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Last updated: December, 2020
Yes, I finally cracked the code to the secret of gaining traffic from Pinterest. Best of all? I can actually call Pinterest my number one traffic source!
I am not going to lie, it took me a while to get accustomed to Pinterest and learn everything that I know now about it. I read blog posts, I read reports, I read e-books, I attended webinars and took free online courses.
So for all of you who want to start driving traffic to your blog from Pinterest, you don’t need to spend a fortune on all those courses and e-books if you’ll do a bit of research yourself. Of course, if you want to find everything in one place and fast, you might need to consider buying a course or an e-book.
However, I prefer learning myself and spending as less as possible when it comes to these things. Let’s be real here, not all of us can spend $600 on courses.
By no means, I’m against online courses if anything, I love the idea and I want to create one myself one day (update 2020: still working on it!). However, if there is a way for me to learn something for free instead of paying money, you bet I will do it.
And what you see? I managed to learn a thing or two about Pinterest and use the knowledge to drive traffic to my blog without spending a single dollar. Let’s take a look at my traffic sources (from my last blog report):
As you can see, Pinterest brings me the most social traffic, even more than Twitter. The thing is that I don’t even need to spend much time on Pinterest to gain traffic. I’ve literally been inactive for a month there and it still brought me a good amount of traffic. So I think it’s safe to say that the things I know now about Pinterest are quite valuable and essential to my blog right now.
When I just started out playing around with Pinterest, I wrote in one of my newsletters (which you need to sign up for!) that I’ll be sharing everything I learned once I’ll see a difference or a proof that Pinterest works. So here I am, about to share what I did to turn Pinterest to my first traffic source.
Grab a notebook and a pen and start taking notes, my friend!
Pin for future reference!
#1 – Optimize your profile
The first thing you want to do before creating images and starting the whole pinning process is making sure that your Pinterest profile looks good. What I mean by ‘looks good’ is that:
- Your profile photo looks professional
- Your description is clear
- The content you’re pinning relates to the content you create
So, let’s take a look at each element, shall we?
Your profile photo needs to look professional, meaning that it needs to contain your face and look friendly to the audience. When a person stumbles onto your Pinterest profile, you need to leave a good impression.
And I’m afraid that a cute dog photo won’t do the deed. As cute as it may be.
Make sure that it states your name (actual name or blog name) and what you do. For example, mine says ‘The Nerdy Me | Travel blog | Budget travel tips”. Everyone who looks at my profile knows that I am a travel blogger and that I have a blog called The Nerdy Me. Sounds legit?
Now what you want to do next is write a clear and informative description of what you’re pinning and what kind of content you are producing. If you’re a travel blogger, mention what kind of travels you’re writing (e.g.: budget travel) or if you’re a foodie, what kind of recipes you’re sharing (e.g.: vegan? gluten-free?).
Let your potential followers know what kind of content they will get if they decide to follow you. But most importantly, include those keywords in your name title and in your description.
Think about it. Pinterest works as a search engine in a way (more about it later in the post). So you want to include keywords to make your account easy to find.
If a person is looking for ‘budget travel tips’, they will find my profile among search results and might even decide to follow and look through my pins (which basically equals more traffic to my blog!).
Now, it’s clear that you won’t be pinning only your own blog posts, so make sure all the boards you have are related to the content you share. If you blog about fashion, lifestyle and beauty, people follow you for those things. So don’t create food recipes or business tips boards.
If you really want them, just make those boards secret and keep them for yourself. But don’t create false hopes for your potential reader.
Or you could create those boards but keep them at the end of all your boards. The key is to keep the best – related – boards on top.
Another important element is setting a cover for your boards. It can be anything really. I opted for my blog colours and name of the board on top. This way you can see what your content is about in seconds.
Also, while creating boards, create one dedicated to your blog or website. For example, I have the first board named ‘The Best of The Nerdy Me’ in which I regularly pin all the articles that I write.
#2 – Join Pinterest Groups
Let me tell you that you need to join at least a few Pinterest groups if you want to start getting traffic from your pins more quickly. You can find what groups to join by simply having a quick scroll here.
When you join a few groups, start by pinning one or two of your images into that group. But don’t spam the group. It won’t do you any good and it won’t be appreciated by other members of that group. Remember to be polite, kind and always read rules of the group. You wouldn’t want to break a rule and be thrown out of it.
The golden rule is to pin others’ content and they will repin yours. Of course, be honest with yourself and to others, don’t repin just for the heck of it. If you genuinely like the content, repin, like or comment and you’ll most likely get a few repins yourself.
A good thing to do is to join groups that actually do have an engagement. How to know if the group is worthy to join?
Look at the number of pins on images of that group. If there are a lot of 0, you’ll be better if you skip this group. Try looking for groups with about 5-10 or more repins. That way you’ll know that the group is successful and will actually give you a bit of traffic.
#3 – Create ‘Pinworthy’ images
We all heard a word pinworthy when it comes to Pinterest. But what does it actually mean? Well, let me explain it to you.
‘Pinworthy’ image is considered when it meets the following criteria:
- The image is vertical
- The image is high quality
- The image is bold and bright
- The image is screaming ‘PIN ME!’
So, in other words, people favour more vertical, bright, bold and high-quality images than it comes to pinning. Also, it seems that warm/red toned images perform better than cold coloured ones.
The same goes for images that contain people. Pinners are more likely to pin images that don’t include people. I don’t know what’s the logic behind it but the research says it and I’d like to believe it.
But of course, these aren’t rules that you can’t break. A bit of trail and error will show you what works and what doesn’t in your niche.
I use Canva for creating all of my Pinterest images. It’s free and it is amazing for Pinterest. You can choose from many templates or simply create your own. Easy to use and super handy.
Here’re few examples of the pins I created with Canva:
The key when creating images is to always consider what might draw the attention of the Pinterest user.
Is is a beautiful photo? Is it a big and bold text? Or is it certain words that are highlighted?
It depends more on the type of content the pin is for. So have a think about it, scroll through search results of the keywords you want your pin to show up for. What others are doing? Especially the ones that are in the top search results.
I often look at competitor’s pins to see what they are doing and how I can improve or rank higher.
#4 – Write SEO friendly descriptions
SEO plays a vital part in your Pinterest success. This platform works as a search engine, so the better SEO level, the better chances are that your pins will be successful.
The first thing you want to do when uploading your Pin image in your blog posts is writing a good alt text. You can find it when you’re uploading an image or when you press an ‘edit’ button (WordPress.org).
Try to come up with a sentence or a few that will contain a lot of keywords (smart keywords to be more accurate) that relate to your article. You can use Google search bar or BuzzSumo tool to find the best keywords for your articles.
You need to include keywords in the alt text of the image, in the description of the image and in the name/title of the image. This gives you more chances of your image reaching a wider audience and being on top of the search results.
ALT text and description are super important when it comes to Pinterest because this is what will be shown on your pin. Pinterest algorithm decides what to show in search results by reading your Pin name and pin description.
So by including the right keywords users will be searching for, you ultimately optimize your chances of appearing on top of search results.
If you search ‘semester abroad’, you’ll find me in the top results.
While optimizing your pins for SEO is a huge step, don’t forget your boards. Go to each of your boards and add a detailed description of what your board is about. Don’t forget to include those keywords!
Pinterest not only looks at pin itself but at the board in which it is pinned as well. So when you pin a travel tips pin to travel tips board, you make Pinterest very happy and it knows that this tip needs to be shown to users who search ‘travel tips’.
Of course, in reality, you’d want to have even more specific keywords alongside ‘travel tips’. But you get the gist!
#5 – Pin a lot and regularly
If you want to see a significant traffic change to your blog, you need to pin a lot and regularly on Pinterest. This means that you need to spend quite a time while doing so. This is where Tailwind comes in. It is a scheduling platform that does all the work for you.
You need to spend approximately 10 minutes scheduling and Tailwind does everything else for you. It’s a life-changer, I tell you.
You can choose different pinning times, boards and even write descriptions. It’s easy to use and saves tons of time. The best part is that you can get a free month of Tailwind Plus ($15 credit) if you sign up using my link here. This way you can try it out for free!
UPDATE 2020: Pinterest now has a built-in scheduler that you can use but it has a limit of how many pins you can schedule. Now I mostly use Pinterest’s scheduler rather than Tailwind. But if you prefer to schedule more content in advance, then Tailwind is your scheduler.
When it comes to the number of pins throughout the day, I used to do 50 per day but I found out that 10-30 gives very similar results. So why do 50 when you can get the same results with only 30?
So Pinterest experts say that you need to always use 80/20 rule which basically means that you need to share 80% others content and only 20% your own.
So I did that for a while. But I noticed that my pinning drove a lot of traffic to those other websites (not my pins) and very little to my own blog compared. It was still significant traffic for me (time of writing this article originally – 2017).
But I saw more potential and wanted to see if I could reach it. So a year or so ago I switched to pinning 80% of my own content and 20% of others.
Just don’t do streaks of pinning a lot and then not pinning for days. The algorithm favours consistent content.
UPDATE 2020: Now I pin around 25 my own pins and 5 of others. I do go days without pinning and Pinterest certainly doesn’t like it but my old pins still bring me a lot of traffic even though I don’t pin for weeks. So not a bad win, I’d say.
Also, Pinterest now announced that ‘new’ and ‘fresh’ pins work better. Meaning that you need to create new pins more rather than just re-pinning old ones to other boards (old practice).
To wrap it all up, all you need to do to start gaining blog traffic from Pinterest is to:
- Optimize your profile by having a professional photo, clear description, creating content that relates to what you do;
- Join Pinterest groups (at least 3) and use 80/20 rule;
- Create pinworthy images with Canva by making them vertical, high quality and attractive to the eye;
- Write SEO friendly texts in the alt text, image name, description fields of the pin, make your boards SEO-optimized as well;
- Pin a lot and regularly(around 10-30 pins per day) using Pinterest or Tailwind.
That’s all you need to have a wonderful start on Pinterest. So what you’re waiting for? Start gaining blog traffic now!
What is your experience with Pinterest?
Do you have other tips?