Google Analytics tells me that over the past month, more than 80% of my website traffic has been from Social Media, increasing overall traffic by more than 30%, in just under 30 days. Of which, over 90% has been from Pinterest.
FYI, Pinterest is NOT a Social Media platform, even though Google treats it as such. In fact, Pinterest is a visual search engine. I’ll come back to it shortly.
As for Pinterest itself, it’s analytics is showing me more than 150% increase in monthly engagement over the past 30 days, and over 130% increase in monthly views.
That’s analytics for my Pinterest account.
But what about Pins from my blog? From this very blog? Well, I have good news for that too! Average daily impressions and views for Pins from this blog have increased well over 300%. Now how’s that?!
Now I know you have people telling you how to increase blog traffic with Pinterest left and right… what makes my post any different?
And to which my answer is this:
We all have our own unique experiences. Success, in however way you choose to define it, is not a straight road from point A to point B. There are many, many, MANY different ways to get where you want to go from where you’re at.
I share only one of many ways.
Before I started my own journey, I studied a lot. I’ve read many similar blog posts that taught how to do certain things in certain ways. Some resonated with me because of my personality or my work ethics, and others I knew weren’t for me.
So, I share what I know with the hope that my posts will resonate with not all of you, but at least some of you.
And with that, let me get back to the topic at hand.
My number one traffic driving source at the moment. And I must be doing something right because last month I had my first affiliate sale and this week, within 12 hours of launching my blog shop, I had my first sale! Before, I only got comments on my blog posts when I shared them on various Facebook group promo threads. But now I’m starting to get comments even when I do not share anything on Facebook. And the best thing happened about a week ago when I received an email from a reader out of the blue. It was a short email and had these words:
“Thank you so much for blogging! I am doing so much reading trying to figure it all out… your blog makes the most sense to me. I have yet to begin a blog… I hope you will be able to guide me along.”
I was a very happy person that day!
All that is to say that traffic in itself is not enough to grow your blog. You need the right kind of traffic. People who will subscribe to your newsletter. People who will leave comments or share your post. People who will buy from you, click on your affiliate links, etc.
In short, you want the right people on your blog: those who will benefit from what you have to say.
And I believe Pinterest is doing that for me as we speak.
Now, like I said, all of this has gone down over the last 30 days. What changed?
Well, a number of things have changed, but it all started with one thing: I started to pin manually.
Yep, you read that right! I ditched Tailwind and started to manually pin about twice a day.
Why Manual Pinning is The Best Strategy for My Blog
I believe it has everything to do with my personality. Remember when I said there’s no one straight way to go from point A to point B? Yeah. I’m not claiming manual pinning is for everyone, but it is totally for me! And in this post I’ll share with you why manual pinning is the best strategy for my blog based on my unique personality and work ethic, and how you could get similar results if you happen to be like me, and do the things that I have been doing for the past month-ish.
You see, I tend to get bored fast. The reason why I abhor administrative tasks is due to the fact that anything that’s remotely repetitive tends to get on my nerves. I literally feel as though my brain cells are being slowly choked to death when I sit down and try to schedule a week’s worth of Pins in one go.
And so, I tried to schedule only a couple of days at a time. But my brain cells were still very much unhappy.
And to top it all off, because of my extreme boredom, my work suffered. Whenever I tried to schedule Pins on Tailwind, I let go of all strategies. I simply clicked on “schedule pin” to whatever Tailwind suggested and tried to get over the ordeal as fast as possible.
Naturally, as you can imagine, and if my analytics numbers were anything to go by, I was doing everything WRONG!
And then something changed.
One day I forgot to schedule Pins. And then I was so bored that I neglected my pinning duties for a whole week. My analytics didn’t drop or anything, considering my traffic weren’t from Pinterest much to begin with.
But then I remembered what Pinterest guru Melyssa Griffin says, and I’m paraphrasing: If you’re not on Pinterest, you’re leaving money on the table… or something similar to that.
So about a month ago, one fine morning, I decided to just get on my phone real quick and repin some pins from my feed. It wasn’t an hour long session where I was bored out of my mind trying to schedule hundreds of Pins in one go. I was pinning live, so I only pinned about 15/20 pins from my feed and it took literally a couple of minutes.
And I wasn’t bored.
And because I wasn’t bored, I did the same thing again after only a couple of hours.
I did this for a couple of days, and then one day I decided to repin from my own blog. You see, up until then I was only pinning my posts right after publishing them, and that was all. But that day I picked one of the blog posts that was doing somewhat decent according to Google Analytics, made a new Pin graphic for it, and then blasted it out on a couple of my own Pin boards, and on a few other group boards.
And since I wasn’t bored anymore, I started to have fun creating new graphics for my posts and sharing them every single day.
And the rest is history.
And now here’s where I’m at… look at these sweet graphs will ya?
Top image: Monthly views and engagement of Pinterest account for the past 30 days.
Bottom image: Daily impression and views for Pins from this blog over the last 30 days.
And now, let me break down the whole pinning system that I have built up, along with some “pro” tips for pinning manually (or with a scheduler if that’s how you roll, you can implement these strategies either way), that will get quality traffic to your blog, and increase it over time.
Ready? Let’s roll!
The Basic Prep Work For Your Pinterest Account
Being successful with Pinterest starts with how you set up your account. In this section, I’ll briefly talk about what your account should look like that will set you up for success.
- Make sure your account is a business account. You can choose this option when creating a new account. However, if you’ve already set up your account but forgot to choose the business account option, you can do so from here.
- Pay attention to your profile/business name and the About section. Add a photo of yourself or your business (logo, perhaps). Do not leave the photo empty. Also, some swear that engagement is better when you have a photo of yourself rather than a business logo. These are the two places where you have a chance to tell the world (as in fellow Pinners) who you are and what you do. For example, my profile/business name is “Maliha | Blog & WordPress Tips”. Now, I could have used my blog name, but that in itself wouldn’t have been descriptive enough to let people know exactly what they can expect from me. As for the “About” section, here’s your chance to elaborate a bit more on what you do, in 160 characters.
- Make sure to claim your website. This will allow Pinterest to gather more in-depth analytics on Pins that are shared from your blog. Claiming a site is simple enough; you’ll need to copy and paste a piece of script (provided by Pinterest) inside your header.php file, if you’re on WordPress, before the closing </head>.
- Enable Rich Pins here. Enabling rich pins will allow Pinterest to fetch metadata from the pages/posts and show them on the pins themselves. This gives fellow pinners better insight on what you’re sharing.
- Create at least 8 or more boards and make sure your boards reflect your business/blog. For example, if you’re a vegan recipe blogger, do not create a board for DIY crafts or interior decoration inspiration. Well, you can create them technically, but make sure they are secret boards. You don’t want to confuse people. Make sure when someone comes across your Pinterest profile, they have no doubt in their mind what it is that you do.
- Choose board names carefully. The board names will help others understand what each board is about. For example, Elsie Larson’s (of A beautiful Mess) Pinterest feed is all about interior decoration and DIY ideas for home. And even if you knew nothing about Elsie or her blog, just a look at her Pinterest boards will make it obvious what to expect from her. Have a look at the top of the boards page:
- Make sure each board has a unique, keyword rich description. Board descriptions are like meta description. Pinterest uses these to figure out what your board is about and shows the content in relevant search results. Now, remember how I mentioned before that Pinterest in a visual search engine? Well, just like how Google uses your blog’s meta description to understand the relevancy of your content to someone’s specific search queries, Pinterest does the same with your board and Pin descriptions. Make sure to have a description that has keywords to describe and refine what the board is about. I’ll be talking more about Keywords in Pinterest shortly.
- Position and order the boards in the order you want users to see them. It’s really easy on Pinterest to move boards; simply click – hold – drag to wherever you want the board to appear. Make the most relevant boards appear first because sometime people will only take a quick glance at your boards and decide whether or not they want to look for more. Make that first quick glance count!
- Create a board specifically for your blog and make it the first board that appears on you boards page. For example, the first board on my Pinterest boards page is titled “Best of Blog to Biz”. I treat all my posts as the best of… so yeah, I Pin all my posts on that board… but you get the idea. Here’s what my boards page looks like.
- Populate the boards with at least 50+ pins. You want to do this as soon as possible. Once your boards are full, you can slow things down a bit, but as part of the prep work, make sure your boards have enough pins to give visitors an idea for what they can expect from you. This will also be useful for when you apply to be part of group boards (more on this later).These do not have to be Pins from your blog/website. Starting out, you want to fill these boards with relevant Pins from other people as well. So, if there are other bloggers in your niche, feel free to Pin their content. You see, the thing about Pinterest is that you do not just share your own content. It’s a curation platform where you curate your own as well as others’ content. In fact, a general rule of thumb is that your Pins should be 20% made up of your own content, and 80% others’ content. When starting out, you’ll most likely have very little unique content of your own, and that’s fine. As your blog grows, you’ll be able to adjust to this ratio.
How to Prep an Image/Graphic for Pinterest
The images or graphics that you use on Pinterest are referred to as Pins. A quality Pin will take you a long way, so it’s important that you know what to do to make sure your Pins have all the necessary components of a good Pin.
- Pins that are vertically aligned do well. Typically I find these dimensions to work best:
– Pins that have 2:3 aspect ratio (usually 800px by 1200px, or 1200px by 1800px)
– Pins that have 3:5 aspect ratio (1200px by 2000px)
– Pins that have 1:2 aspect ratio (800px by 1600px, or 1200px by 2400px)
Personally I only go for the first two. The 1:2 seems a liitle too long for my taste.
- Well designed Pins naturally get more re-pins. I’m not going to go deep into how to be a good Pin designer in this blog post. Good design is very personal and will depend on your own aesthetics. However, if you’re a total newbie and you want some pointers, I have a blog post that tackles the design aspect of a good Pin. Check out the tips on beautiful blog graphics design.
(Also, Psst… I have a template shop where I sell Pinterest templates made with Canva. Fully customizatble, easily editable. In case design isn’t your strongest suit.)
- Make sure to have descriptive text on your Pins. Most people do not click on each individual pins… none of us have that kind of time. If you want people to re-pin, or better, click on your pins to read what you have to say, you need to let them know what to expect in the first place. A good strategy is to have text overlay on Pin images that describe briefly what your blog post is about. Typically, your blog post title should work just fine.Below you can see some Pins I’ve made to show you what a typical Pin should look like:
- Make sure your Pins have keyword rich descriptions. Again, since Pinterest is a search engine, it takes into account these descriptions figure out whether or not to show your Pins in response to specific search queries. There are two ways to do that.The first method is by directly adding a description on your Pins within Pinterest. To do that, click on a pin, then click on a pencil icon that appears on top of the pin. You’ll see a field for description.The second method is my favorite, and it pretty much kills two birds with one stone. You see, I do not add Pins directly on Pinterest. Instead, I always add the graphics I create for Pinterest on my blog posts. And then, I make sure to add an “alt” tag to these images. If you’re on WordPress, adding an alt-tag is super simple. Just add an image via “Add media” as you would any regular image on WordPress, and make sure to fill out the “Alt” field. I also use a social sharing plugin for all my blog posts (I’m using “Sassy Social Share” on my blog). This allows me and my readers to easily pin a blog post. What happens is that when someone pins an image, Pinterest automatically pulls the “Alt” content fills the description of a Pin with this content. Neat, right?
How to Find Keywords That Trend on Pinterest
Let’s talk Pinterest SEO and keywords now.
Contrary to some beliefs, Pinterest is NOT a Social Media platform. You see, a social media platform is where you share your own unique content, engage with others in the same platform via comments and likes and such. A Social platform is a place to socialize and network, virtually.
Pinterest is very different in the sense that, we hardly do anything “social” on Pinterest. It’s also not just our own content. We share our content as well as content created by others. Pinterest is a search engine through and through. Just like we search for specific things on Google, we do the same on Pinterest. It’s a visual search engine, as in, instead of showing texts, Pinterest shows images. But just like search engines, to be shown in response to search queries, you need to optimize your content (in this case your Pins). Also, unlike major search engines like Google or Bing, Pinterest’s search functionalities are limited within the Pinterest platform.
Given all the aforementioned, Pinterest makes for the best place for bloggers to thrive. It’s almost as though this search engine was made for the bloggers in mind. OK, it’s not the official Pinterest motto of course, but I personally feel that it’s a place where bloggers can thrive. I know many small business and online shop owners also benefit from this platform, but really, if you’re a blogger, you should totally be on this platform!
Now, a couple of things about Keywords and Pin optimization. As I mentioned above, your Pins should be optimized to give it the best chance for appearing in response to search queries. And typically, this is done in the descriptions. There are two places where you should add keyword rich descriptions: a board’s description, and an individual pin’s description (entered either directly on Pinterest, or by use of the image’s alt tag, as shown above).
Finding trendy keywords on Pinterest is pretty simple. If you’re a vegan recipe blogger, and you’re sharing a vegan quinoa salad recipe for example, just start typing that on Pinterest’s search bar, as shown in the images below. You’ll see Pinterest giving you suggestions as soon as you start typing the first word. Pay note to these suggestion and find the right set of keywords that will be helpful for your particular blog post.
Also, write your description for real humans. You may be tempted to just type a bunch of keywords, but remember, you end goal is to be helpful to your readers. And your readers are humans. So do them a favor and actually create content and descriptions meant for these real humans, with full sentences and paragraphs.
Apply to be Added to Some Group Boards in Your Niche
Group boards are great for getting more eyeballs on your Pins. I suspect that more and more people who follow me have found me via one of the group boards I’m part of. However, when you’re new, it can be hard to get approved to be part of group boards. Usually, most group board owners want those who have an engaging account.
You may have to spend the first few weeks just pinning a bunch and racking up a ton of useful and relevant pins before you have a chance to get approved for most group boards.
That doesn’t mean have to have a ton of followers… just not zero. I first started to join group boards when I had less than 50 followers and my stats were definitely much worse than they are now. So, yeah, don’t put off joining group boards for too long.
The trick to group boards is to find the right ones. You want to join boards in your niche, and also boards where admins actually take care of the them and maintain quality. Some boards are just aweful. Admins have no clue who’s pinning what, whether Pinners are spamming or not, whether or not the quality of the pins are up to par… Avoid these boards.
A good place to look for potential boards to join is Facebook. If you’re part of Facebook groups in your niche, ask around and see if they have recommendations for group boards to join.
Joining the groups depends on the group owners. Typically, board descriptions have directions for joining. Some ask you to send them a direct message via Pinterest. Some ask you to email them. Some require that you follow them as well. Usually it’s as simple as sending an email, and letting them know your Pinterest handle, and they will add you to the boards.
Once you’re part of a board, be nice and play by the rules. Do not spam a group board and bring the quality down.
Pinning Routine for Beginner to Intermediate Bloggers
Finally! My pinning routine! The routine that’s tripled my monthly engagement within 30 days! Now, I personally like Pinning manually every single day. But if you’re the type to want to get it out of the way by scheduling ahead of time, feel free to schedule using a scheduler like Tailwind. Tailwind also comes with its unique analytics which can be helpful while creating strategies for how to Pin. personally, my manual pinning has been very fruitful for the last month-ish, so I have no complaints nor the need at this point for the nitty gritty of individual Pin stats.
That said, the steps below can be emulated with a scheduler as well, if you so prefer.
- I pin about twice a day, approximately sharing 10-20 pins each time. I don’t have a specific time set away for this. I much prefer to Pin in-between other tasks. I try to share Pins evenly on all my boards. There are some boards however that get more pins than others. These are the most relevant boards for my blog and are positioned at the very top.
- The daily pinning usually consists of sharing pins from my main Pinterest feed, as well as Pins from the group boards I’m part of. The feed is based on my interests and shows usually Pins I’m likely to pin, making my job a lot easier. I also make sure to re-pin pins from those I follow as well as groups I follow. The easiest way to do so is by going to the “Following” tab located in the main Pinterest navigation bar at the very top of the page, as shown in the image below.
- I share one of my blog posts every day, sometimes two depending on how my day’s going and if I have enough time. I share my post on each of the relevant boards. For example, I have a blog post that discusses things to do before launching a blog. In this post, I share blogging strategies, blog monetization strategies using affiliate marketing, as well as tips for setting up blog on WordPress. I share this post on four of my own boards: “Best of Blog to Biz”, “Blogging Tips”, “WordPress Tips”, and “Affiliate Marketing Tips”. I also share them on all relevant group boards that I’m in. FYI, I only share my own content on group boards. Most of these group boards have a daily maximum of 2/3 Pins per user. I use that to promote my own Pins.Pro-tip # 1: I like to make anywhere from 3-6 unique Pin graphics for each of my blog posts so that I can rotate between which image I’m pinning. This way, I can Pin the same blog post many times, without appearing spammy. The unique graphics keep the content feed fresh. Make sure to “hide” multiple Pin graphics from your post so as not to make it cluttered.To “hide” graphics from a WordPress blog post, switch to text editor mode. Add an image as you will per normal using the “Add media” button above the editor. Once the image has been added, enclose the HTML code for the image within the following div:
<div style="display: none;"><img ... /></div>
Pro-tip # 2: I also try to rotate between the type of pin I share from my own blog. I rotate between an affiliate type post and a regular, non-affiliate type post. (An affiliate type post is meant to promote an affiliate product.)
- I also make note of whether a group board I’m part of requires me to re-pin a certain number of pins on a daily / weekly / monthly basis.
- Every couple of days or so, I check out some of the bloggers I like, and if they have unique content, I pin them on my boards.
Pro-tip # 3: I’ve found that keeping a spreadsheet handy that lists all the daily Pinterest to-do’s along with a pre-made schedule for which blog posts I’ll be sharing on which day helps make the process of daily manual pinning much faster. It takes the decision making out of the picture every single day.
All the steps I mentioned above can be done using a scheduler of course, but like I said, given my personality, I much prefer to tackle a little chunk of the pinning process each day, rather than sitting down once or twice a week for a couple of hours and just pin, pin, pin… but that’s just me.
That’s it guys. This is what my personal Pinning strategy looks like, and I’ve multiplied my blog traffic and Pinterest engagement using these very methods. If you have questions or comments, or any unique Pinning strategy of your own, feel free to share below. Otherwise, happy Pinning!