How To Build An Authority Blog From Scratch

Written by Matt Wolfe

Have you ever wanted to start over?

Every several years I get the urge to reinvent myself and my business online.

I’ve dabbled in several industries, ranging from blogging to fitness to personal finance to lawn care… Yes. I had an authority blog about lawn care.

There’s always something sexy about starting something new and building it from the ground up.

With almost every other business that I’ve created so far, I’ve put a considerable emphasis on driving traffic through advertising and social media marketing.

This time around, I’m excited to dive into the SEO world. I will still use a little bit of paid traffic here and there and, of course, I will encourage social sharing but, the primary goal of this new blog is to make the search engines love me.

I know this post is somewhat “meta” since I’ll be creating an article about how I’m creating the blog that you’re currently reading. However, it should make for an entertaining and educational read for anyone who wants to follow along with my process.

A quick note: I intend to make this an evergreen, ever-evolving blog post… As I test things with this blog and as I add new plugins, I will update this post with what I’m doing. Bookmark this post and check back because, as this blog grows, this post will evolve to show what I’ve been doing.

The Beginnings Of An Authority Blog

I knew that I wanted to build a new authority blog that is not branded with my personal name. I’ve got MattWolfe.net, where I share my income reports and personal journey, but I wanted to create something that can become more of a brand. This will be a site where I personally only write a fraction of the articles.

This will be a site where articles are added much more frequently than my personal blog because I am aiming to gain search engine traffic quickly.

I struggled and struggled with what the brand would be called. I went on a domain name buying spree and, after a few days, didn’t like any of the domains that I had purchased.

A few days later, it came to me…

I have an insanely in-depth course on the topic of Content Marketing called “The Content Business Machine.” In this course, I teach the concept of “Authority Multipliers”… It’s a term that I created, and I use frequently, but I’ve never heard anyone else use…

So I thought to myself… That’s the new brand!

I immediately went and registered the following domain names:

Multiply Authority - Namecheap

This came to me in the middle of the night… I popped out of bed at 2 am to register the domains.

I had no idea which domain name I was going to use when I registered them either… I just wanted to own the term.

The term authority means “An accepted source of information.” (source)

The term multiplier means “Something that increases an effect.” (source)

Therefore, an “Authority Multiplier” is something that increases the effect of you as an authority (an accepted source of information).

Out of the domain names that I purchased, “MultiplyAuthority.com” seemed to have the best ring to it, seeing as this site will teach others (and act as an example) of how to multiply your authority.

The Setup

Now that I had the domain name, it was time to link it to a hosting account and install WordPress.

As of right now, I’m hosting this site on Liquid Web. However, I’ve heard good things about WP Engine, and I’m considering moving to them for a more “managed solution”… I’m also a fan of Bluehost for shared hosting.

If you’re following along, and you’re setting up a blog for the first time, I highly recommend just starting with Bluehost and getting your domain and hosting all in one simple step.

Once I installed WordPress, I had a site that looked like this:

Authority Blog - Basic WordPress

Beautiful huh?

I’m a fan of a premium theme called Voice, which is available on the Envato Marketplace for $59. All of my blogs use this theme because I’m just so used to working with it.

Voice Theme - Envato

After installing the Theme and tweaking a few of the settings, I had a much more amazing looking blog…

It looked like this now:

2015-10-16_15-26-10

As I’m typing this blog post, this is actually what it currently looks like. Of course, once this post is complete, it will look much better.

The next thing I wanted to do was install some plugins…

I have a handful of WordPress plugins that I install on every website I create.

Here’s a screenshot…

Recommended WordPress Plugins

The plugins that I highlighted in yellow are the plugins that came with the Voice theme. They include:

  • Contact Form 7 – A simple plugin to add a contact form to your blog. As of this article, I haven’t configured it yet.
  • Entry Views – This plugin counts how many times a post has been viewed. This can act as social proof later on to show how popular your blog is, even if you’re not getting a lot of comments.
  • Force Regenerate Thumbnails – To be honest, I don’t entirely know what this does, but the theme requires it. I think, when you upload an image into WordPress, it automatically resizes them to optimal sizes…
  • Meks Easy Ads Widget – A sidebar widget for banner ads… I don’t have this configured yet.
  • Meks Flexible Shortcodes – This adds addition shortcode functionality to your site to make things like columns and buttons in posts easier.
  • Meks Smart Author Widget – This will show the author of a post over in the right sidebar.
  • Meks Smart Social Widget – This is the social media icons that you see at the top of the right sidebar.

The plugins that I highlighted in green are the essential plugins that I think every authority blog should have. They are:

  • Akismet – This is the anti-spam plugin that helps keep the crap out of the comments.
  • ThirstyAffiliates – This helps me quickly create affiliate link redirects and has a little bit of tracking capability.
  • Thrive Leads – This creates the small opt-in forms that slide-in or pop-up. This is the best lead generation plugin I’ve found for a blog (I’ve tried them all).
  • Yoast SEO – This plugin will help your blog rank in the search engines right out of the box. It helps with making search-friendly URLs as well as analyzes your blog posts so that you can make them more search friendly.

Update October 20, 2015:

I added an additional plugin that seems to be making a big difference…

The little bar that you see on the left side of the blog with all the social icons, that’s a plugin called “SumoMe“. It’s a free plugin and, as you can see, it appears to be helping me get a lot of shares on this post.

SumoMe - Social Sharing - Authority Blog

So that’s the setup. I may add a couple other plugins over time, but I’ve got all the essential plugins dialed in.

Advanced Techy Setup

Now that I’ve got my site set up, I need to install some tracking codes…

To start, I installed Google Analytics tracking code. The Voice theme has a place where you can quickly install tracking code.

Within Google Analytics, I also turned on “Remarketing”… This will allow me to retarget anyone that comes to this website with ads in Google.

Finally, I installed the custom audience tracking code from Facebook on the blog as well. This will allow me to display ads on Facebook to anyone who has visited this website.

I haven’t made step-by-step tutorials on these processes yet, but I will add in videos that explain how to do these things in time. (Remember this blog post will be an ever-evolving post)

The Brand

I don’t know how this is going to turn out yet, but I’m getting a logo made…

In the past, I’ve always worked with an in-house designer that I love working with and that I trust…

However, this time around, I opted to see what sort of logo I could get on Fiverr.com.

I didn’t spend $5. I found someone that had great reviews and an impressive portfolio, and I opted to pay for his “VIP Service,” which gets me faster turnaround, all the source files, and multiple variations… I’m hoping that I’ll get something that I like from it.

The instructions that I gave him were very vague, to be honest, but I did tell him that I wanted an icon or an image that could standalone, without the text, and still represent my brand…

The reason that I asked for an image that could stand alone is that, quite frankly, I want to be able to show off my brand in the form of shirts, hats, stickers, etc…

Here’s the actual vendor I purchased from:

Fiverr - Logo

And here’s the receipt for what I paid:

Fiverr - Logo Receipt

I know some people will say “you get what you pay for” but, to be honest, it’s not much cheaper than what I would have paid my in-house designer, all said and done. So we’ll see how it goes.

If I have a killer logo for this blog, you’ll know exactly where it came from.

Update October 20, 2015:

I received two variations of a logo from my guy on Fiverr…

Multiply Authority Logo

As you can probably tell from the logo that’s currently at the top of the blog, I opted for the logo on the top…

I could have had some revisions made but, to be honest, I’m pretty happy with the logo. I didn’t know what a logo for “Multiply Authority” would look like and I really didn’t have a clear vision for what I wanted.

The fact that it kind of looks like there are an “M” and an “A” worked into the logo looks cool and I like the idea that I can use the logo without the text as a brand as well.

Not bad for really giving the designer no real direction.

Monetization

A question that keeps popping up is, “how are you going to make money with that blog?”

I have multiple methods that I intend to generate revenue from this very blog.

First, my flagship program, The Content Business Machine will be promoted from this blog… You may have even seen little pop-ups to register for one of my webinars already…

2015-10-18_17-26-16

That is my main program and really the only product I intend to promote for a little while.

I also plan to infuse affiliate links throughout my posts.

I only talk about products that I use myself and I fully intend to use affiliate links when I do.

Expect product reviews, product comparisons, product tutorials, and more… These will all generate affiliate income for me.

Finally, my third income-generation strategy is investing… I am using this site as a way to attract people to me that are looking for investors in their SAAS or physical products. I intend to move heavily into advising, investing, and helping companies grow their reach through my marketing expertise.

That’s the monetization approach… And you will be fully kept in the loop through regular reporting of progress in monthly income reports.

Update November 23rd, 2015

A friend of mine recently recommend that I test some advertising banners on the site. Personally, I’m not a fan of the banners. I think they clutter up the site a little bit. However, design is not everything. My ability to monetize the site is equally as (if not more) important than the design.

So I’m doing a trial with Google Adsense to see how it all works out. For now, I’ve placed a banner ad in the header and another ad in the sidebar. I have no clue what kind of click rate they will get but I’m willing to test for 30 days or so and see what kind of result I get. If the income off the ads is not pretty significant, I’ll be removing them in 30 days time.

Results will be share in my next income report.

Brining In The Writers

In order to build a true authority blog, I need to bring in writers. I’m not an expert in every single topic that I’d want this blog to discuss.

In order to have a high frequency of high-value content on this site, I’m bringing in the best writers I can find to kickstart the content.

I’ll be accepting guest posts as well, if someone wants some massive exposure back to their blog.

To start, however, I need to find some writers…

So I posted the following job ad on jobs.problogger.net:

Problogger Job Post - Authority Blog

Within 48 hours of posting this job, my inbox was flooded with people responding, wanting to write for Multiply Authority…

I created a separate inbox just for this job posting because I sort of anticipated a lot of emails…

Lots of emails

I went through most of the emails but have only managed to reply to maybe 10 of them… (Can we say overwhelm?)

I found a few amazing writers already and have hired 4 to start writing…

As of October 25th, 2015, we have our first article on this site that’s not written by me!

Check out the first article here: The Definitive Guide To A/B Testing.

Over the coming weeks, I will continue to filter through all of the emails and reply to writers that I feel are a good fit.

However, I believe that this site will be considered an authority site pretty dang quickly, meaning that I’ll have more and more people that are willing to write for free, due to the credibility the site brings.

What’s Next?

As I mentioned a few times above, this blog post will continue to evolve… Consider this page a resource that you can check back to often as I will update it as I add to this website.

These blog posts will be going out to by subscriber base of 55,000+ subscribers and, the really good ones, will get some paid ad traffic to jumpstart the traffic and sharing. So reach out if you have something to offer and would like the exposure.

I also intend to experiment with, and review, the various SEO and blogger outreach tools that are available out there.

Two tools that I am incredibly excited to test are ahrefs and ContentMarketer.io. There’s also a tool called BuzzStream that looks similar to ContentMarketer so I intend to do a side-by-side comparison as well.

Expect a lot of action from this site. Explanations of processes, cool tools, product reviews, tutorials, and much much more. It’s all on the way.

What I’d Like From You…

Please leave a comment below. Here’s what I’d love to hear from you about…

  1. If you’re interested in writing for this site, let me know what you’d like to teach.
  2. If you read this post and were confused by any steps I took, point it out and ask me so I can update the post.
  3. If there’s a tool you’d like me to review or a process that you’d like me to teach, let me know. I will either create the resource or I will find an expert to help me create it.

Looking forward to hearing from you!

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About the author

Matt Wolfe

Matt Wolfe is a father, husband, author, advisor, angel investor and a bit of a hacker. He is the founder of MultiplyAuthority.com.

34 Comments

  • Hi Matt. Thanks so much for putting this together for us. For me it is much easier to learn by watching an example being created in this manner. Not only can I read the content, but I can see the application. I like the social media symbols and the different layouts. Why do you have them placed where they are?

    Also, for the optin box, why are the designers making the “name” and “email” text so annoyingly light? Is it trendy or what? They get on my nerves!!

    Again, thanks for this, especially since I am about to begin the process.

    • Hey Walt,

      Thanks for your comment!

      The social media box in the top right and at the bottom of the post are standard for this particular theme. I don’t think they get much action. The bar on the left side is a plugin I just installed called SumoMe, which I’ll talk about more on this blog shortly. It follows the reader down the page and seems to work pretty well for getting shares.

      Not sure why the standard name and email are so light… I guess it’s just the style. But I’m a tester… So I’ll keep experimenting to see what works. 🙂

      Thanks again for stopping by!

  • Hi Matt,

    I know that feeling quite well, when we want to do something different…fresh new…

    I like the way you are introducing this new blog platform because it comes from a place where we all start when we want to “grow”

    You have taken us step by step through your process from your idea (and getting up at 2 a.m. lol happens so many times doesn’t it?) to a well thought out blog.

    I like the way you have constructed this because watching people take an idea and putting it into action is the best way to learn. I’m sure my peeps are going to love this!

    I’ve built an authority blog over the last several years that is the spring board to my online business. From it, I’ve developed a blogging course, several WSO’s, a membership site and various coaching programs.

    It all started with my blog… nothing else!

    I don’t even use hardly any paid ads, all native ads within my posts.

    BTW, I’d love to do a guest post for you one day… just shout out.

    Thanks, Matt, for the “ground-up basics” post here, and I’ll certainly be sharing with my crowd.

    Good luck with this!
    -Donna

    • Thanks Donna!

      I appreciate your comments. I’m really excited to feel like I have a fresh start. An authority blog can be a “game changer” for a business. I want to create a new business that starts with the authority blog.

      I’d love to have a post from you on this new blog. This first post (and entire blog) is only a couple days old and already had 90 shares, 200 visitors, and a few people that have found it on Google… All without mailing my list or paying for traffic… It’s off to a good start.

      Big things are in store if you want to get a guest post in on the ground floor. 🙂

      • Hey Matt,

        A fresh start is a great feeling! An authority blog can benefit you in so many ways it’s crazy. If you want me to guest post let me know. I PM’d you on Facebook.

        -Donna

      • Hi Matt,

        This looks really interesting and something I will be keeping a close eye on.

        I’m actually intending to do something similar with my blog and I’ve had this idea of creating evergreen posts that overtime evolve into resources.

        Excited to see what’s next – Now off to read Nikki’s post!

        Raj Sidhu

  • Matt,

    What a great post for newbies out there trying to monetize their blog.

    I think for me, since I’m a small guppy blogger in a sea of shark bloggers, I’m focusing on my core audience and am working to build my list. I have a highly targeted niche lead magnet (free eCourse) and it’s really effective.

    And I’m in the midst of designing a course that’s more comprehensive than my free eCourse. It’s exciting and I’m learning a lot from your success as well as others.

    BTW, I really like the logo. The colors are great too. I’ve never hired a person to do my logos, I just fiddle with them myself. I like the creative aspect of that when designing my brand identity for my blogs!

    Looking forward to how this site turns out!

    • Thanks for commenting Elna!

      I’m glad you like the logo. I’d typically tinker with the logo myself but I wanted to go a route that would be easier for others to emulate so I tested Fiverr and I’m surprisingly happy with the result. 🙂

      I know you’ve got an article you’re working on for the site as well. I can’t wait to read it!

      • Loving my topic btw! I’m drumming up something behind the scenes, but won’t know if it pans out until closer to when I submit the post.

        Thanks again for this exciting opportunity!

  • Hey Matt,
    I actually came across this site because I saw that ad you put on problogger.net I think this would be fun to work on. There is another site you should check out. It is really well put together and the owner loves using Thrive products too. Authorityhacker.com I consider it the “Backlinko” of Authority site building niche. I will send you an email, lets chat.

    • Hey Dustin,

      Thanks for commenting. Posting job listings on Problogger is actually a great way to get some initial exposure to a site. Potential writers all jump over to check it out, giving it a little spike in traffic, jumpstarting some of the social sharing. 🙂 It’s obviously not a sustainable traffic source but it helps get things moving.

      I’m a fan of both AuthorityHacker and Backlinko. Both great sites.

  • Hi Matt,

    I have been following you since the early days of Learn To Blog and am a lifetime member. Your teaching methods are fantastic and get better with each project you do. I love the visual AND text you are incorporating.

    Now, to see this project of yours evolve is exciting. Your color theme is eunique and I do like the logo you picked out.

    I want to say thank you for getting out of bed that early morning at 2:00 a.m. because I believe this Authority blog will be a “game changer” for sure.

    Thank you, I look forward to what’s next.
    Jam Vedrode

    • Thanks Jan! I really appreciate the kind words and it’s comments like this that make me want to continue to share things like this. 🙂

      I really appreciate you!

  • Thanks for sharing this project with us, Matt. I like to see the “behind the scenes” activities and am able to understand it as presented.

    I would love to write about photography topics, if you think there would be a good application for your blog.

    jdp

    • This post is going to evolve too. So you’ll get more and more behind the scenes over time.

      I love the topic of photography. I think it could fit into the theme of the site. This site is about building a brand and building authority. People need good photos of themselves for their sites and social profiles… I think a good tutorial on taking professional look self-portraits would really be an awesome topic!

  • Putting on my “travels” hat, I’d love to write about travel topics and drive traffic to my website/blog. I’ve monetized it, but clearly need to make it more lively. Would this be a good fit with your project?

    jdp

  • Hey Matt, great start man and nice first article too on the new blog.

    I’m only wondering if you are going to be showcasing the current article’s author in your sidebar?

    I was not expecting to see another person there so it threw me a little off in the beginning but I think it’s actually a cool idea to have!

    Anyway, I’ll be checking your project and see how it develops with time — I think you are doing a terrific job already.

    Congrats on the new site and good luck!

    Sergio Felix

    • Thanks Sergio!

      With the sidebar bio, I’ll be doing testing… I always test. 🙂

      I thought that putting the writer’s bio right in the sidebar would be an extra incentive to want to write for the blog. We’ll see how it goes.

  • Hi, Matt,

    I’m on your list and will enjoy seeing how your marketing/SEO experiment works out.

    I believe it will do extremely well. My blog gets the majority of its traffic thru Google and I don’t do any paid advertising.

    I’ll keep reading and watching!
    Sue

    • Thanks Sue!

      That’s the goal with this blog… I want most of the traffic to come from SEO and social sharing. I’ll be testing all sorts of traffic sources but, the end goal is to get the majority of the traffic coming from organic (free) traffic sources.

  • Hey Matt great idea would love to do this with our brand new blog!!!!! Also in regards to what you wrote,
    “These blog posts will be going out to by subscriber base of 55,000+ subscribers and, the really good ones, will get some paid ad traffic to jumpstart the traffic and sharing. So reach out if you have something to offer and would like the exposure.”
    We would love to share our blog if you think it’s appropriate. Thanks! 🙂

    • Hey Emilia,

      If you’d like to contribute content about building a brand or building authority online and it fits into the theme of the site, we can definitely make it fit. It must be very high quality and be relevant to the main theme of the site… But, if it is, I’m open to suggestions. 🙂

  • Looks Great Matt. No doubt will be another winner for you. One thing that kinda bothers me when I read a blog or article (not just your blog/s). The little bar that you see on the left side of the blog with all the social icons, you said your’s is from the plug-in called SumoMe. It covers up the text, so we have to read below or above the icons. Is that the ‘Preferred’ location for Social Media Icons? Or can they be placed on the right side, top or bottom of the blog?

    • Thanks for commenting Ed!

      You’re the first person who’s actually said there was an issue with the social bar on the side. I really think it has to do with screen size and the resolution of your monitor… Here’s what it looks like on most computers.

  • Hey, Matt. Great content as usual. Great basic setup for the beginning blog writer. I do have a question. So you are launching to an established list of 55k subscribers. I know you have worked hard to create a list like that. For your readers who do not own a large responsive list, one of the things I think they would all like to know what is the alternative, if you are truly starting from scratch? I would love to see a case study where you create an authority blog from scratch without that advantage. You are truly an expert in your field. If there is anyone who could show us how to do this, it would be you. You are one of the few “gurus” I actually still follow. Keep up the great work.

    • Hey Bonnie. Thanks for commenting.

      I did just mail my list to this blog post… However, I only mailed my list to this blog post after the post already had over 100 social shares and multiple comments. I opted to wait to mail about this post until after I generated several hundred viewers without leveraging my list… It was purely through viral social sharing and blog commenting that I kickstarted this blog post.

      I will create a post that demonstrates how I did that as well.

      The fact that I mailed my list to this post is actually irrelevant. If you follow along to what I did in the explanation and you follow along to one of my next posts about how to generate traffic without an existing following, you can recreate the kind of initial momentum that this blog has had.

      The purpose of this blog is not to avoid leveraging the brand and momentum that I’ve built for myself over the years, it’s to give in-depth explanations of how I’ve created that momentum and then get that information in front of the maximum amount of people.

      I really appreciate the comment and feedback. I will do my best to make sure that I map out a plan that anyone can follow, whether they have existing assets and momentum or not…

    • Another thought…

      I couldn’t build an authority blog in a niche that I’m not excited or passionate about. I’d love to create a case study, from scratch, of an authority blog being built in a random niche but I wouldn’t be able to sustain it if I wasn’t passionate about it…

      Another idea would be to find someone who is passionate about a niche and who can run an authority blog and walk them through the process so I could use their steps and their results as a case study to share on this blog.

      Just an idea… Maybe I’ll start interview candidates. 🙂

      • That sounds interesting. I would like to see that as there are many new bloggers with great ideas (*cough* like me *cough*) but just don’t have that traction yet.

        I do have a general freelancer blog with multiple guest authors and a nice size email (200 or 300), but not sure what else to do.

  • Thanks Matt for sharing the process of starting a new authorative blog. This is timely on my behalf. I too am feeling it’s time for new and in the process of change. WordPress is popular, however, have you ever explored any other blogsite beyond WordPress that you would recommend? You recommended Bluehost for domain and hosting? Will be changing my domain registrar and host, I was thinking about them being separate instead of together. Your process has clarity and I’m excited to follow the leader. Thanks again, appreciate you.

  • Hi Matt,

    Thanks for all the great info. I will be following this project extremely close.

    I have a question about the plug-ins. Most of them came with your purchased site. If a person chooses not to purchase a premium site, such as the Voice, are those plug-ins available? If so, where? Are you aware of any comparable WP plug-ins that do the same things?

    Also, the green highlighted plug-ins that are essential, do they cost? I know Akismet is free with WP sites. But, do the others cost and where can they be found?

    I appreciate all your hard work and dedication to help out us newbies. Thanks again. Blessings!

  • Excellent idea Matt and I’m a follower. My blog uses WordPress, the MH Magazine theme and I’m really pleased with it. One immediate question I have is with an authoritative post is how do you let readers know the blog has been updated. Is there a simple notification tool I can use?

    • Hey John,

      That’s one element that I’m still figuring out. I’m hoping to create resources that are so good that people bookmark them and keep coming back. I’m building my mailing list with Thrive Leads so that I can mail the list and let them know about updates… But, of course, I don’t want to mail my list about every tiny update. 🙂

  • Hey Matt, great post. I’ve been meaning to comment.

    I’d love to see more about not only generating great content that attracts readers, but how one then builds an email list based on that strategy.

    Also, at what point does it make sense to begin monetizing a brand new blog — especially one that is truly starting from scratch?

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