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Six months ago, in May 2017, I started to dabble in Pinterest. For me, it had never been a very fascinating place, to be honest. It was just a lot of visually appealing images. How does that help me, as a blogger? Ah, if only I’d known! So, full disclosure: This guide is completely written from my personal experience and is a tip sheet on using Pinterest for beginners & bloggers; By a beginner.
Are you just discovering the world of Pinterest? Do the images on this site make you go ‘ooh’ and ‘aah in wonder? Most importantly, are you keen to learn how to drive traffic to your blog using Pinterest? These 10 tips will help you.
Now before we get started, let me tell you that I am not talking about crazy numbers such as going from 0 to 25,000 page views on Pinterest. Nope! That may happen, eventually. But that’s not what this post is about.
Today, it’s all about taking that first step into the big, bold and beautiful realm of Pinterest.
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1. Create an account
Tell me something I didn’t know, you say? Yes, yes, but I have a point. Head over to www.pinterest.com and sign up now. Go on, I’ll wait. Once you’ve done that, head to your profile settings page and fill out the basic details.
Add a profile photo. Make sure it’s one which has a clear shot of your face or your brand. Use the one you use across all social networks, to maintain uniformity.
Now, fill out your name. While doing this, remember that this is what people see when they land on your profile. Keep it snappy and with a clear idea of who you are. Enter your blog’s home page URL. Give a brief description of what you offer and where your strengths lie.
Mine looks like this.
2. Convert the profile to a Business account
Don’t panic. This is not as worrying as it sounds. All that it means is that you can now access that key factor called ‘Analytics’ you see on the top left of the last image.
This is essential if you want to track two relevant things: how your profile is performing on Pinterest and more importantly, how much traffic your website or domain is getting from Pinterest.
Don’t worry. It’s completely free to do this! And takes exactly a click of a button. In fact, when you sign up, you’d have seen the option to ‘Continue as Business’. If you didn’t click on that, don’t worry. You can still make the switch.
Pinterest itself has a two-step tutorial on the subject here.
3. Create your boards
Now starts the fun part! Before you begin, ask yourself what you truly and really enjoy reading about on the internet. If you are a blogger, you’d have a niche or you may be interested in a lot of things blogging-related. Pinterest has something for everyone, blogger or otherwise.
You can create two kinds of boards: Public and secret. We’ll discuss this in depth in another post, but just keep it in mind.
Once I knew this, I was clearer when it came to creating my boards. For me, personally, I have 5 core areas of interest.
- Blogging Tips & Strategies
- Writing Tips
- Mindfulness, Minimalism & Productivity
- Social media tips
First things first, create a board exclusively for your blog posts. This is where you can add links to your blog as and when you create a new post or update an old one with fresh images. Then, create boards where you can pin things which you like.
Label the boards with key words such as blogging or parenting or minimalism. Pinterest is a search engine more than a social network so key words are key! (See what I did there? A little pun, if you please!) Keep board names simple and not fancy.
These are some of the boards I have, for example. You can see all my boards if you click here.
4. Create a pin
Now that your boards are ready, you’ll want to create a pin. This is where the fun really begins!
7 Tips for creating a good pin:
- Find an image online(under creative commons license) or use your own
- Make a vertical image (Suggested size: 736 X 1128 pixels)
- Use bold colours
- Try and use two different fonts
- Brand the pin with your blog’s name and/or URL
- Pins without faces tend to do better (although this may not be true anymore!)
- Optimize the pin with key words and a rich description
On Pinterest, whether you view it on the mobile or the desktop, you’d notice that vertical pins are abundant! The horizontal, featured images you see on your blog post’s header? Those don’t do well, at least not for many people.
Where do you find images? Plenty of places! Now, I have a paid association with Shutterstock, so I use most of my images from there. But for free images, I personally love Pixabay and Pexels. Worried about the dimensions? Don’t be! Both Canva and PicMonkey have preset Pinterest image sizes for you to use.
Once the pin is ready, add it to your blog post.
You have up to 500 characters for a description, so use it well. Use key words and remember to enter all this in the ‘Alt+tag’ section of your image in the media library. That way, when a person(either yourself or anyone else) clicks to pin the image, it will pull the description from the alt text and et voila, you have a good pin out there!
Here’s a pin I made that is driving traffic to my website consistently! Be patient. Something will click soon 🙂
5. Add the pin to Pinterest
Now, the pins are fabulous but you have to get them on Pinterest for them to be actually useful AND drive traffic back to your blog. There are 3 ways that you can add a pin to Pinterest.
- If you are on a blog post and have the ‘Pin it’ Chrome extension, clicking on that will open Pinterest and allow you to choose from the images on the blog to pin.
- Have the Pinterest buttons on your blog, in your post. You also have the option of having the ‘Save’ button appear when you hover over the image. Clicking on that will allow you to pin the image.
- You can add an image directly to Pinterest using the ‘Upload Image’ option. As seen in the screenshots below, add the image, add the URL. Then, add a description and pin it to a relevant board.
*TIP: Always pin to your own board first and then re-pin to other boards.
6. Hashtags: Yay or Nay?
The one thing about Pinterest is that it keeps changing its algorithm frequently! It can be tough to keep up at times. For instance until last month, you could see how many times your pin had been re-pinned to other people’s boards. There would be an actual number on the bottom right of the pin. Pinterest did away with it!
There have been mixed reactions to this, but hey, we roll with the punches.
Now, hashtags work well on Instagram, as we already know. Pinterest is still testing the waters here and from what I’ve read it appears that between 3 to 5 hashtags with relevant key words tend to help your pin’s visibility.
7. Enable rich pins for your profile
This is only possible if you have a business account as mentioned in point 2, above. Question: What are rich pins?
Effectively, they give credibility to your pin. See the image below. In it you’d notice that it says the article is from ‘Shailaja V’, the date it was published and whom it was written by. Rich pins also do much better in search, is what I’ve heard.
Enabling this may be a tad tricky, so ensure you check out this step-by-step tutorial on Pinterest. Or ask someone who is reasonably tech savvy to help you out.
*If you are on Blogger, here is a beautiful step-by-step tutorial you’d find useful to enable rich pins on your site.
*If you are on free WordPress or on custom domain on wordpress.com, the above links won’t help. Try this super simple tutorial and set it up in 5 minutes!
8. Follow other people in your niche
One of my favourite things about Pinterest is that the success of your pins does not depend on the strength of your follower count alone. This is the truly social aspect of Pinterest. This and the next two points.
Find people in your niche- parenting, blogging, travel, food – and follow their boards. Pinterest works on a smart algorithm. Based on the people you follow and the boards you follow, it will show you relevant pins that you’d find useful
9. Pin regularly
This is again open to debate. People ask what is the best number of pins to pin per day. This varies widely and also depends on whether you pin manually or use a pin scheduler like Tailwind or Boardbooster.
I have been pinning manually for the last 6 months and have developed a unique strategy to keep myself sane. I’ll share that in another post.
I follow a simple 1:1 rule. Pin one post of mine and re-pin another post from someone else. This way, your profile when seen by others has a healthy mix of pins.
Don’t have time to pin everyday? Pin with Tailwind! It’s a LIFESAVER! I use it and have seen a HUGE boost in blog traffic. No kidding!
10. Join Group Boards
Everything we’ve spoken about so far becomes way more effective when you find and join group boards.
As the name suggests, these are boards where you have multiple collaborators. Group boards which do well typically have a mix of three factors: Active pinners, high quality pins and a high click-through rate to your website.
This is largely trial and error, finding these group boards to join, but it’s a risk we have to take. How do you find group boards? Well, you have two methods: Pingroupie.com and Facebook groups dedicated to Pinterest. Personally, I’ve found more success with the latter.
Don’t miss my follow up post: How to find and use Pinterest Group Boards!
How do you join? Usually, boards which are open to collaborators will have clear instructions. You’d have to follow the board owner and send a request via e-mail or DM on Pinterest.
I currently belong to multiple group boards. Two of my group boards are open to collaborators, so check out the rules on each board below, follow me on Pinterest and send me a request to join.
Whew, that was a long post! But, useful, right? I hope so. Here are a few things you can do to help me out, if you liked the post.
Pin it to your Pinterest board
Share it on Twitter
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Oh and if you still have any questions, feel free to ask away in the comments below. I’ll answer.
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*Featured image & Pinnable image courtesy: Shutterstock
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