Interview With Tom Dupuis On Google Core Web Vitals, Affiliate Marketing & More

It’s been a long while since we published a new interview on our bloggers interview series.

There are a lot of people who ask me “how do I grow my affiliate sales, improve my website speed, and what blogging tools to use?”.

In today’s interview with Tom Dupuis, you’re going to find answers to all of those questions. 

Tom Dupuis is the founder of Online Media Masters, where you can discover WordPress speed and SEO tutorials.

If you’re looking to improve your website’s SEO and prepare for the upcoming Google’s Core Web Vitals update, you should definitely check out this interview.

So are you ready? Let’s jump into the interview of Tom Dupuis.

Interview With Tom Dupuis from Online Media Masters

Tom Dupuis interview

1. Hi Tom, welcome to BloggersPassion. Can you please introduce yourself to our audience?

Hey all, I’m Tom – the guy behind

I started my blog at the end of college in 2011. I write about WordPress speed optimization and make money by referring people to speed-related services (hosting, CDNs, cache plugins, etc).

My affiliate income is 6 figures, but it wasn’t always like that. I was broke for many years doing tedious web design and SEO work for clients. I got my break in 2016 when I started taking my blog seriously by creating more in-depth content. 

Google finally decided the content deserved to rank and my SEO traffic tripled in about 1 week. I was living with my parents at the time and immediately packed my stuff and moved to Denver, Colorado the same week.

Since then, I’ve been continuing to grow traffic and monetize my blog. I was awarded SiteGround’s affiliate of the month in July 2017 (although I don’t promote them anymore). 

I’ve also done webinars with Cloudways and have been mentioned by Neil Patel and other authority sites. Now I’m focusing on helping people with core web vitals.

Key takeaway: Tom has been doing affiliate marketing since 2011 (around 10 years). Just like most other successful affiliate marketers, Tom also used the power of “in-depth content” to succeed.

2. If you had to start again in blogging, what would you do differently?

I wish I had created more YouTube videos. I see a lot of YouTubers who aren’t giving good information but still probably make more money than me. I also feel like it can be much easier to rank videos than blog posts.

I also wish I had started sooner than the end of college. If you’re just thinking of starting a blog, just do it and jump it to it. 

You can always change your domain, hosting, theme, even your niche. But the key is to start learning and get some hands-on experience running as soon as possible.

Finally, I wish I hadn’t made the mistake of hiring a cheap link builder. In the short term, my rankings improved and I definitely got some business from it. 

But eventually, once Google (and I) got smarter, we realized those links weren’t high quality and it was a pain to try and remove them. This was after my traffic dropped tremendously, which I believe was due to the low-quality links.

Key takeaway: YouTube is the second biggest search engine after Google. If you want to fast-track your blogging success, don’t ignore YouTube.

3. If you were given $100,000, how would you invest it to grow your blog?

I would hire a videographer to help me create super high-quality YouTube videos, hire someone to help me create an online course, and hire a content writer. I would also consider hiring a developer to create a plugin.

Key takeaway: Tom REALLY wants to take his YouTube marketing strategy to the next level! Investing your money in growing your business ALWAYS gives high returns. 

4. What’s your favorite traffic source? Why?

SEO. You don’t have to pay for advertising and it can be very consistent. You just need to stay on top of Google’s core algorithm updates and constantly improve your content.

Key takeaway: SEO is the holy grail of marketing. If done right, SEO can help you generate huge profits and traffic.

5. What tools do you MOSTLY use for affiliate marketing and SEO?

Rank Math for my SEO plugin and Thirsty Affiliates for managing affiliate links. I use the Search Console for monitoring basic SEO metrics. I don’t use any special software otherwise, not even Ahrefs or Semrush, but I probably should.

Key takeaway: We love Semrush too. You can grab a 30-day free trial of Semrush from here.

6. What are your suggestions to optimize a WordPress site for core web vitals?

That’s what I blog about – better make this good!

I have an extensive guide on WordPress speed and am also in the middle of creating one specifically for nearly every recommendation in Lighthouse.

  • Optimize fonts – hosting them locally, test preloading them, add font-display: swap, and remove fonts/weights you don’t use. This can also improve your CLS score.
  • Optimize LCP element – this is usually an image or background image. Make it smaller, consider a next-gen format (e.g. WebP), and preload it.
  • Optimize CSS + JavaScript – try Autoptimize and Async JavaScript especially if you have render-blocking resources. Even if you already use a cache plugin to optimize CSS/JS, these can help.
  • Optimize third-party code – host fonts/analytics/GTM locally. Prefetch third-party domains and delay non-critical JavaScript (i.e. comments) using WP Rocket or Flying Scripts. Don’t add third-party code unless you really need it.
  • Skip shared hosting – go straight to the cloud especially if your TTFB is high. I’m a fan of Cloudways DigitalOcean who is coming out with premium DO droplets (soon). LiteSpeed and GridPane are solid choices too. Take advantage of optimizations in your hosting account (server-side caching, Redis, PHP 8.0, etc).
  • Use an asset unloading plugin – use Asset CleanUp or Perfmatters to disable things where they don’t need to load. Can take some time, but definitely worth it.
  • Get rid of Elementor and Divi – they add lots of CSS/JS and make your entire site bloated. Core web vitals seem to punish sites with heavy JavaScript. If you don’t want to completely remove it, at least hard code your header, menus, sidebar, and footer so they don’t rely on a page builder. Unload unused assets from page builders (i.e. with Asset CleanUp) and take advantage of the experimental features if using Elementor. Try Oxygen, GeneratePress, Gutenberg, or Kadence.
  • Use a solid CDN – try Cloudflare’s APO or BunnyCDN, they can often give you better results than other CDNs.
  • Make elements in your viewport faster – don’t load heavy JavaScript above the fold (i.e. ads), exclude above the fold images from the lazy load, hard code your menu, and optimize your LCP image.
  • Take advantage of preload, preconnect, prefetch – preconnect third-party fonts and CDN URL, preload LCP image and fonts, and prefetch third-party domains.

7. What are your top three recommendations for beginners to increase affiliate sales in 2024?

  1. Use coupon codes in YouTube videos – many affiliates like Cloudways and HostGator are willing to provide you with a custom coupon code. You can mention this to your readers and if they use it, you get credit for the sale without viewers even having to click an affiliate link. It saves them money, and it can definitely increase your sales.
  2. Do original research – many sites just regurgitate information that’s already out there. Come up with new ideas and solutions – be original. Don’t just copy information that’s already out there. Run some tests, put it in a chart, and create better content like Backlinko.
  3. Join Facebook GroupsAnil’s group has a lot of polls on the best hosting, best CDN, best cache plugin, etc. Try recommending the top products you know people are happy with, not just the ones with the highest commissions.

Key takeaway: Coupons, creating informative content, and using Facebook groups to find what your target audience wants – these three things can easily help you boost your affiliate sales.

8. What do you think is the BIGGEST mistake most affiliate marketing beginners make?

They rush content. Even top sites like Kinsta or WP Rocket (who have a team of content writers) only publish 1 article every 2-3 days, but it’s usually a great one and you can tell they spent a lot of time on it. 

Google your keyword and make sure your content is better than whoever’s in the top results. When you publish an article you should be saying “yeah, this is real and people will share/link to it.”

You also need to be revisiting old posts and updating content there too.

Key takeaway: Always give #1 priority to “quality content”. Creating one epic post is better than ten mediocre articles.

9. What are your top THREE tips for beginners who want to build a money-making blog in 2024?

  1. Pick a niche you’re passionate about – if you’re just in it for the money and don’t enjoy what you’re doing, you’re going to burn out quickly. Spend your life doing something you enjoy.
  2. Don’t always choose affiliates with the highest commissions – I was enticed to promote WPEngine since they offer $200/sale, but they’re not the best choice and I don’t think my readers would buy it. And I didn’t want to steer people in the right direction. The affiliates you recommend have a huge impact on whether readers trust you – many people can sniff out an affiliate who is only in it for the money.
  3. Don’t overextend – Instead of “digital marketing” you might just want to write about web design. Instead of web design, you might just want to write about WordPress website design. Instead of WordPress website design, you might just want to write about Gutenberg, Elementor, or Oxygen. The point is, you don’t have to do everything. Do something and get really good at it. This applies to what you’re blogging about as well as the services you offer. Narrow down your niche.

Key takeaway: Do what you love, pick only those products that are helpful to your audience and focus on a small niche!

10. Can you describe your daily routine as a digital marketer? How many hours do you work in a day?

Sometimes I’ll work 10 hours/day, other times I’ll take a 2-week vacation. If I’m really excited about what I’m doing, I’ll wake up, make a coffee, and go straight to work. 

Nowadays, I’ll spend 5 days/week going to the gym. I can stay up working late, too. There’s always time for some video games too 🙂

11. What are your future plans with Online Media Masters?

I want Online Media Masters to be the go-to source for improving WordPress speed and core web vitals. I also want to create more YouTube videos and eventually, an online course. And of course, make my site even faster and look nicer.

12. What are your favorite blogs? Please mention any three of your favorite blogs that you read regularly?

  • Backlinko
  • WP Speed Matters
  • WP Rocket

13. What’s your favorite SEO strategy to grow your blog’s search rankings? 

Always start a blog post by creating a table of contents. This makes you more organized and there are many benefits for your readers as well as SEO. You can create a TOC in HTML/CSS or use the Lucky Table Of Contents plugin. 

This encourages longer, in-depth content, lets people link to specific sections on your post, and gives you a better chance of being awarded “list featured snippets” in Google.

Key takeaway: Use the table of contents plugin if you’re on WordPress. It’s an easy way to add the table of contents.

Final thoughts on the interview with Tom Dupuis

Tom is consistent with his blog posting schedule. He often creates in-depth and informative blog posts. That’s why he’s able to generate so much of revenue and traffic to his blog.

Have you enjoyed our interview with Tom Dupuis from Online Media Masters?. Have any questions? Let us know in the comments. If you like our blogger’s interview series, please share it with others.

About Author
Anil Agarwal is the Founder of Bloggerspassion. He is a full-time blogger and SEO expert who has been helping people build profitable blogs for over a decade Now. He has been featured in Over 100 Publications including Forbes, The HuffPost, HubSpot, Shopify, Semrush, Kinsta, Bluehost, Hostinger and etc. Know more about Anil Agarwal from here.

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