive value posts, or is it best saved for more general longtail keyword posts? Lastly, any word counts and per article prices that you recommend we try to adhere to?


    • Sayan — For now, I’m working with a writer to create long-tail posts that define specific concepts. Perhaps if I find the right person, I’ll have her do the more intensive post. In the 3rd or 4th part of this series, I’ll detail my “hiring a writer” process.

  16. Hey Steve,

    You really amaze me. You are the first one I found on the internet market that really shares great content. You are definitively one of my mentors. Thank you very much for inspiring and helping others!


  17. Hi Steve,

    Thank you very much for sharing your strategy, I’m on my 3rd attempt at an authority site now and I must admit that I am relieved to hear you are also not focussing on the whole ridiculous back-linking SEO game.

    I have to say that I love all the different phases you’ve detailed. I personally won’t be outsourcing because I write quickly and don’t want anyone else publishing a word on my site.

    I was just wondering with regards to keywords, do you plan to take on the big hitters with high competition levels later on down the line once you have an established authority site? Or do you intend never to play the artificial back link game again?

    • Chris — I do like the idea of writing articles for the search engines. But I’m NOT going to get into the whole backlinking debacle. My core linking strategy is to write good content and build up my network so I’m getting natural links.

      I’m not going to worry too much about the heavy hitters. I’d like to get a #1 ranking for certain keywords, but that’s not going to be my strategy. Building an Internet business now means you have to get traffic from a variety of sources. So it’s a smarter strategy to diversify…

  18. Hi Scott,
    I’ve been waiting to read this post since you told me about it some weeks ago via email and I’m happy its finally here.

    I love the challenge and will like to be a part of it since I’m also planning to build some sites too, although most will be Niche sites.

    I also love the personal development niche too because i don’t joke with books on that topic and might consider setting up a blog on that later as well.

    Thanks for sharing Steve, can’t wait to read the follow ups.

    BTW: I will be writing about your books on my blog today. Thanks for the pdf copies you set me, really learnt a lot.

  19. Stumbled on your site today and been here way too long! But I’ve gained clarity from spending some time here. Planning my online biz on paper has never been a strong point – it’s in my head but I lose focus and traction when I’m busy with my ‘bricks n mortar’ business. Already by following your plan I’ve filled in some gaps and rounded out my plan. I’ll be keen to follow your progress and model alongside, tweaking to suit my site!

    • Thanks Mel! Sorry for the delay in response… Been working hard on a bunch of things. I should have an update in the next week or so that will have more information to follow.

  20. Hi Steve…
    Ever since I discovered this site a while back I’ve spent a lot of time here reading the posts and articles you’ve written, not to mention all of the Kindle books you’ve put out too, so I do consider you to be an awesome mentor.
    I’m really looking forward to this case study project of yours. I have two questions though.
    First, will this be something that we, as followers of your case study, will be able to do along with you in our own chosen niches? In other words, will you be giving actionable steps for each thing you do so that we can also participate with our own businesses?
    Secondly, is everything you do going to be transparent? I’ve had a number of occasions where a “guru” (hate that word) has said, “do this, this and this in this order just like I’m doing and you’ll get the same type of results”. After following everything to the letter I haven’t gotten the same type of results, only to find out down the line that he/she has some “private” (secret) things that they do which they didn’t share because it was their personal trade secret, if you will, and that’s why the process worked for them but no one else! You seem like an “up front” kind of guy who is truly interested in helping others, and I don’t think you would do this sort of thing, but if you do have your own “secret sauce” I hope that you’ll at least say so and not lead everyone to assume things that aren’t true.

    • Sorry for the delay Sue. I’m going to include a lot of actionable steps and won’t keep anything “hidden” in some sort of special group. I’d like to have this be a learning experience where I take what I know and then pass it along. So…no private, member’s area or any of that nonsense.

  21. Hi Steve,

    It would be really nice to witness this case study. I myself am looking for a niche model to emulate. Hopefully, it will contains useful lessons for us.

  22. Writing cornerstone content and repurposing our content will act as a stimulator for the blog bringing in much traffic. All the points are practical and useful. Great post.

  23. Thanks for your post Steve,

    Regarding Kindle, do you find that the books that you created a month ago or two month ago on amazon still get sold on a daily basis? Do you do any marketing or you just put them up on amazon and that is it?

    What is the strategy that you are using to make your books sell after one month of putting them up on amazon?

    • Yes, I still have books that sell well, even after they’ve been up for many months. Right now, I don’t do any marketing besides an advertisement on this blog. With that said, I’m building a whole new brand in the children’s book market which requires me to find different ways to promote these eBooks. So I’ll probably post something in the future which talks about this experience.

  24. It is a great post about how to build an affiliate marketing online business but how feasible would it be in terms of cost. I mean, it does seem obvious that a lot of time needs to be invested but I am more concerned about the money part. Would it not be better if I used the online website builder that some web hosts offer. The advantage with them is both of time and money, considering I have what it takes to reach out to my niche.

    • It depends. I like having the ultimate creative control over how a website looks and acts. It is easier to have a hosting company build a website for you, but that basically puts your destiny in their control . It’s very hard to move platforms if you decide to make a change in the future.

  25. Hi Steve,
    I have just spent about an hour on your site … it happens every time I visit! The information you provide in your posts about this project you’re embarked on is just great! It all helps in my planning for an authority fitness site and I’ve found that the down to earth practicality and sincerity you project helps me find my voice in my own posts.


  26. Hi Steve,

    I’m a newbie to your site. Just dropping in to give my feedback. First, I really want to thank you for the straight-forward advice you give. You make it clear that these things are what worked for you – not one size fits all results. While I am a believer in the universe & its generosity; and a believer in the Law of Attraction, I make it clear to my readers that thoughts can’t make physical changes. Action needs to take place, or else it’s all rubbish. My niche is on the fence between personal development & education. The target reader is a young adult who isn’t sure what to do with his/her life after high school. I share opportunities that many teens don’t know about or understand very well. Also step-by-step guidance through things like finding GED help, internship searches, freelancing and more.

    It’s my goal to become an authority niche site and eventually branch into speaking in high schools and community centers to at-risk youth, most of whom are ignorant to so many experiences the world has to offer.

    Short term monetization includes AdSense (temporary), ebooks and affiliate marketing. My dream goal is to eventually run a completely ad-free online resource for young dropouts, students and graduates. At that point, I hope to have built enough clout to be able to sell branded merchandise on an ecommerce site.

    Big plans. But I’m working daily to execute tasks that draw me nearer to the goals I’ve set for For now I’m focusing on the best content I can possibly deliver. Like yourself, only after building a quality knowledgebase do I plan to start the serious traffic building.

    While I’m working on content, I’m also seeking a graphic designer to help with logo creation. I’ll need a new look sooner or later also. The blog is currently running a free theme. I know I should be doing it now. But after the blog gets a new look, then I’ll start email list building.


    Just wanted to share where I am now so that I can keep along with you on your authority niche site journey. Looking forward to learning a lot from you..and maybe sharing something valuable with you as well 🙂


    • Hey Nikki — Sorry for the delay. Sounds like you have an excellent plan in place. I like your focus on a specific market with a specific audience. The fact that you have passion for it will definitely help.

      Well, I hope this series I’m putting together will assist your journey along the way.

    • Nikki, I love your idea, but there is nothing to see when I go to! 🙁 Can you give us an update on where you are with this great idea? I would love to spread the word when you are ready…

  27. Hi Steve,

    Great post and I am certainly looking forward to all latest developments. My wife and I (just retired) would like to launch soon an authority site on “Alternative Medicine” (a tricky subject given the mega-pharma industry + sleepy/”never-think-out-of-the-box” groups of MD’s + FDA). So we will be careful not to cross the borderline, unless we wish to get shot immediately).

    May be a word of advice (I finished my career as a global IT project manager). I use to monitor projects through simple, non-bureaucratic dashboards. Steps I took were:
    1. identify the 5/6 main components (you already did so)
    2. identify 4/5 main and measurable deliverables in each component (cost and timeline comes to mind immediately)
    3. my time spent was one of the key items I use to track
    4 above 3 were simply included in an Excel spreadsheet
    5. once a week, all were reviewed for completion or money spent
    6. I used to have a recap pie chart flagging late/overspent items for corrective actions

    Good luck in your major endeavor,

    • I *think* I do something similar to what you just described. But overall, excellent suggestions!! Basically I’ll figure out a few “actions” I’d like people to take and use metrics to track the achievement of this goal. Think that’s the same, right?

  28. Steve, your “Authority Internet Business” idea is very intriguing, as in the 2013 era internet landscape authority-type sites are some that have done better than many others in surviving the ravages wreaked by those who think they are the kings of the internet and search (I’m sure you know who that is).

    For almost 2 years I have read many of your postings and followed your journey, and your encouragement and inspiration are a positive contribution.

    As you and some of the readers have mentioned, while it could be nice to focus on one main site or income method, if at all possible, the more total sites and also contributors to income the better, if they can realistically fit with our site(s).

    And I still hope to follow your advice about kindle e-books too.

    • haha…excellent. I do love a lot of stuff about personal development. But the woo-woo stuff just doesn’t work for me. I prefer actionable, “here’s what you should do” type of information. I guess that’s why we’re both fans of Spencer’s site 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by Buddy. Feel free to drop me a line if you need help with anything.

  29. Hey Steve, I recently started my authority site about a month ago and I am glad that I found your site as a great resource. I will definitely follow along and I am sure I will learn a lot from you.

    Keep up the great work!

    • Sibo — glad to hear this case study helps with your authority site. Hopefully, I’ll be adding a lot more content in the next few months that can help you out. Talk soon — Steve.

  30. Steve – I’ve recently bought a few of your ebooks on internet businesses and find them an easy and informative read. I have now embarked on my first project to build a niche site etc so I can learn the tricks of the trade . I especially like your authority website project – best of luck with it and I look forward to seeing the journey.


  31. Steve,

    I really have been enjoying your content. I first heard you interviewed on Pay Flynn’s podcast, and have since been looking through your site and have gotten a couple of your ebooks. I just finished the “Write Your Ebook in 21 Days” and it was very inspiring… really took away great stuff about establishing that daily writing routine using the Pomodoro technique (which I had never heard of.)

    I really think ebooks, like other online media such as webinars, are gateways to get great clients for your business. Thanks to your advice and success story, I’m going to try my hand at using Kindle ebooks to help bolster my new online business platform at Thanks for the great advice!

    • Hey Mike — Thanks for stopping by and checking out the podcast. You’re right … eBooks can be yet another entry point into your overall brand.

      Do me a favor… when you complete your first book, please email me directly (stevescottsite[at]gmail[dot]com), because I’d love to see what you put together.

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