Around the globe 250 million individuals use Pinterest every month (source). My account was in the top 20,000 accounts according to Board Booster before that tool was banned. I was pretty pleased with that. Today I’m totally re-writing this post, it’s years old. I wrote it back when I was getting almost 1,000 clicks to my website every day from Pinterest. I don’t get that now, Pinterest has changed, but the basics of Pinterest below and a few tips and tricks should help you get started with creating your business Pinterest account and growing your Pinterest Traffic.
Pinterest is still my number 1 source of social media traffic. But it’s not what it was for me.
Pinterest changes the rules to keep us on our toes frequently, sometimes annoyingly. You need to stay on top of changes, read, listen to podcasts and tap into the brains of the Pinterest experts. But be warned, what Pinterest says, what Tailwind says, what Pinterest expert a says and what Pinterest expert b says can be entirely different.
This is updated for Pinterest in 2019 but huge changes are happening daily. Pinterest is incredibly hard to predict. Taking some or all of these ideas and tips to your blog or business could help your traffic, they will certainly help you get Pinterest set up.
How to Do Pinterest & Pinterest Tips
I’m presuming you’ve already registered, set up your profile and started creating boards. Lets just take it from there. You must be sure to validate your blog, Pinterest sends you reminders to do this.
What is the Aim of Pinterest?
This is the reality of Pinterest. It’s advertising. As a bloggers your aim is to :
1. Get as many new people to your blog as possible via your pins ( and hope they stick around to become followers) to increase traffic to make more money from ads or affiliate sales.
2. To collect as many followers as possible to impress sponsors and increase reach of future pins although number of followers is no longer nearly as important in determinging the success of a pin. It’s actually pretty unimportant these days.
3. To get people to repin your beautiful pins on Pinterest to spread brand awareness and generate even more traffic and facilitate 1 and 2.
4. You can also use Pinterest to generate more affiliate income directly.
5. Mingling, networking, outreach, making friends and brand awareness.
Making the pretty pins is fun and creative and you can make good contacts through Pinterest, but in the real, cold, hard world this is why we use it, business.
The beauty of Pinterest is that it’s longer lasting than your activity on other social media platforms, a Tweet is an instant hit, a pin can actively bring you traffic forever. A viral pin can bring you masses of traffic over months or years. I still have viral pins from the early days of Pinterest that out-perform all new pins.
You Need to Get a Business Account, Register for Rich Pins and Add Pin-It Buttons
Pinterest actually requires businesses to have a business account. It’s very easy to make the switch by following Pinterest’s own instructions.
Rich Pins, complete with your blog’s favicon make a big difference in increasing your Pinterest visibility. They put your blog’s name and logo directly under your images. If you follow the usual instructions, things become a little complex as coding is involved. There is a very easy way to do it, can read how here. If you already have the Yoast SEO plugin installed ( we recommend this), there is a great shortcut.
Once rich pins and the favicon were up and running, I saw a significant increase in traffic to my blog from Pinterest.
Equipping your blog with “pin it” buttons is also a good idea, just follow Pinterest’s instructions. OR set up a site-wide, hover-to-pin option using Social Pug. This this kick-ass plugin is the model I prefer for many reasons, I used to recommend Social Warfare but recent problems with that plugin made me switch to Social Pug. The transition was seamless and all my specified pins and descriptions just flipped over to the Pug.
Pinterest for business also makes it easy for you to add Pinterest widgets ( click-through to build) in a shape to suit its location, after post, sidebar or header. These do, however, increase your page load time so I’m no longer using them.
Pinterest is a Search Engine
This is a vital thing to get your head around. Pinterest is a search engine and, just like Google, relies on SEO. So stop right here if you don’t know what SEO is and go read up on it.
Your pin’s SEO starts with the file name of your image ( Pinterest has said this doesn’t matter, but it does for your website, so do it anyway), continues with its alt tag, is affected by the SEO of the actual post and most certainly by the pin description that you set. This is an SEO game first and foremost. Hash tags are now used on Pinterest, previously they weren’t.
But there is another dimension to Pinterest SEO, Pinterest “sees” your image and tries to guess as to its SEO. So try to make Pinterest’s job easier by making the image a fairly easy to recognise place or theme AND “teach” Pinterest what your pin is about.
Tell Pinterest what your pin is about by at first, only pinning it to strongly relevant boards. So if your pin is ” Vietnam with Kids” , ideally, pin it to a “Vietnam with Kids” board. If you don’t have one try a “Vietnam” board or a “Travel With Kids” board. Avoid the big dumping ground generalist boards particularly in the early days of a pin’s life.
Which brings us to board and account SEO, yes, your boards and your account as a whole can be SEO’d up to the hilt with their descriptions and categories. All of this information helps Pinterest categorise you and your pins.
What to Pin.
Don’t just pin your own stuff, make useful boards with great SEO
You are the curator of your boards and you want them to look amazing, be useful and appeal to as many people as possible. Pin things that are beautiful, striking, funny or informative, depending on the board. Your pins should stop scrollers in their tracks and make them go “WOW”. Anything average will be ignored on Pinterest.
Anything small will be ignored on Pinterest just as effectively. Remember that most people will see your pins in a teeny tiny mobile phone feed. Make the text big, clear, eye catching and ultra descriptive.
Your board is more likely to be found if it is well stocked with a lot of good quality pins. Pinterest needs to know that you are a good curator, work hard at that. You’ll pin a mixture of your own and other people’s good quality pins. Consider the SEO as well as the look and quality of the pin.
Don’t be afraid to repin your old posts, or to add new Pinterest images to old posts, this is where the magic really happens. Keep your work appearing at the top of feeds and boards to reach fresh eyes. I would recommend setting up a spread sheet to stay on top of your pinning.
Avoid looking spammy or swamping boards.
Around one third your pins to two thirds other people’s is generally recommended but I don’t think this is nearly as important as SEO and clear pins. A lot of pinners have success with pinning only their own content – which makes a lot of sense to me.
Some of your boards will contain only your own work. For example, your first board MUST be your blog or business board, showcasing your work to people discovering your account for the first time. You can use the Pinterest’s drag and drop ” move” feature to keep your best performing or most profitable pins at the top of the page where they’ll reach the most eyes.
Some of your boards will have mixed content, yours and other people’s. You can choose if you’d like it to be phtography based or blog post based. I find a mix of both works best so long as SEO is constant.
At least one of your boards could be a group board. Grow it and invite other pinners to collaborate so that over time applicants to this board will become a new source of traffic. Join other good group boards. Pinterest says these are less important these days but I’m not seeing much evidence of this, just stay off the ” dumping ground” group boards.
Where to Find Pins to Populate Your Boards
Anywhere! When I go onto Pinterest I always start with my stream, find an amazing image and pin it. Once you’ve pinned a box will pop up “also pinned to”. If that board appeals I’ll go there too, explore, like a few, pin a few, comment until another “also pinned to” notice appears that I love, then I go there and repeat the process. Pinterest is like a paper trail through a wonderful, amazing world, pick up what you like and share it with your audience and future audience.
Finding new pins is recommended, if you come across a webpage that’s just begging to be pinned, go ahead, pin it. If you’re first and it’s stunning it could lead to a snowstorm of repins and new followers.
Always be very wary of copyright. Never remove credits.
Try to find pins that link to original sources, you need to build a reputation as a reliable pinner. Sniff out scam pins or pins selling courses and ignore them.
Pinterest likes fresh content best.
Make Yourself as Visible as Possible
I always tell the kids that what I’m doing on social media is shouting “LOOK AT ME!”.
And it’s true.
The more you’re there, interacting, commenting, liking, pinning and repinning, the more you’ll get noticed. Pinterest gives preference in search results to regular users. Be on Pinterest ( not on a sceduler) as often as you can, daily, consistently. Consistent Pinterest use gives you higher reach, I’ve seen it happen and seen reach drop after an absence.
Naming Your Boards
Simple seems best, people often search Pinterest by board, so they’re more likely to search for “Sri Lanka” than “The Magical Isle of Lanka”, if you see what I mean. That said, be smart, scope out the competition and again, SEO is king.
Pinterest will like your board more if you fill out all the information, so don’t forget the description for each board. The more Pinterest likes you, the higher in Pinterest’s search results you will appear.
Your descriptions for boards and pins should contain key words, they need good SEO. Don’t forget, Pinterest is basically a search engine. People use it to find information, inspiration and ideas.
Pinning Your Own Stuff
Do not just pin every landscape orientated image from your blog posts. It looks rubbish and, again, will be ignored. But DO try to get a variety of images from each post onto Pinterest. Just make them big enough and vary the descriptions to contain different keywords and hash tags. Remember that it’s only bloggers who ” know” that a pin must be 600 x 900 ( or 800 x 1200 ). Your average Pinterest user will just pin stuff they see and like.
The Better Way to Pin Your Stuff
This is one of my oldest and best pins, with tens of thousands of repins. It’s not perfect, but it’s proven a success. Most of my best pins are very imperfect.
Tall and skinny looks best on Pinterest. Tall and skinny gets repins because it stands out in the Pinterest format. If you want people to click through to your post, not just repin it, you need to tell them that this is what they need. You can either put text on your pin or leave it as a plain stunning image, both can work. I’ve A/B tested the same pin, one with text, one without, the one with the text was pinned more times.
Pinterest has said publically that it now prefers pins that are 600 x 900 pixels and that overly-long pins can be truncated or penalised. But keep up to date on this because Pinterest is notorious for moving goal posts.
If you put words all over your pin “Click here for the most amazing post on the subject you’re most interested in!” or ” You need to read this post to change your life!” would work well, but could be disastrous for your bounce rate. So stay honest. Put big, clear words on the picture to describe the post, but make it as exciting as possible and an honest reflection of the post and its SEO.
File names, alt tags and keywords in meta descriptions all play a role in putting your pin at the top of the listings. Try to make sure every image on your site has every field completed optimally.
Your images should ideally have your watermark or blog name on them. Consistent branding is always a good idea, even for Pinterest. Something I’m guilty of not doing.
The ideal size for a pin, as recommended by Canva ( a free design tool with pre-made Pinterest templates) is 735 x 1102 px. Canva looks great but I use PicMonkey, another free design tool. These exact dimensions are only a guideline. ( these dimensions are now 600 by 900 or 800 x 1200)
The Text Bit
Beneath every image there is a text box, here is your chance to sell your post and your blog. Grab people’s attention, give them a reason to visit your blog and become a follower. Think of every pin as an advertisement.
Pinterest does now like #tags
Linking to Your Post
If you pin directly from your post the link is automatically inserted. If you pin by uploading your own image, you need to go to “edit” and paste in the URL in the box at the bottom.
Getting Your Pins in Front of Maximum Eyes.
There are 3 factors here, timing and number of followers and being good at Pinterest to start with, ie. Pinterest has to like you.
Timing is hard, if, like me, you have followers right around the globe. Evenings and weekends are best for Pinterest, but who’s evening? Australia or the US? At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter that a large proportion of my existing followers are Australian, its new followers that I want and they’ll probably come from group boards, so I go for the US. There are more people in the US.
Best times are reported to be :
Midweek 2-4 pm and 10-11 am
Evenings 8-11 pm
Saturday Morning 9-11 am
Sundays are best for me, by a very long way. The Sunday boom flows through into Monday too.
Don’t pin everything at once, try to space out your pins and alternate the types of pins you’re sharing, make one about food, one about Asia, one about the UK and so on. That way you have more chance of appealing to someone. somewhere, but stay broadly within your niche, don’t skip about too much.
Scheduling pins makes a big difference, particularly as I sleep while America is online. Tailwind is only $10-15/ month, Board Booster s $5 per month. ( Board Booster no longer exists). Both allow me to pin round the clock.
UPDATE: Manual pinning still works very effectively and is possibly better than using a scheduling tool, but who has the time? If I spend an hour a day on Pinterest I see excellent results in traffic but I need to be pinning around the clock. Over the years I’ve used Board Booster ( no longer exists) alone and recently Tailwind alone. I’ve come to the conclusion that you need both to really maximise Pinterest’s potential . They do two different things. Board Booster is ” set it and forget it”, Tailwind is more of a time suck. Tailwind is a pretty big outlay, around $120/year but it’s incredibly versatile, allows unlimited pins and gives you in depth insights and analytics. Board Booster is simpler, faster and cheaper. Using the two together is genius but no not neglect hand pinning and spending time on Pinterest, in person.
GET A SCHEDULING TOOL, or TWO
Tailwind, Our links give you a big discount, click through for details.
Board Booster, NO LONGER EXISTS. SORRY.
I had a VA that I was training up to take over my Pinterest account. Before I’d even finished training her properly I’d paid her more than the Tailwind plus Board Booster outlay.
Group Boards can be your best friend on Pinterest. Even though Pinterest has publically said that Group Boards are no longer the be all and end all, I still get most traffic from these groups. Find the good ones and follow the joining instructions under the board title. Look for very specific group boards with good SEO rather than huge dumping ground general group boards. Boards with fewer pinners tend to be better than those with hundreds of pinners.
I’ve noticed that group boards followed by real people, rather than just bloggers, bring me a lot more traffic. Try to be selective. Some group boards are totally useless. I use Board Booster’s or Tailwind’s own stats to figure out which perform best for me.
If you’d like to join my group boards, get in touch.
You MUST repin from these group boards too. Pinterest needs to know that these boards are strong, reputable boards and it judges that by activity and interraction, So if you pin TO a board, pin from it too, seriously, pin 10 pins from it, you’ll only be helping yourself and the other pinners in the group.
Group Sharing Threads
Group Sharing Threads are of questionable value. If you’re just starting out use them, for sure, you will gain followers and spread your pins wider. I don’t really use them anymore because I don’t want to clog up my personal feed with pins I don’t really like or want to pin that may have bad SEO or not fit on any of my boards. You will find plenty of sharing groups for bloggers in your niche on Facebook. Some bloggers who do well on Pinterest swear by these groups. They don’t work for me.
Viralwoot formerly Pinwoot
Viralwoot is a tool for growing followers, targeting repins and scheduling. I used it in the early days to rapidly increase my following and I’ve considering upgrading to the paid service for scheduling. However, the followers you get here are “fake” in that they have no real interest in your work. They’re just repinning to get more repins of their own. Think about what you want. Your time is probably better spent working out a “real” way to become a Pinterest Ninja. I have not included an affiliate link here to Viralwoot because I no longer use it, so that would be dishonest.
Pinterest Likes Popular Pins, So Find the Most Popular
Each time your pin is repinned a new version is created. Some of those versions will be unloved, some may be pinned 10,000 times. If you want to repin that pin to a group board, do it from the version of the pin that has been pinned 10,000 times. This pin is pre-loved, it has a good reputation in Pinterest and it will be shown to more eyeballs.
To find this most loved pin either use Google Analytics ( Go into Aquisition for Pinterest and use Secondary Dimension to find the URL of the pin sending you the most clicks) OR use Pinterest’s own search function. If your pin is called ” Thailand with Kids” search that and the most popular version of your pin should come up. I’ve tested this a couple of times and it has worked but check it for yourself a few times too, see if the 2 methods bring up the same pin for you.
Pinterest Experts and Strategies
One thing I’ve noticed that is so, so frustrating, is that each Pinterest expert has a different Pinterest strategy. Every blogger who finds themself with Pinterest success – and that could be down to pure luck and viral pins – writes a guide. I’ve read books, taken courses, picked brains and researched and no 2 people seem to do Pinterest the same way.
If you’re a new Pinterest user, start making pins for every post, be on Pinterest every day, stay consistent, you will see Pinterest traffic. Is there a magic way to grow Pinterest traffic – I don’t think so. If there is I haven’t found it yet.
Create Content for Pinterest
This is, absolutely, a big factor in Pinterest success. As a travel blogger you need to be creating the pins that large numbers of people, particularly Americans, want. So a guide to London, or Disney or Cruises will do better than a hotel review or a guide to Tibet, for instance.
I like creating content about Tibet and off the regular holiday track places, so that’s one reason I don’t do so well on Pinterest.
Keep your destinations big and broad and entice clicks with a touch of click bait.
Use the Move Button
Use the Move button, top left of your home page, to keep your own pins at the top of any group boards you manage. That way new visitors will see your pins first and are more likely to save them. When I visit a new board I rarely look at more than the first few rows. Your pins need to be at the top. Do this daily if necessary.
But remember that people visiting boards isn’t a huge thing, Pinterest search and the feed are more important.
Less Social Media More Family Travel
I’ve put too much time into Pinterest but I did see real results. We now have around 25,000 followers.I’ve put in a lot of hours to make this happen, it wouldn’t have been possible if we were on the road travelling full-time and there are no real shortcuts or cheats other than hiring a Pinterest VA.
I’m very glad we’re getting back to the full-time travel soon after this stationary period and I hope my followers, readers and friends will be along for the ride. We have a passion for travel, it’s still there and we will continue to try and share that passion and encourage others to get out and have adventures. I still enjoy blogging, I’m not going to stop, but my online time will nose-dive soon as I spend more time exploring and with my boys. I’m glad I got all this set up while we were stationary.
The real world is far more interesting than Twitter ( I totally didn’t get Twitter, but it’s starting to make more sense now) so I’ll take the foot off the throttle for a while at least. Good luck with Pinterest, it’s a great tool and lots of fun.
Did you sign up to follow our journey and get more blogging updates? Did you follow our Pinterest Blogging Tips board? It’s a great resource as Pinterest is always my first stop if I want to learn something new. I’m personally checking every pin for its usefulness, look for my comments. I also have some great boards about my kitchen and tropical gardening – I do use Pinterest as a personal user too.
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