In this post, I’m using the terms “authority blog” and “hub blog” in this manner:
- Filled with conceptually unique content
- Posts are longer than the average blog post
- Doesn’t link out very often
- More likely to link internally than to other blogs
- Posting frequency is not as important as post quality
- Multiple, short daily posts
- Links out liberally
- Most posts are talking about content on another website
- Posting quality takes a backseat to posting frequency
Or as SEO Book says:
An authority is a site that is linked to by many sites and pages covering that topic. A hub links to many relevant topical sites. It is said that a good authority has links from many good hubs, and good hubs link to many good authorities. (page 203)
This discussion is not to pit both blogs against each other. Both types of blogs work well. You have authority blogs like Zen Habits, which has over 60,000 RSS subscribers. And then you have hub blogs like Gizmodo, which is in the Alexa top 1,000.
Also, I realize that many blogs are hybrids. They have authority blog elements as well as hub blog elements. Hybrid blogs can definitely have success too. My goal in writing this is to teach you about these type of blogs so that you can structure your blog in the best way possible.
Pros and Cons of Authority Blogs
Usually the content on authority blogs is more linkworthy than the content on hub blogs. Because the content is more in-depth, you can build your brand quickly. Check out Chris Pearson’s: How Can 10 Simple Articles Change Your Life? (via)
However, it is harder to produce longer pieces of conceptually new content. You really have to know your niche and have a passion for it to continue in the long term. And for many niches, you have to be an expert to gain credibility and trust. Also, you’re writing less posts than hub blogs so you won’t have as much search engine fodder, or indexed pages on the search engines.
Pros and Cons of Hub Blogs
Many bloggers start off their blogs as hub blogs because it’s relatively easy to create the content. They love their niche and can easily find stuff to link to and talk about. Because your posts are shorter, you can create more of them, which gives you a lot of pages for the search engines to index.
Because you link out a lot, your blog can be the one-stop destination for people who don’t have time to check out all the authority blogs in your niche. As you build your hub blog’s brand, you may get breaking news first because companies respect your coverage of the niche.
However, your content won’t be as linkworthy as authority blogs. Oftentimes, it takes time to build your brand as a hub blogger because your posts are not as in-depth.
Consider the Niche
In many saturated niches, there are many hub blogs. This makes it harder for a hub blog to gain traction because of all the competition. However, in other niches, there are many authority blogs, but not many hub blogs. This often happens because authority blogs and commercial sites don’t like to link to each other.
If you setup a hub blog, you can become a top destination site for your niche because the sites in your space are not linking out. Every niche can definitely use a couple good hub blogs.
Hub blogs work better in niches that experience a lot of change and therefore have a lot of news. For example, the entertainment and tech niche is especially ripe for good hub blogs. To avoid all the competition, you should focus on a sub niche like movies or mobile products.
Authority blogs work in any niche but for some niches, you have to be an expert. A classic example are the make money online bloggers who haven’t made money online. These guys won’t succeed. Gaining expert status can be a huge barrier to entry because it can take some time to become an expert.
Consider Your Strengths
Do you see yourself more as a reporter or writer?
Do you like writing longer pieces of content or short blog posts?
Are you good a finding cool stuff in your niche (including under the radar but quality blogs)?
Are you good at covering the news in your niche in a timely manner?
Are you an expert in anything?
How would you categorize your blog? More of an authority blog or a hub blog? Why did you choose that format?
Also, what kind of blogs do you follow?