How To Do Pinterest (Last Updated 2020)

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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 but my Pinterest game is stronger in 2020 than it has been in years. I’m happy to share what I’ve figured out.

Pinterest has changed over the years, 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.

How to do Pinterest

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 2020 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.  We have a post on making money from 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. I’ve had a hotel chain reach out to me via Pinterest and offer us work. It happens.

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 image, text, title and 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.

The above is received wisdom I’ve read elsewhere. I can’t say for sure if it’s true. It does not explain why some of my very best pins have almost no image at all, they’re just a big text overlay obscuring a random photo of trees or flowers. My advice to you would be to try both ways, on each post. Also try pins with no text at all, just a pinnable, beautiful image. Do it all ( plus video pins) and something will take, hopefully.

Another piece of received wisdom I picked up from an expensive, bought e-book is this. 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. I disagree, see below.

The above is absolute hogwash. Pin your pins to your best boards, your highest performing boards first – so long as they are relevant. If your pin is on Lhasa Tibet and you have a very quiet board on that topic, don’t pin it there. Pin it to your high-performing Asia Travel board instead or your blog’s “home” board. Monitor the impressions each new pin gets in the first few hours. You’ll soon see where is best to pin your new pins.

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.

Your boards should cover every aspect of it’s topic. So, say your board is “Australia Travel,” pin every state, destination, style of pin ( so long as it’s good and popular) and pin often. Every day, round the clock, being mindful of time zones and optimal pinning times. This is why you absolutely DO need Tailwind, looping and tribes. But they must be set up right. If you don’t have Tailwind yet, get it now, here. I think you get a discount from signing up through me.

“They” say that anything small will be ignored on Pinterest. Pinterest says that we shouldn’t pin overly long pins. My long, brand new pins are performing very well, today in June 2020. So I’m calling hogwash on this too. 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. Pit your text in the middle on over-long pins, otherwise it can be cropped out.

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. These days you need brand-new fresh pins every single day. Keep making them for old posts as well as your new content. Each post should have multiple pins. Space them out and pin them at optimal times for their target countries. With travel lockdown right now and local travel being the only possibility for many of us, this is super important.

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, so long as they have a huge volume of content and pins. I don’t have enough. I’d say that today I’m pinning about 60% other people’s pins and Pinterest is improving for me, even during the global crisis.

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.

The majority of your boards will have mixed content, yours and other people’s. You can choose if you’d like it to be photography based or blog post based. I find a mix of both works best so long as SEO is good.

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 fresh pin then go to my stream, find an amazing image, and pin it. Once you’ve pinned a box may 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, stolen pins or pins selling courses and ignore them.

Pinterest likes fresh content best. If you follow the figures under each pin you’ll see that this is screamingly obvious.

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.

If you can’t be on Pinterest, for instance, when you’re asleep or travelling, be sure to have your Tailwind queue full. Get Tailwind here, you absolutely do need it. For me, being in lockdown in Australia means I’m totally in the wrong timezone for Americans. Use your scheduler to pin for them in their evenings. If you use Tailwinds auto-schedule creator, check the times it picks for you. For me this auto feature sabotaged my Pinterest game as a global pinner.

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 officially be 600 x 900 ( or 800 x 1200 ). Your average Pinterest user will just pin stuff they see and like.

Create image only photography pins, pins with descriptive keyword rich text, pins with spammy clickbait text and video pins. Monitor their success ( the numbers under each pin as well as your Pinterest traffic in Google Analytics under Aquisition, Social) and see which is working best.

The Better Way to Pin Your Stuff

Thai Food for Beginners pin

This is one of my oldest and best pins, with tens of thousands of repins. It’s not perfect, it’s not even good, but it’s proven a success. Most of my best pins are very imperfect according to the Pinterest rules.

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. Other times a stunning image will go crazy. Sometimes a gross image goes crazy, I have one of cooked bats that people love.

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. My extra long pins are still performing well.

Clickbaity 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. People will still steal your pins though. Stolen pins are a problem, if you find one, report it and Pinterest will delete it.

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 Adobe Spark Post and Snapseed. 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, how popular your account or board is 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? For general travel I go for the US evening. For Australia specific travel I go for the evening in Australia and also, the evening in the US. US travellers will return to Australia eventually.

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. Pin to all of your boards regularly.

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 at optimal times to popular boards works effectively for my own fresh pins. That’s hand pinning and spending time on Pinterest, in person. For other people’s pins I mostly use Tailwind.

GET A SCHEDULING TOOL, or TWO. Get Tailwind here.


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. Just saying.

The First Pins Of The Day

A year or so back, Pinterest said that your first 5 pins of the day, with midnight GMT being the reset time, were most important and would get more views. They later backtracked on this, probably because everyone was pinning at 1 minute past midnight.

There’s still something funky going on with this and I’ve not figured it out yet. My first one or two pins always do better. Space your fresh pins out is all I can offer for now.

Group Boards

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 plenty 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. The popularity of the board, with group boards and your own boards, is key.

Tip: Search ” boards” in Pinterest search for your topic. If the first board that appears for, say, “Nepal” is a group board – draw your own conclusions as to which boards are best. But remember that just like Google, not everyone will see the same results on Pinterest. If you search “Nepal” let me know if my board comes up first. Thanks.

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 along with just closely following my Pinterest notifications to see which boards are performing.

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.

This is something I read in the expensive e-book I paid for. I don’t think it’s true. The theory is that 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. Like I said, this one is a big old nope for me.

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 26,000 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 good 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

Back to our Blogging Section for more thoughts on how to make money travel blogging. I make between $5,000 and $10,000 (US – pre-virus) a month, it’s a good income, but not stellar. You could too.

If you'd like to hire a car during your stay, use this car rental comparison tool to find the best deal!

We also suggest you take a look at this company to get a quote for all kinds of the more tricky adventure or extended travel insurance.

Try Stayz / VRBO for an alternative way to find rentals on homes/apartments/condos in any country!

About the author
Alyson Long
Alyson Long is a British medical scientist who jumped ship to chase dreams. A former Chief Biomedical Scientist at London's West Middlesex Hospital she started in website creation and travel writing in 2011. Alyson is a full-time blogger and travel writer, a published author, and owns several websites. World Travel Family is the biggest. A lifetime of wanderlust and over 6 years of full-time travel, plus a separate 12 month gap year, has given Alyson and the family some travel expert smarts to share with you on this world travel site. Today Alyson still travels extensively to update this site and continue her mission to visit every country, but she's often at home on her farm in Australia.

40 thoughts on “How To Do Pinterest (Last Updated 2020)”

  1. Hi Alyson!

    Love your blog, I have been following you for a while and have used lots of your advice over the last year.
    Pinterest is soooo frustrating. YouTube, Pinterest pins, and almost every blog have some sort of Pinterest strategy, but none of it has worked for me.

    I made fresh pins and shared other people’s popular pins, pinning to all my relevant boards, and optimized my SEO for what people had been searching.

    Between March and August I had about 50 clicks to my website with almost 100% bounce rate and a total viewing time of about 2 minutes (all clicks combined!) Most were 0.00 visits.

    Most of my pins have zero impressions, so Pinterest isn’t even giving them a chance. I swear it’s a crapshoot!

    Glad to hear you will be back on the road soon!

    • I don’t use Pinterest at all anymore Celeste. I’ve cancelled Tailwind about a year ago, maybe more. I barely even make pins for new posts. This post is old, I don’t think there will be anything useful in it for Pinterest in 2021. People, big pinners, are giving up and leaving. There’s talk of new Pinterest like platforms, hopefully, they’ll launch soon. Best of luck!

  2. Hi Alyson,

    Thank you so much for this amazing read! I’m a travel blogger too and struggle a lot with Tailwind’s Smart Schedule, cause I keep switching between an European and an American schedule trying to find the optimal times and none of them work. Did you create a fully custom schedule?

    • I’ve totally stopped using Tailwind since just before Christmas and things are up. When I was living in the UK and used to post to Pinterest every morning around 4am GMT, I had great results. Hopping all over the world it was difficult. I’m in Australia now and about 2am here is the best time for me, it seems, which is about 8, 9 pm UK time. You’ve just got to experiment until you find what’s best. And do it from hand pinning, not Tailwind. And yes, the smart scheduler was rubbish for me. I made my own, but Tailwind – nope. I won’t buy it again. Sorry, this post is very old.

  3. Hello Alyson,

    I read your posts from 2017 and updates in 2018, 2019 and 2020. As a Pinterest user with an account in the top 1,000 in the world with up to 5 million monthly visitors (60 million a year) and several group boards in the top 100 in the world (5,000 repins a week), I can probably speak from experience.

    In your 2019 post you said, “Every “Expert” thinks they know what works.”
    For the short term, every expert can achieve a degree of success with a given methodology, but every expert I have seen has not been consistent in achieving long term results. Those that are most successful in almost all disciplines do not reveal their niche secrets. Pinterest is dynamic in that the algorithm changes and following shifts in your metrics is important. There are also accounts on Pinterest given special status that receive benefits regardless of what they do, like those that pin once a month and have 1 million followers.

    Which brings me to the point that when you find something that works well for you and share it, through expanded use, it becomes much less effective.

    Since the beginning, the objective for Pinterest has been to monetize. That means if your objective is to use Pinterest as a free resource to generate income, you are at odds with Pinterest. As you game the system, Pinterest finds ways to close those loops. A large majority of impressions in user feeds is given to paid users. I have no problem with this as without revenue, Pinterest would cease to exist; it is a business after all.

    Here is a secret that will give you traffic, visibility and consistent growth. If you stop attempting to promote yourself from within Pinterest and Promote yourself on Pinterest from outside Pinterest, you will not have to rely on the Pinterest algorithm. Your mention of Tailwind groups, putting smart pins on your blogs are two great examples. Facebook groups are also an excellent way of driving buyers to your Pinterest account.

    Last of all, as with all social media, develop relationships. Having 20,000 followers is irrelevant if you have never interacted with them. Strong Pinterest accounts develop clusters of interactive supporters. From experience, people are hungry for connections.

    Keep in mind the 80/20 rule. Entertain and inform 80% of the time and sell 20% of the time. You will gain a large audience if people think that you are not engaging them to sell them.

    I am not an “expert”, but my account has had 500,000 repins, and my pins get 10,000-60,000 impressions, 1,000 repins and often 100 comments.

    I enjoy your posts. Thank you.

    • I’m not selling anything though Marc. I’m not sure what you mean by promote yourself from outside Pinterest. I’ve actually stopped using it entirely now. It’s time better spent elsewhere. And you’re right, those selling “secrets”, like a top chef selling recipes, never sell their real secrets, The same as I have some SEO secrets I never jump in to share when I see others hunding out dud advice. There’s plenty of that around and I’ve fallen victim to it a few times over the years. I’m off to Google smart pins, never heard of them.

  4. Alyson thanks a lot for this useful article!
    I would like to ask question, not related to Pintrest, what Data & Cookies Content widget you use? Is it free? we need to get one and that one seems the most popular one.

    • It’s Mediavine’s own one. All Mediavine members were given it. This post is old and I haven’t updated it in a while, I hope it’s still accurate. I’ve all but stopped using Pinterest now unfortunately. The rewards : work put in ratio is just way too low for it to be worth me bothering with. Pinterest and I are no longer friends.

      • Thanks for your response Alyson! I am surprise to read about Pintrest. We are new bloggers,and started being more active on Pintrest and can see constant growth in traffic coming to our site from Pintrest (we spend about 1h a week and use only Pintrest won scheduling tool). How do you grow your traffic then? Are you focused on SEO alone or another social media? However, I guess you already have a big followers. Thanks!

        • I have 22 K Pinterest followers and that currently translates to under 200 clicks to my site per day. The post above is around 6 years old and I need to re-read it and amend most likely. I get about 9,000 clicks per day from Google so you can see how Pinterest is just not worth my time. I’m all about SEO. Both Pinterest posts on this site need fixing and revising, sorry. There are 8-900 posts on this site, they all need regular updates. As new users of course it will grow. They want you hooked and will reward you with greater reach. A new pin, from me, currently gets a reach of about 60 people. When I was working on Pinterest every day back in January I got the initial reach up to about 1.5 K. But the amount of work required to do that wasn’t worthwhile. Pinterest is very much on a back burner for me right now.

  5. Alyson,

    Thanks for the great tips! I’m working on building my blog and I know that Pinterest is a critical part of that. I would love to join your Pinterest groups and will be an avid follower in the future!

    Pura vida, Penny

  6. It’s been a few years, is Pinterest still a worthy use of time? I mean, I love it and use it, but just for fun. I’m just starting to get a blog together and other social media outlets for our travels we are starting this summer. I don’t have a following yet so want to go back and try and blog some past trips, do an intro of our family etc. I’m trying to figure out some rhyme or reason to what and when to post where. How do you manage multiple outlets? Would I post weekly vlogs if that was our main focus and then just share those everywhere else for example? And I have about 7k followers on my personal pinterest, but I have a BILLION boards and pins. Do I still convert that account or make a new account that is a business account?? I’d be starting with no followers then though right? Idk if you’ll even see this, lol. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you for all the info you share btw, I’m glad I found you!

    • Tamara we need to sit down and have a big chat about this. Start at the beginning. Keep that account, certainly, you can convert it to a business account, but we need to talk about what blogging really is, how to make money and how to start out right. You’ll be wasting your time if you don’t have a proper strategy from day 1. We’ll Skype, no problem, let me know when you have time. And yes, Pinterest brings me shed loads of traffic still, but ….I need to explain.

  7. This is a great informative post. Pinterest is something we have been really struggling with at the moment and we are slowly trying to understand it. We have heard about Rich pins but not really looked into it. We are going to follow your links and hopefully get them installed. I think your very honest about how hard it’s benefits for you to grow Pinterest but make us realise we need to put alot more work into it.

    • Pinterest is still my precious @ Finding Beyond, but it’s a lot of work and you need to make sure it’s the RIGHT work. So many people waste their time on Pinterest and never see good return. It’s still our #1 traffic bringer next to Google search despite the constant updates and changes trying to spoil it for us. Good luck.

      • It’s so hard to get things right when you are starting out but with info like this it does help us a lot. We have just changed our account to buisness and validated our pins so hoping to get the rich pins soon. We would not have done any of this without your blog so thank you very much. Now onto learning more abt it all. ????

  8. Wow, have just spend a good hour going through your website, how you find the time to do everything is amazing. I had no idea of the potential of pinterest until reading this post & exploring your pinterest site. If I could ask one question, you have a little box titled -‘thank you reading. could I ask a favour?’ at the end of each post. Love to steal the idea :-), but not sure how to do it, is it a plug-in? Great post & excellent site.

    • It’s an after post widget, designed for text. So I made the words and photo ( photo not working…no time!) into a nice looking thing in the blog’s HTML (post) editor and just pasted the HTML in. Easy!

  9. Thank you for the info! I’m so hesitant to convert my Pinterest to a business account and set up a Facebook page for my travel blog when I only have 3 followers right now. I’m working so hard to get quality posts up that it seems like even more work to promote them on Twitter, Pinterest and other social media. But perhaps I’ll give it a good shot, before we start our big travels this spring, and see what happens. I’m so glad I stumbled upon your blog! I love the advice!

    • Hi Christa, fill your blog with great posts first, really good content, great, pinnable images. Your back catalogue of old posts can be your best friend in this game and keep everything ticking over even when you’re not publishing new stuff. No point in attracting new readers if there’s nothing there to read. Good luck!

  10. I am working on (more like struggling with little success) on taking our Pinterest to the next level and find this post so very helpful! It’s the 4th time I have read it now and keep on incorporating little by little…as you said, it all takes a lot of time and hard work! Thanks for sharing such great tips. Would love to be added to the two boards food and travel board as well as the one for travel bloggers. For some reason can’t find your email address on website? Thanks so much ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Thanks! It’s on the contact/work with us page. I keep adding to this post as I work out new things. My traffic is growing incredibly ( 33K to 46K in under a month and still rising) since I got Pinterest nailed, love it! I’ve got you, will look at adding you to the group boards.

  11. Really like this post, very helpful. I think people getting a bit jaded with facebook and twitter and Pinterest a lot more fun – and almost a work of art in progress!
    Frank (bbqboy)

    • I know, I love it Frank! But it takes so much time, going back and Pinterizing old posts and cleaning up my boards. Hopefully soon it will allgo into autopilot and just keep ticking over while we’re on the cruise ship. I’m seeing great results.

  12. I can so relate to how this stuff is a total time suck. I constantly feel torn between the challenge of seeing what I can accomplish with various online projects I’m working on, and taking a break to just relax and enjoy life with my family… And yeah, the desire to make money is obviously there too since let’s face it, a stream of money coming in just makes things easier and gives you more options…

    Social media can be fun sometimes, but if doing it just to get more followers etc, it becomes a massive drain on time, and, dare I say it, feels like WORK. And the whole point of this whole leave-the-rat-race-behind-to-travel thing is to do less WORK and have more time for enjoyable pursuits after all, right?

    I wish I had a clone. One could be the family girl who just focuses purely on her kids, hubby, and some me-time sprinkled in. The other could go all out and see how far she could go with the online projects. Yes, that would be perfect ๐Ÿ™‚ And is never gonna happen haha

  13. Great to read your perspective on this since I’m in a similar position to you on this blogging journey.

    I’ve recently started focusing on Pinterest and want to use it well for both my benefit and that of my followers. Like you, I’ve heard great things about it and want to reap some of that benefit.

    Thanks for sharing your experience and I hope you don’t lose too many hours pinning! ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. Great post!!! These are really helpful tips. Thanks so much. And, thanks for your honesty on the whole vicious cycle that is social media. Love it, hate it, think you need it… It’s not a terrible thing as long as you control it and don’t let it control you.

  15. I have a twitter and a pinterest account but have not updated neither in a long time. I don’t have facebook and don’t want it. I got a blog that I might post once or twice a month and it’s already too time consuming. Like you I figured it out that it’s way too stressful and ridiculous to do this social media/ blogging thing for money or traffic rankings. I post my blog for people like myself that are out there looking for help with homeschooling or any other theme that interests them. I love to read your blog because we are interested in traveling and planning for it. It’s good to have people out there to inspire us. BUT it’s really important for us to stay TRUE to ourselves and not follow the herd. ๐Ÿ™‚

  16. Wonderful! I have just read your intro aloud to Hubby and we totally agree. This is the second article that we have read this week which has caused us to take a good hard look at why and how we are blogging (The other was by ‘AngloItalian Follow Us’ by the way, and about Travel Writing, I think you’d like it if you haven’t seen it already). We are really enjoying sharing our experiences through blogging, but the business of it all has left us cold. I think when bloggers start to focus on the business of it all, it shows in their writing. Keeping it real is far more interesting and will earn you the readers that truly want to share the experience with you. Keep up the great work!

  17. Have always loved your honesty and courage. Go rock London with those beautiful boys of yours. xo

  18. Good on you Alyson

    It really takes a lot to just walk away and then walk away some more

    You cannot live with a stiff neck, sore eyes, tired body, cranky and worn out with repetitive strain injury on top of it all either.

    I am trying to lessen my time even on Facebook and it’s hard. It really can make my body feel sick, tired, anxious, addicted and not be out in the fresh air and sunshine.

    I hope to still read all your real-life travel stories. I lasted on Pinterest for about 2 days and left the whole thing well alone. I’ve never touched Twitter and even hate Skype. I have the same 15 year old nokia phone and just don’t need the latest and greatest gadgets to get by,

    So onwards and upwards dear woman. Look after your health and sanity before your wealth and enjoy your family and the world.

    Love Kym

  19. Thanks for the Pinterest tips. I really should get on to that but even Facebook is exhausting. I applaud the work you’ve done so far but from my own struggles I realise it must have taken hours and hours of time you’d rather spend with your sons and husband to get your blog to the level it’s at now and so it is completely understandable wanting to stop the noise!
    Your blog is a great inspiration regardless.

  20. I, for one, will be following your blog with more interest from now on ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ve angsted over all this stuff, though I was lucky enough not to let it get too out of hand, and I don’t have kids to worry about. I’ve been a reader of travel blogs for over ten years, and over time I’ve regretted the demise of blogs which “tell a story,” despite “storytelling” being the buzz word right now (getting right up there with “passion.”). I used to enjoy following along with someone’s journey, or learning about life in their particular country, but almost I come across these days is “top ten tips” or “what to do in XXXXX” which is not what I read for enjoyment, nor what I want to write. I do want to hear about people’s stories and experiences, and look forward to following yours, now. Before, to be honest, yours was simply another blog I rarely had time to actually read.

  21. Of course I love it when people take time to read my posts and great when they comment on them. Am I commercially motivated? Not very. Blogging has been part therapy, part learning and a lot of fun, it is the tech annoys me most often (that is the learning bit) as you well know Alyson. I am getting into Pinterest, you and others have encouraged me, again, I am well aware that as you get a older that learning new things is good for the brain, and I like having friends across an age range, (also good for your mental well being). Do I need to be blogger of the year? Think about money all the time. No. And Alyson, you are right, it was all about the kids for you. But please don’t stop blogging and inspiring us to travel. Pushing us out of our comfort zone, and being a critical friend. Because you are very good at all of those. Thank you for sharing the ups and downs, and most of us who read your blog are happy to share and share, because, and this is the only reason I share, because they are a good read and contain good information.

  22. I came to a similar conclusion a while back. I mostly write about real things I’ve done and real places I’ve visited. I do use social media but haven’t put much effort into it. Life is too short.


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