An interview with Paul Bromen
Who are you and what are you currently working on?
My name is Paul Bromen. I am currently working on two affiliate sites: HelpfulHabitat.com and UponaMattress.com. HelpfulHabitat is a marketing site with product reviews and in-depth guides for household products that gets around 480,000 visitors a year.
It covers everything from the best toilets to cordless stick vacuums that aren’t going to run out of batteries when you’re just about to finish a room. UponaMattress.com is about sleep and beds visited by 120,000 people a year. It has a great article on the best beds for heavy people. I’ve always loved sleep but this site has taken my passion to a new level. It’s changed everything I do in the bedroom, OK well not everything. My bottom line advice is to figure out what interrupts your sleep and attack it with zeal. For me, it’s heat. So right now I have a cooling King Bed (so my girlfriend and have plenty of space when cuddle time is over) and sleep with a weighted blanket. A weird trick I’ve learned is that if you are waking up in the middle of the night due to stress, eating a small bowl of oatmeal before bed can help a lot.
How did you get started in affiliate marketing? What keeps you excited about it?
Two years ago, I was leaving the mobile gaming startup that I started with my college roommate. I looked around at all my current opportunities, and nothing hooked me. A blog I follow mentioned that you could make great passive income in the affiliate space. I started a site to get the feel for it, and before long I jumped in whole cloth with UponaMattress.com. As I increased my site’s earning, I became really excited. To me, Affiliate marketing feels like a business with a lot of the fluff stripped away. After 18 months in the business I felt confident, so I bought HelfpulHabitat.com when I found out it was for sale. What keeps me excited is the opportunity to showcase high-quality new products. I have a couple of creative friends who come up with great concepts, but even though they get them manufactured, they can rarely get traction. With these sites, I can give young, creative entrepreneurs a spotlight and help them earn enough to work on their dreams full-time.
What is one piece of advice you’d give to a newbie affiliate marketer? And what is one piece of advice they should ignore?
My one piece of advice is to choose something that will be easy to rank for. Lots of people I meet try to start in the most competitive categories like health supplements. Yeah, if you get on the first page, there are going to be lots of ways to monetize, but the hardest part is ranking. Getting any page to the top of Google will feel great and make you want to keep going. Choose your weirdest, hardest passion, and make your first site about that. Instead of spreading out and writing lots of articles, write one page that is the best most in depth guide for a long tail keyword.
What has been your favorite mistake? A mistake that in retrospect led to a great lesson and progress in your affiliate marketing?
Ooph. Thinking about this question makes me hurt. Well, my site got hacked last December because one of my plug-ins had a bug and I didn’t update fast enough. It was a miserable Sunday trying to piece everything back together. UponaMattress.com received a manual penalty and everything. After about 8 hours of brain burning grind, I was able to get the infection cleaned up and was able to submit the site for review by Google. The feeling when the penalty was revoked, and the site’s traffic came back was transcendent. I learned a great lesson about my resilience. I used to question it, now I don’t. When you think of what is one of the worst things that can happen when running and relying on a website for your income being hacked has to be near the top. I think that is when I leveled up and thought ok I can do this. Also, you better believe I am updating my site whenever I get the chance now.
What is one piece of software or a web service (besides Geniuslink) that allows you to be more effective as an affiliate marketer?
Ahrefs hands down. That service is magic. It’s x-ray goggles for the internet. It lets you see where your competition gets its traffic, its links, and what it ranks for. It’s what I use to monitor my site’s health and look for new content opportunities.
How do you continue to educate yourself as an affiliate marketer? What are some of your favorite resources for learning?
At this point, I mostly educating by doing. Although I love backlinko and other white hat marketing blogs. SEOjournal has also been popping up in my Google News feed, and I feel that keeps me up to date. My overall favorite resources are audio books. I listen to them when I work out, drive or clean up my place. I am a big believer in learning information from outside your discipline and using that to drive innovation. I recently read a Joseph Pulitzer biography and it gave me the idea to have comics that summarize the content of my articles. I worked with a local comic book creator, and I am excited to put the first one up on my site this week.
If people wanted to connect with you, where should we point them to?
Always happy to connect with people. I kind of figure that there is basically an infinite competition in this space so I can’t hurt myself by helping others get their start. Make sure you are bringing something to the table, though. The best place to reach out to me is via LinkedIn.