What is Your Business Model – Authority Site, Niche Sites or Something Else?

A few of you know that I participate in 30 Day Challenge.  The idea in brief is to set up semi-authority niche site (what does it mean ;) ?) and compare the achievements with others on 1st November.

The idea is great, but during short “investigation” what niche I should choose and which keywords should I pick out,  the basic question appeared: “what kind of site should I create; the authority site or niche site?”

The answer on that question is very important: I don’t have a lot of time to play around with another thin niche site. On the other hand – authority site needs even more effort…

Business Model


First part of this year clearly show us that we have to really think about our business model – Google Penguin overturned SERPs, Amazon closed down some affiliate programs and turned off some accounts. What’s more – there was a lot of bans in the most lucrative program for niche sites – Google AdSense. And nobody knows why…

Blogosphere was boiling with anger and site owners were shuddering with fear. Do you remember that? Did you lost some traffic or maybe your AdSense account was also banned?

Okay, no more complaints and hassles – lets go to some news and facts.

Last week there was a debate on AdSense Flippers between Steve Scott and Mike Thomas about pros and cons of niche and authority sites. Both of them have their own arguments for and against, but I have the impression that nobody wins this debate…


In this post I want to share with you my point of view about niche and authority sites and my business model. At the end I will ask you about your opinion and your preferences – niche or authority sites?


Niche Sites


  • easy to set up
  • low money investment
  • low time investment
  • if you have experience it’s almost automatic for you to earn money from it
  • you can outsource the whole process
  • faster ROI (Return on Investment) –first earnings appear after 1-2 months



  • in most cases only one source of traffic: Google (you can lost it in minutes)
  • in most cases only one source of making money (you can lost it in minutes)
  • probably lower ROI


Authority Site




  • long-term ROI (real money appear after 1-2 years)
  • you can’t outsource a lot of tasks related with your authority site
  • huge amount of time is needed to establish your authority, social proof and brand

You may be interested in reading: Online Passive Income – 5 Money Making Ideas for Bloggers

Okay, and how about my business model?

As you know (if you don’t know it, please read section about), I have some websites on Polish market – few dozen niche sites (mostly in financial market) and one vortal (also on financial market). It works very well for me at this moment, but unfortunately a lot of traffic comes from Google. And big brother G. may change some rules in the future and … (uncensored words appeared)

On English market NPI (NoPassiveIncome.com) is my first, hopefully not last website. And I plan to make some things different than I did on Polish market.

That means:

I want to create at least two authority sites (including NPI) and around them having about 5-10 related niche sites.

Authority and niche sites


I want to diversify income sources as well as traffic sources also for niche sites.

 Traffic to niche sites


Traffic for my niche site will come from:

  • SEO (organic traffic)
  • Mailing list (from my authority site and from separate lists)
  • Social Media (Twitter, Facebook, other if appropriate)
  • CPC Ads (Google AdWords, Facebook Ads)
  • Authority site (posts)


The same will be with income– below you can see main sources of income for my future niche sites

 income from niche sites


Each niche site will earn money on:

  • 2—5 related affiliates programs
  • My own e-product (probably ebooks or training programs)
  • Ads in CPC model (Google AdSense or something similar)
  • Ads in CPM model (only for niche sites with more than 10k page views per month)


I know that this model is very time-consuming and may take about one or even two years to see a results. But it should work. I hope…


And what do you think about it? Please share your business models or all of your opinions about niche, authority sites or my business model in comments below.

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35 Responses to “What is Your Business Model – Authority Site, Niche Sites or Something Else?”

  1. October 1, 2013 at 10:07 pm #

    My aim has always been to become an authority in my niche. Make sure that people who are interested in your niche come to you first.
    Apollo recommend you to read:What’s the best time to trade?My Profile

  2. October 1, 2013 at 2:39 pm #

    Pretty good ideas here. I am also planning something similar where currently I am developing an authority site and will have a couple of niche sites that will focus around it. I haven’t tried this method yet, but will see how it works out. Good luck to you.
    Denis D. recommend you to read:My September 2013 Income ReportMy Profile

  3. August 2, 2012 at 9:58 pm #

    Hi Chris,

    I have found that it all depends on what you hope to accomplish with the site.

    If you are after name recognition an expert status, authority site is where to go.

    If all you seek is money and you do not care fore the respect and recognition, you are safe with niche sites.

    Most authority site owners have niche sites by the way. They make money from those small niches but do not care to come out of the closet and be identified with the sites. ;)
    Yeremi Akpan recommend you to read:How to Write Blog Posts That Gets Shared EverywhereMy Profile

    • August 17, 2012 at 1:54 pm #

      Hi Yeremi,
      thanks for stopping by. I agree with you that most site owners which make money online have both affiliate and niche sites. In some cases great niche site transform into authority site.
      Chris Madej recommend you to read:Guest Blogging Tips – Step by Step Guide for Every BloggerMy Profile

    • September 4, 2012 at 1:48 am #

      I only build authority sites now and sites that support those authority sites. In the business model that I use, my authority sites are like niche sites anyway. The only difference between authority sites and niche sites in my opinion is the quality of the site itself and what the intentions of the site owner are. If your intention is to build a site that truly benefits the visitor and is intended to be the best possible help you can offer that visitor, then you ahve an authority site.
      Ted recommend you to read:What Really Matters When Trying To Build A Successful WebsiteMy Profile

  4. August 2, 2012 at 4:24 am #

    Hi Chris, thanks for sharing this great article. Niche sites brings passive income, but may end up at times, while authority sites needs regular updates but will always keep on bring revenue. That’s my view :).

  5. July 24, 2012 at 3:55 pm #

    Hi Chris, This is indeed an interesting topic for discussion. Niche vs. Authority –

    I think you are going down the right path as I think an ‘authority’ sight has the best chance for survival for the long term.

    Google slamming niche adsense sites kind of shows that they are frowning on those type of sites. I am glad that I did not go the route of creating hundreds of them. That was the popular advice a few years ago.
    david recommend you to read:Getting More Traffic To Your Website – Paid, Not FreeMy Profile

    • July 24, 2012 at 7:21 pm #

      Hi Dave, thanks for stopping by. I think that mix of it should work best – long term profits mixed with short term profits and low risk mixed with high risk ;)

  6. Chadrack
    July 20, 2012 at 6:35 pm #

    Hi Chris,

    This is really an indept analysis of authority sites and niche sites. For me having a miss is a wise idea. As you rightly pointed out both have their own cons and pros. I’ve a few niches presently only thing is that they are not related and therefore not linked. But I’ve been thinking along the line of making my main blog a central hub and building some mini niche sites around it.

    About fearing Google doing some thing in the future that will affect your niche sites, I think there should not such fears. If you have followed Google’s algorithm updates over the years, you will discover that they have been saying the same thing only that a few want to go overboard with their SEO tactics. So, building your niche sites on the right SEO foundation from the start will beat any form of Google algorithm change.

    Thanks for the post.
    Chadrack recommend you to read:Top 3 Reasons Why Content Marketing Will Fail You!My Profile

    • July 22, 2012 at 7:48 pm #

      Hi Chadrack, thanks for your support. I like having only sites (both authority and niche) in topic which is interesting for me and I’m familiar with it ;)
      About Google – of course you are right, if you think about SEO. But you also must consider G. Adsense – they can block your account in a minute…
      BR, Chris

  7. July 19, 2012 at 5:32 am #

    I’m glad you enjoyed the debate over at the Adsense Flippers. I think that both Authority sites and Niche sites have the ability to make us a lot of money. Both have their pros and cons, but that doesn’t mean that either one of them should be ignored.
    Thanks for the link love.

    • July 19, 2012 at 5:10 pm #

      Hi Mike, thanks for your comment. I also think that mix of authority site and niche sites should be the best solution ;)

  8. July 18, 2012 at 11:22 am #

    Authority site for me. I feel it has lots of possibilities to earn an income. This is what matters right :-)
    Computer Blog recommend you to read:What to Look for In Antivirus SoftwareMy Profile

  9. Danyelle Franciosa
    July 18, 2012 at 12:02 am #

    Thanks for the information about the pros and cons in Niche Sites. I never know some of this information and thanks a lot for sharing this, this is very applicable for me personally.
    Danyelle Franciosa recommend you to read:nice readMy Profile

  10. July 17, 2012 at 6:13 am #

    Nice post. I find myself focusing on authority sites versus niche sites (even though I’ve done both). I suppose I like hedging my bets more than being laser-focused!
    Tom Treanor recommend you to read:How to Measure Social Media ROI (Infographic)My Profile

    • July 17, 2012 at 7:25 am #

      Hi Tom, thanks for stopping by. I want to be “laser-focused” (I like this term !), but unfortunatelly I couldn’t… Maybe in future…

  11. July 16, 2012 at 6:37 pm #

    Hi Chris,

    In my opinion the Authority site is more easy to set up and has a lot of possibilities to make money from.

    I have already created two niche sites for now, but as I’m focusing on my Authority site, I don’t get time to work on niche sites. Can you tell me how will you manage your time working on those sites?
    Ehsan recommend you to read:The World Needs More BloggersMy Profile

    • July 17, 2012 at 7:20 am #

      Hi Ehsan, thanks for your comment. I started building niche sites in 2008. At this moment I only look on statistics and some other metrics and if something looks wrong I try to improve it. What’s more, there is also one person (except me) who cares about content for my existing niche sites and vortal. That’s the secret ;)

  12. July 16, 2012 at 6:28 pm #

    I’ve learned a lot from Steve myself Chris and although people love the ease and quickness that niche sites can bring, your best bet for long-term success is with authority sites.

    I honestly believe it would be in the individuals best interest because not everyone enjoys doing the same type of work. What I mean by that is some people love creating niche sites over authority sites.

    I actually have both but I started with the niche sites first so they were already up and running before I created my authority site. They are still making me money so no harm came to those with Google’s updates.

    Great post and I can see where there could be a major debate about this but like you said, no one really won because people just have differences of opinions on this subject.

    Adrienne recommend you to read:What Facebook Can Teach Us about Rapidly Growing Your BlogMy Profile

    • July 17, 2012 at 7:07 am #

      Hi Adrienne, thanks for stopping by. I also like Steve’s blog, and I agree with most of his tips. But in some cases I don’t agree with him (for example about initial investment). In my opinion time needed for creating authority site should be also “counted”, because it’s the most important investment.

  13. Austin
    July 16, 2012 at 8:24 pm #

    Over at Kings of Azon we do a little bit of both… niche and authority. We’ve seen success from both. Right now we’re focusing on a few authority sites which take much more time to maintain and grow as well as a much larger number of smaller niche sites that once ranked we don’t typically add much more content.

    We feel that both have their place going forward and it’s best to do a little of each. A great way to figure out which site(s) are yours should go from niche to authority is look at your highest earning sites. Really dig into them and figure out if there is an opportunity to go from a niche site generating the income you’re seeing now to a much more authoritative site with some extra work. Hopefully you’ll be rewarded with that effort.

    Here’s to your $uccess!

    Austin recommend you to read:111 Motivational Entrepreneurial QuotesMy Profile

    • July 17, 2012 at 7:22 am #

      Hi Austin,
      thanks for your comment. I like your idea – trying a niche site and if it will earn money for us, building an authority site.

  14. July 16, 2012 at 1:18 pm #

    Hi Chris….

    I like your bisuness model…..and you don’t believe that even i am also having similar business model….

    using my blog I am trying to get my targetted audience and then I’ll create my other blog/service website around my main blog.

    I have already spent 10 months on it and i think I need one more year to make my blog as a brand.

    hoping for the best…….

    Thanks bro for sharing your business model with all of us…. usually people love to hide their business plan…..
    Bravo work Chris….
    Sandeep kumar recommend you to read:I know how to stop spam comments count without using wordpress pluginMy Profile

    • July 16, 2012 at 6:05 pm #

      Hi Sandeep – a lot of people change their business model after G. Penguin. And I think a lot of them (including you and me) has similar business model – authority site + some satellite sites.
      I also have some secret weapons in my business plan, but I’ll reveal them in the future ;)
      And thanks for your comment!

      • July 17, 2012 at 7:03 am #

        You are right Chris…. that people have changed their Business model after big G changes…..but its a nature of business…..we have to change our plan according to market situations.

  15. July 16, 2012 at 12:05 pm #

    Nice post. I think an authrity site is the best because it is less risky. Just one algorithm update from Google can wipe out all your traffic if you just optimise for 1 keyword. I think it is best to go for an authority site because of this but it will take longer to get your ROI.
    Andy recommend you to read:Forbes – 5 Ways To Get Rich OnlineMy Profile

    • July 16, 2012 at 6:00 pm #

      Hi Andy, I also think that authority site is less risky. Thanks for stopping by!

  16. Christine Brady
    July 16, 2012 at 1:36 pm #

    Hi Chris,

    Interesting ideas –

    Niche sites are definitely easier, but as you said, they are one update away from having to start all over again.

    At this point, I would do the authority site. As the projection for long term is so much more profitable.

    Like you, I’ve been there, done that with the niche sites. Much more potential in authority sites :)

    Great business model, by the way.

    Christine Brady recommend you to read:What Makes the Best Email Subject Lines (Plus Examples)My Profile

    • July 16, 2012 at 6:08 pm #

      Hi Christine, thanks for your support. As you wrote, authority site is long term profit (and action). And sometimes we need money immediately. So we must mix it ;)

  17. Shayna
    July 16, 2012 at 10:22 am #

    Definitely authority site, because I’m in this for the long haul! Also I have no patience for the intensive SEO needed to get a niche site to #1 in Google (and then constantly worrying about losing that spot). I figure if I provide solid, linkable, keyword rich content on my authority site, I could eventually rise to high Google rankings naturally.

    Interesting idea about the smaller niche sites pointing to the authority site… I may put that into practice!
    Shayna recommend you to read:Idiomatic Expressions from SportsMy Profile

  18. July 16, 2012 at 7:22 am #

    Hi Chris!

    Semi-authority is something between an authority and a micro niche site. A site that can pretty much run on auto pilot, but still has a lot of content that gets regularly updated.

    A site like your NoPassiveIncome probably takes all your time and is an authority site.

    I like your ideas about building large authority sites. I am interested to see how things turn out.

    Kris recommend you to read:How To Use Social Networks To Get Traffic For Niche Sites – 30 Day Challenge Day 11My Profile

    • July 16, 2012 at 9:47 am #

      Hi Kris, thanks for straighten out this :)
      Fortunately NPI doesn’t take a lot of time at the moment but it surely takes more than niche site…

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