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Authority Sites Africa

Authority Site: An online business model that allows you to work from anywhere

Do you dream about an online business that allows you to work from anywhere in the world while only requiring a small investment and requiring very little technical skills ?

In that case you may be interested in building a content driven Authority Site. In short, an Authority Site is an online business that people trust because it is a respected source of information on a particular topic like health, travel, finance or building Authority Sites :-).

Authority sites are content-driven websites with multiple traffic channels including SEO, Social or Referral while having one or more revenue streams in the form of affiliate income, income from selling information products like online courses on a particular topic.

In the era of fake news, Authority Sites have a particularly important role to play in ensuring that the information they provide is reliable, well researched and trustworthy.

Content Driven Authority Sites

Build an online business allowing you to work from anywhere, anytime


  • No physical products required
    Everything can be sold online since the main commodity is information.
  • Limited technical skills required
    As the main product is the content on the site very little coding is required to build it.
  • Limited Upfront Investment
    In comparison to most other businesses  a content driven Authority Site can be started for less than $1000 (see Nerdwallet below).


  • Unlikely to become the next Tech Unicorn
    If you are looking to build the next billion dollar tech unicorn, it is highly unlikely that you are going to do it through an Authority Site
  • Hard work is required
    Building a content driven Authority Site is not a get-rich quick scheme. Hard work, perseverance and innovation are required.

  • Learning curve
    To build a successful site you need a variety of different skills like producing content, link-building and developing systems.


Content-driven Authority Sites can be bootstrapped as they do not require large upfront investment. They are a realistic way for ambitious entrepreneurs, dedicated freelancers or digital nomads to produce income, even without quitting your 9 - 5 job.

Examples of successful Authority Sites

A good way to better understand what Authority Sites are is to look at different examples from different industries. Some of these sites have grown really big and are now employing a large team of content producers, product managers, marketers and analytics wizards while others are run by 1 or 2 people with some support from freelancers.

Most well-known content-driven Authority Sites that we are aware of are based in the US or Europe. That is why you will not find any African based content-driven Authority Sites in the examples that follow below:

Finance: Nerdwallet

Essentially, Nerdwallet is an affiliate website that reviews financial products in the US including insurances, mortgages and credit cards. Their content provides exceptional value to their audiences helping their readers make well informed decisions on the best financial products for their circumstances.

Nerdwallet homepage August 2019

Homepage of the US based Authority Site Nerdwallet

Nerdwallet is one of the most successful examples of a content-driven Authority Site as they now employ just short of 500 employees while having raised over $105 million in venture capital according to Crunchbase.

And the best part? Co-founder Tim Chen started the website in 2009 with $800 dollars after being laid off from his job. In the process he built Nerdwallet into a company worth $500 million.

Nerdwallet provides in-depth and thoroughly researched content like the 8 best online stock brokers for beginners or reviews such as Betterment vs Wealthfront. And as you can see from Similarweb's traffic estimation for Nerdwallet this kind of content is well sought after by over 11 million monthly unique visitors.

Nerdwallet traffic estimate Similarweb

Nerdwallet traffic estimate for Jan - July 2019 by Similarweb

Nerdwallet generates revenue through affiliate commissions stating on their website that this may influence which products are reviewed and written about (and where those products appear on the site). 

Most Authority Sites never scale to this size or raise this much capital from venture capitalists. But it goes to show that with a bit of luck and being in the right market can still pave the way for building a big tech company.

Consumer Goods: The Wirecutter

The Wirecutter was started in 2011 by Brian Lam to review electronics, gadgets and consumer goods. Only 5 years later in 2016 The New York Times purchased the site for a cool $30 million.

After burning out at the age of 34, because of the high pressure involved with his job as editor of Gizmodo, Brian Lam decided to move to Hawaii to pursue his love of surfing. He sold his car and rented out his house in the process.

He decided to focus on building his own version of a gadget site as a next step. Together with his staff of freelancers Lam decided to rely on deep examinations of specific product categories and build the Wirecutter based on recommendations of the best products.

Due to the quality of its in-depth reviews, the website started to generate a significant audience of gadget fans and people obsessed with researching every aspect of a purchase.

The bedrock of that traffic was and still is being generated through SEO. And this is typical for many Authority Sites in that their major traffic source is SEO.

The Wirecutter marketing channels

The Wirecutter relies heavily on SEO as a traffic generator

One of the keys to success with SEO is to provide high-quality content that will rank in Google and drive traffic to your website. Without great content it will be hard to build a sustainable Authority Site as it will be hard to generate the required traffic.

Great review content such as "The Best Business Laptops" is what makes the Wirecutter a great example of a successful Authority Site. Their reviews of consumer products are thorough and extensive while helping readers make the right purchasing decision by highlighting the strengths and flaws of individual products.

Reviews of best laptop

An example of great review content by the Wirecutter

Want to learn how to build Authority Sites?

If you are interested in learning how to build a successful content-driven Authority Site there are a growing number of resources where you can learn how to do so.

One of the best is Authority Hacker as they offer a fantastic online course on building a highly profitable Affiliate and Authority Site that includes market research, tech site set up and content creation. Here is an in-depth review of the Authority Site System course which targets beginners.

Beyond that they have a highly informative podcast and blog featuring valuable case studies on how their team built an Authority Site and sold it for mid six figures in the space of 18 months.

Learn How To Build A 6 Figure Affiliate Marketing Authority Site That You Can Run From Anywhere

  • Finally have a proven method to finding profitable niches
  • Learn a foolproof keyword research method
  • Learn how to outsource quality content
  • check
    Learn how to build white hat links to your site without headaches

Other interesting resources are being provided by online business brokers such as FE International where you can learn more about how affiliate businesses are being valued and what steps you need to consider if you ever want to sell it for profit.

Ideally, you want to avoid having your Authority Site relying on one source of traffic too much as one algorithm update could cause havoc to your income and business valuation. If you want to build your Authority Site with a potential sale in mind then it is good to learn more what the valuation drivers of this business model are.

And in case you are wondering, there is a growing demand for buying content-driven Authority Sites as you will notice when studying the businesses for sale on online marketplaces such as FE International or Empire Flippers.


Building an Authority Site is very attractive because you can start it with very little technical skills and upfront investment while growing it over time. This business also gives you maximum flexibility as it allows you to work from anywhere around the world as the revenue is generated entirely online.

About the Author Rise Africa Rise

Rise Africa Rise is your online guide to tech entrepreneurship and (social) innovation for African entrepreneurs, startups and businesses. Our aim is to provide you with valuable digital strategies, tools and insights to support you in building a world-class and competitive business in the 21st century.

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