Monday is Labor Day in the U.S., a holiday where for some reason we think it makes sense to celebrate the work force by not working. I’m not sure about that, but anyway, I definitely see Labor Day as a good day to talk about Cloud Living.
What is Cloud Living?
Cloud Living is a term coined by Glen Allsopp, which refers to his lifestyle of being able to do whatever he wants while he makes money from the Cloud (also known as the Internet). Specifically, he makes about $15,000 a month, half from blogging and half from affiliate marketing via niche sites (which he calls minisites).
I read about his personal story and some of his strategies a few months ago when he released his Blogging Blueprint. Now he’s beefed that up considerably with a huge guide that explains everything in great detail.
Everything You Need to Know About Making Money From Blogging and Minisites
He covers both blogging and minisites, so you can decide whether you want to pursue one or the other or both. Frankly, because he has so much information here (176 pages), I think he’d do better to split it into two ebooks and charge the full price for each one. Of course, having it all in one affordable ebook makes it a better deal for us!
At first, I wasn’t terribly interested in minisites. However, I’ve come around now, mainly because of something I read in his Blogging Blueprint. I had read other free ebooks about minisites, but all of them left a huge gaping hole by not explaining how to build backlinks.
Sure, they’d give a few tips, such as leaving comments on do-follow blogs. They’d be remiss if they didn’t include these tips, but I didn’t see them as remotely enough. In the case of do-follow blogs for example, reading posts and leaving comments is relatively time consuming, you generally can’t use keywords as the anchor text, and you’re sharing the link juice with everyone else who’s spamming the same blogs.
What jumped out at me immediately in Glen’s ebook is that in addition to the standard link building tips, he also talked about a software program he uses to partially automate his efforts. Finally, some real information!
Because of that, I decided to buy Cloud Living to get the full details on minisites. I knew he’d have some great information on blogging too, but I had much more to learn about minisites than about blogging.
What you get with Cloud Living is a 176-page ebook, covering blogs, minisites, productivity, and even interviews with career renegade Jonathan Fields and nonconformist Chris Guillebeau.
There are also 6 tutorial videos (4-10 minutes each), which he uses to illustrate certain concepts. And one very nice touch is the minisite template he includes – the PHP and CSS files you can tweak to easily create your own high-conversion minisite, along with a 9-page guide on how to use it.
Complete newbies will find everything they need right here, so you can hit the ground running from day one. More experienced people will want to scan or skip the sections covering things they already know, such as how to buy web hosting. Instead, they’ll be more interested in the details that will make them some money.
Finally, Glen offers free email support to anyone who may be having trouble at any point. If you’re remotely interested in making money from blogging, and especially from minisites, Cloud Living is really a no-brainer purchase.
My First Foray Into the Cloud Living Process
At this point, I’m going to end the review part and talk about the brief experience I’ve had with minisites since reading Cloud Living. I haven’t been doing it for very long, so it’s far too early to give a real assessment of how things are going. But I can say with certainty that some things are going well, and I’m confident that the other things will work themselves out in time.
I’ve created two minisites so far. I used Glen’s suggestions on how to find niches, how to find lucrative products to monetize the sites, how to find profitable keywords to target, and how to pick good domain names. Using his template, I was able to whip up a few pages for each site and get them online in a few hours each, start to finish.
With one of his link building methods alone, I created several dozen links to each site. That worked just fine, and it theoretically should be enough to rank me on the first search results page for my keywords. The problem is that the search engines aren’t recognizing the links yet.
The Google Sandbox – Not as Fun as it Sounds
I’ve read that it might take a while (possibly months) for search engines to discover links to your site. I learned from Glen that Google in particular will show only a small portion of the backlinks it actually knows about, but even the other search engines are showing very few links to my sites.
I wonder if this may be part of the sandbox effect. I know that new sites are on a sort of probationary status, where they rank artificially low in the search results until they reach a certain age. A site may stay in the sandbox for several months or bypass it entirely, depending on the niche. Maybe the sandbox also limits the backlinks that are recognized. Just a guess though.
I just checked my links, and today a couple more are showing up, so maybe it just needs more time.
In addition to putting articles on the sites, I also started submitting some to EzineArticles. This is the most well-known article directory, but by no means the only one.
You give them some articles, they post them with a link to your site, and other people can reproduce the articles with your link included. If your articles become popular, you can get a lot of links.
I’m not entirely sure whether it’s best to create content on your own site and build links to it, or to give away content to a site that will build backlinks for you. Maybe the answer is both, and I want to at least try both.
Anyone can open a Basic account with EzineArticles, but you’re only allowed to submit 10 articles at first. They’ll review them, and ask you to correct any problems they may have found. After your 10 articles are approved, they’ll decide what they want to do with you.
If they like you, they’ll upgrade your account to Platinum, allowing unlimited article submissions. If they don’t like you enough, they’ll upgrade you to Basic Plus, letting you submit 25 more articles to improve your writing and redeem yourself. I guess if they really don’t like you, they’ll ban you, but that’s probably unlikely.
The problem I’m having now is that I’ve used up all 10 of my submissions, and now I have to sit around for a few weeks while I wait for them to upgrade my account.
One article has been approved, and it took nearly two weeks. The other nine are pending review. So I have to wait for them to approve the articles, possibly have to resubmit them if they find anything wrong, then wait for them to decide if they want to upgrade my account. I don’t see why I can’t keep submitting articles in the meantime.
It’s annoying, but fortunately it’s a one-time thing. After you reach Platinum status, they’ll review your articles much faster. More importantly, they’ll let you submit as many articles as you want, so it doesn’t really matter how long it takes to review them.
For now, I could create some more sites while I wait for my existing sites and articles to get better with age. But I want to play it more conservatively, waiting to get these sites pulling in traffic first. I could go find some other article directories, but I’d rather focus my efforts.
I think I’ll use this time to create more content to put on the sites, and write some articles to hang onto until I can submit them to EzineArticles.
All things considered, the drawbacks I’ve experienced have been fairly minor, and I think they’ll naturally work themselves out. Anyway, isn’t living on a cloud worth some effort? Take a look at Cloud Living. For those who aspire to such a lifestyle, I really don’t think you want to pass this up.