If you’re a blogger, chances are you would like more traffic. It doesn’t matter how much traffic you have, bloggers always want more.
When it comes to blogging and traffic generation, search engine optimization (SEO) gets a lot of attention, and for good reason. But social media can be another effective way to grow traffic. In fact, social media is especially effective for new bloggers because you can start driving traffic right away, rather than waiting 6 months to a year for Google to start sending any kind of significant search traffic.
Of all of the current social networks, Pinterest offers the best potential for bloggers. While other networks like Facebook and Twitter are more about the conversation, Pinterest is all about content and helping users find things that interest them.
Some blogs are able to generate hundreds of thousands of free visitors each and every month with the help of Pinterest. And one of the nice things about Pinterest is that unlike other social platforms, the traffic isn’t always short-lived. Pins can continue to send traffic to your site for months or possibly even years to come.
With that in mind, this article will provide an overview of Pinterest and specifically how you can use it to get traffic to your blog.
Common Myths Related to Pinterest
Before we get into the details related to growing traffic with Pinterest, let’s first address a few common myths that many people believe about Pinterest.
Myth #1 – Pinterest is Only for Women
Although Pinterest is more popular with men, plenty of men use the platform too. 81% of Pinterest users are women, but 40% of new signups are men, so those numbers are starting to even out a bit (source).
Myth #2 – Pinterest Only Works for DIY and Recipe Blogs
While certain topics are extremely popular on Pinterest (like DIY, crafts, food and recipes, fitness, travel), you’ll find just about anything and everything on Pinterest. Even if your blog is not related to topics like DIY crafts or recipes, Pinterest still has the potential to send a lot of traffic to your site.
Myth #3 – Getting Traffic from Pinterest is Easy
A few years ago, you could create a pin, pin it to a bunch of boards, and get easy traffic. Things have changed. While Pinterest can still be a great source of traffic, it’s not that easy. You may be able to get some traffic relatively easily from Pinterest, but in order to maximize your results, you will need to really learn the platform and be active. The more time and effort you put into it, the better your results can be.
How to Use Pinterest to Boost Your Traffic
Ok, now let’s move on to the details about how you can tap into the traffic potential that is available on Pinterest.
It’s important to understand how Pinterest works. Although it is a visual platform, it is also a search engine that relies on text and keywords to show the right content to users. When a user is logged in and on the Pinterest homepage, they will see a smart feed that attempts to show content that is likely to interest them. A lot of the steps that are covered below involve using keywords, which is a critical part of getting exposure for your content.
Success with Pinterest can really be broken down into two main parts:
- Creating images that get people’s attention and encourage them to click.
- Optimizing your profile, boards, and pins with keywords so your content will be shown to the right people.
Create an Optimized Profile
Here are the basics that you can follow to set up your Pinterest profile the right way.
When you create your Pinterest profile, you will be able to select a personal or business account. Having a business account gives you access to analytics and allows you to run paid ads, if you choose to do so. There is no cost to having a business profile and it is definitely something that you want to do if you’re hoping to get traffic. If you’ve already set up a personal profile, follow these steps to easily upgrade to a business profile.
Sign Up for Rich Pins
Rich pins simply add more information to a pin, and that information is fed through automatically. There are four different types of rich pins (app, product, article, recipe) and for bloggers, “article” is the most relevant type. If you set up rich pins, which is easy to do, your pins will show additional detail that is pulled automatically from your blog, including the article title, author, and description.
Profile Name and Description
Your profile name can be a factor for Pinterest SEO, so it is best if you can include some of your most important keywords in your profile name. Just like SEO for Google, you want it to be readable and logical for humans as well, but try to find a way to work your most important keywords into your profile name.
You’ll also have a small amount of text that you can enter as a description for your profile. Again, you’ll want to use keywords in this text for SEO purposes.
Board Names and Descriptions
You’ll create different boards that will hold your pins. Think of the boards as categories that you will use for organizing your pin. For example, if you have a web design blog and you’ll be pinning content related to web design, you may have boards like HTML, CSS, Photoshop, web design tutorials, UX design, WordPress, etc.
When you are naming your boards, be sure to put relevant keywords in the board names. Some people try to come up with cute catchy names, but in terms of SEO, that’s not good if the names are not keyword optimized. Think about the types of content that you will be pinning and the keywords that other people might use to search for that content.
Each board will also have a description. This is another area that can impact SEO, so be sure to fill out the description and include any keywords that may be relevant.
Whenever you’re looking for keywords, one of the easiest things to do is to search on Pinterest. Type in one of your main keywords and you’ll see some search suggestions that show what other users are actually searching for.
And after you search, you’ll see many more related keywords below the search bar.
In just a few minutes, you can easily come up with a nice list of keywords.
The number of boards that you create is up to you, but for starters, I recommend creating at least 10 boards. It’s fine if there is some overlap. For example, an article that you have written about designing a WordPress theme could be relevant on a “WordPress” board and a “web design tutorials” board, so it could be pinned to both.
Now that you have your profile and boards set up and optimized, it’s time to look at how to create pins that will get results.
The design of the images that you pin will have a huge impact on your success with Pinterest. You don’t need to be a world-class designer, but you do need to be sure that you are creating images that will grab people’s attention. Remember that users will be quickly scrolling through the feed, so your image will need to stand out in order to attract clicks.
The two biggest factors that you need to consider are:
- Legible text. Avoid script fonts that are hard to read, and remember that the majority of Pinterest users will be on a mobile device, so your text should be large enough to be easily read on a small screen.
- Curiosity. Nothing is better for generating clicks than curiosity.
The image below uses legible text and curiosity very effectively. If you hate your job, you’re likely to click to see what you should do about it.
When it comes to designing your pins, vertical pins work better because they take up more real estate on the screen. However, Pinterest will cut off extremely tall or long pins, so don’t go overboard. Pinterest recommends 600 pixels wide and 900 pixels high, but many people use 600 x 1200 with great results as well.
It’s also helpful to include some sort of call to action. For example, the image above uses “find out” as a call to action, along with an arrow to draw attention to it.
Many Pinterest users also find that they get the best results with their own photos or photos that have been purchased from stock photo sites. Popular photos on free sites like Pixabay and Pexels tend to get used in the creation of a lot of pins, so avoiding those photos can help to get more exposure for your pins.
Let’s take a look at a few other pins that show excellent examples of design.
The image below uses the text “how do you compare” to generate curiosity and entice clicks.
The pin below uses bright colors and excellent design to stand out.
When you upload a pin, you’ll also be able to add a description. Again, this is another place where you’ll want to add keywords. Use the methods shown above to find suggested keywords and also include any keywords that you think people might search for. You can also use hashtags if you’d like.
Now that you have optimized your profile, designed your pin, and created the pin description, the final detail is where and when to pin it.
You can pin items to multiple boards. There is no limit, but Pinterest doesn’t like to see the same pins being pinned over and over again, so don’t go overboard. It’s perfectly normal to pin your new content to a few different boards, but try to space them out and add some other pins in between.
Pinning to Your Own Boards
As I mentioned earlier, your boards can (and should) include some crossover. Having some crossover in your board topics means that you will be able to add your pin to at least a few different boards, which can help to increase circulation and visibility of your pins, which leads to more traffic.
Pinterest recommends pinning new content to the most relevant board, which helps Pinterest to know exactly what it is about. For example, if you have a blog post on WordPress plugins you may have multiple boards where it could be pinned, but you’d want to start with the most specific one. If you have boards titled “WordPress Plugins”, “WordPress”, and “Web Development”, you’d want to pin this content to the “WordPress Plugins” board first since it is the most specific.
Most bloggers have a “Best of” board, for example “Best of the Vandelay Design Blog”, where they pin only content from their own blog. Your other boards like “WordPress” may include pins from your own site as well as from other sites. Since your “best of” board will not be the most specific, it’s recommended that you pin it somewhere else first.
Exactly how frequently you can pin the same content is up for debate, but factors like how much other content you are pinning can also play a role. In general, never pin the same thing to the same board more than once per day. I recommend pinning the same content to any board no more than a few times per day, otherwise it could be seen as spam, and Pinterest does close accounts that are suspected of spam.
Pinning to Group Boards
After you’ve pinned your content to your own boards, you can also pin it to group boards. Any board on Pinterest can have multiple users who are allowed to pin to that board. Some users set up group boards and other uses (like you) can be invited or can request to join.
Group boards can be great, especially for newer Pinterest users, because they can significantly expand your reach. People following the group board may see your pin, even if they are not following you.
Several years ago, group boards were a really easy way to get traffic. As that approach has been abused, Pinterest has adjusted the algorithm. Although group boards don’t have as much power for generating traffic as they had in the past, they still can be effective.
However, getting added to group boards can take some time and effort. You can use a directory like Pin Groupie to find relevant group boards, but be aware that many of them are overrun with requests to join and your success rate will be fairly low.
There are also a number of Facebook groups related to Pinterest or specifically Pinterest group boards, and these can be excellent resources for getting added to some group boards. Just search for Pinterest groups on Facebook and you’ll find several.
Networking is also one of the best ways to get added to group boards. If you’re well connected with other bloggers in your niche, they’ll be much more likely to add you to their board.
When to Pin
Timing can be important. The best time to pin will depend on your subject and specifically the people that are following you. Tailwind is an excellent tool that offers a lot of helpful features, including data on the best times for you to pin, when your content will get maximum exposure. With just a click of the mouse, Tailwind will automatically create a schedule for you, based on the best times to pin.
This has been a very quick look at a detailed topic, but hopefully it gives you enough information to get started with Pinterest. For bloggers, there’s no better source of traffic outside of Google. Getting the best results with Pinterest can take a little bit of time, but if you stick with it, you’ll see the results. And even if you already get decent traffic from other sources, Pinterest can help to add some diversity.