A blog’s success is directly proportional to the amount of traffic it gets.
In most cases at least.
The only exception to this rule would be if you know your base REALLY well, know exactly where your target audience hangs out, and in fact, you probably know some of your audience personally and get some of these people to buy from you by way of association.
The power of networking, so to speak.
But for the rest of us lay-folk, especially the ones who couldn’t care any less for networking, our best hope is to get as much traffic as possible. As a matter of fact, ever since my traffic doubled since last month (OH YEAH!), I’ve sold twice as many affiliate products.
So yes, those who say you need to grow your traffic to sell your products and services are really on to something.
The question then is:
How do you grow traffic?
Some of you are likely thinking of SEO. Search Engine Optimization sounds like a great idea, but the thing is, SEO is a long-term game. If you’re putting all your chips on SEO, it will take a year or so to get traffic, at the very least. Likely longer. AND you’ll have to blog like… ALL THE TIME!
If you’re a full-time blogger with a popular niche that’s in demand but is also somehow not super difficult to rank for, and you don’t mind publishing long-form, well-written, value-packed blog posts every single day, then yes, you should definitely focus on SEO. There are people who’ve done that. Like, Neil Patel, for example.
And here’s the truth. I’m not Neil Patel. I’ll never be Neil Patel.
To begin with, I’m not a full-time blogger. I have to do other work to pay rent and bills, and those works take up a lot of my time, and I happen to love my work. I have other hobbies too. I like to take photos on weekends. I also like to write about things that are not related to blogging or design (mostly on Medium), and I love to read. Like… actual books. Literature, so to speak. And that takes time too. There’s no way I could be writing 2K+ word blog posts every single day of every single week.
And if I’m not mistaken, a lot of other bloggers are in the exact same boat as I am. And to all of you, here’s my proposed solution to driving traffic to your blog. I do not guarantee Google SERP ranking, but I do guarantee significant growth to your overall blog traffic.
This does require some careful strategic Pinning practices, and I talk about some of that in this blog post about growing your blog traffic with Pinterest.
One of those strategies, an important one if I may suggest, is to design awesome Pin graphics. Pinterest is a visual search engine after all. Human beings are usually attracted to beautiful things, so it makes sense that well-designed graphics appeal to our aesthetics, which leads to us clicking on said well-designed Pins and/or re-pinning them.
And in today’s blog post, I’ll show you how to design beautiful Pin graphics with Canva that actually drive traffic to your blog. I have some simple tips for you, which, if you follow them, will guarantee that you end up with great looking Pin graphics even if you’re not a graphic designer.
The best part is, all my directions are for a graphic design program called Canva. Unless you have been living under a rock, I’m sure you’ve already heard of Canva (In fact, I have other blog posts with various Canva tutorials!) But for the cave dwellers among you, and the first-time TSB readers, Canva is like Photoshop for the laymen. And it’s free to boot.
Canva does have a paid “Canva for Work” option as well which has some very handy and useful features, but even with the free version, you can make great Pin graphics. As a matter of fact, everything I’m about to show you today, you’ll be able to do them on a free Canva account.
Now, let us start!
What is Pinterest?
Great question! Pinterest is a form of [visual] search engine, with some social media like aspects to it.
What do I mean?
Pinterest is a search engine. As in, people can go on Pinterest, and write keywords they’re interested in, in a search bar, just like Google. And just like Google, Pinterest shows you relevant topics when you start typing on this search bar. From there, you can start looking for things you’re particularly interested in.
As for search results, instead of searching the entirety of the internet, unlike Google, Pinterest searched only its own database. Basically, if you want people to find you on Pinterest, you’ll need to create a Pinterest account, add “Pins” (graphics that link to certain content), and use keywords in Pin titles and descriptions for Pinterest to know what your content is about. This, in turn, allows Pinterest to show your Pins to those who’re searching for relevant topics. To maximize your chances of getting found is a lot like Google, but on Pinterest you’re competing only with other, fellow Pinners, as opposed to the rest of the world. That’s precisely why it’s much easier to drive traffic to your blog using Pinterest than using SEO tactics meant for Google or Bing.
As for the social media like aspects of Pinterest, well, as I mentioned, you need to create Pinterest accounts if you want to add Pins. And other Pinners are able to follow you like people do on social media. They are also able to send you messages via Pinterest, comment on your Pins, and even collaborate on “boards”.
I strongly suggest you read my blog post about driving traffic to your blog using Pinterest for strategies to grow your blog traffic with this platform.
But as I said before, Pinterest is a visual search engine. Which means, your Pin graphics play a big part in your traffic driving tactics. And that’s what we will cover today.
5 Fail-Safe Pin Design Practices to Guarantee More Clicks and Repins
If you go on Pinterest, you’ll likely see all sorts of Pin designs. But a careful inspection reveals that most successful bloggers stick to certain types of “templates” for Pin design if you will.
After scouring Pinterest for hours, I’ve come up with 5 distinct Pin design practices opted by some of the most successful bloggers out there.
If you’re not a graphic designer, I suggest you start with one (or all five, if you’re ambitious) of these Pin designs for your own blog.
But before I go into details of these designs, let me clarify a couple of things first.
Basics of Pinterest Graphics
One of the most important things about Pinterest graphics is the orientation. Statistically (and according to Pinterest itself), the size (and orientation) preferred by Pinterest and by Pinners is a vertically oriented Pin with roughly a 2:3 aspect ratio.
That said, you may have also noticed somewhat long-ish Pins throughout Pinterest. Now, Pinterest tends to cut off Pins that are too long, more specifically, Pins that are longer than 1:2.1 aspect ratio. Also, according to Pinterest, they tend to show more Pins that are 2:3 aspect ratio.
All that said, here’s what my personal experience has been so far: I design two Pin sizes for all my blog posts. The usual 2:3 aspect ratio pins and I also design a longer pin graphic, which is a 1:2 aspect ratio. As per my stats, the taller Pin graphics tend to do WAY better than the standard size.
Now, is it just me? I have no clue. But here’s what I suggest.
Design both! Go with a taller Pin graphic and a standard Pin graphic for your blog posts and see which does better. And then focus on creating more of the ones that are preferred by your viewership.
Another advice, if you will, is that you should create anywhere from 4 – 6 (or more if you have time) graphics with a slightly different design for each of your posts.
This serves two purposes.
One, you can test and see which design is more popular.
Two, each new graphic is treated as a new Pin by Pinterest. And the more unique Pins you have the happier Pinterest will be. Accounts with more unique Pins tend to do much better on Pinterest over time.
Sizes for Pinterest Graphics
So, with everything said, here are the two sizes that you should focus on.
2:3 aspect ratio – 800 x 1200 px, OR, 735 x 1102 px (Canva’s Pin templates are based on the latter size)
1:2 aspect ratio – 800 x 1600 px (the size that gets more re-pins and clicks as far as my Pins go)
Pin Design # 1
The first design is one with a full image background and a semi-transparent solid color overlay, with text on top. Here’s how you create one with Canva:
1. Log in to your account on Canva (FYI, I’m using Canva 2.0 on my laptop, and using Chrome as my browser of choice), and then on the top search bar, start typing “Pinterest”. This will show you the option for a standard size Pinterest Graphic, which is by default, 735 x 1102 px. If you’re designing a custom size, such as a 1:2 aspect ratio Pin graphic, use the “Custom Dimensions” button on top, right-hand corner. I use 800 x 1600 px for all my tall Pin graphics.
2. When a new window opens with a blank design, use a full-page grid for your background. You’ll be “dropping” your image in this grid to make a full-image background. To do this, go to “Elements” from the left menu panel, as shown, and then choose the full-page grid from under “Grid” as shown. Ideally, when you click on the grid, it automatically covers your entire design. On the off chance that it doesn’t, left click and hold, then drag the grid on top of the design, and that should do it.
3. Drop an image of your choice. If you have downloaded an image from a stock photo site or have your own image, you can just upload it, or use Canva photos. There are a ton of stock photos available on Canva, both free and paid. You can access Canva photos from under Elements.
4. After you’ve added the photo on your grid, you should now have a full-image background. To add an overlay, add another full-page grid, just like you did in step-2, and then, instead of dropping an image on your grid, use a solid color to cover your grid. You can choose whichever color you want for your overlay, however, personally, I like to stick to basics — black or white.
5. And now, using the transparency tool, make the solid color semi-transparent, so that your background image comes through. When you click on the transparency tool, as shown in the image below, you’ll be able to set transparency using the slider that appears, or by directly putting in a value between 0 and 100, 0 being totally see-through, and 100 being completely opaque.
6. Once the desired transparency is achieved, add text on top — ideally, the title for your blog post or something similar. Use the Text tool from the menu on the left, and use one of the many options available. Personally, I choose a heading or the body text, and then adjust font and font size to something that I want — something that goes with my branding. You can also use the various options available to not only change font color and size but also the letter and line spacings, font-width, etc.
On Canva for Work (the paid Canva subscription), you can add custom fonts to match your branding, but even without that, the free Canva comes with a TON of fonts that you can choose from.
I advise you to choose a legible serif or sans-serif font, and if you must, use a script font only to highlight certain words. Script fonts can be tricky, so use them wisely. Make sure they’re of high quality. If in doubt, it’s better to leave it out.
FYI: When you first add the text, by default, it adds the text box in the middle of the design. You can easily move around this around with your mouse.
(Oh, and please disregard the fact that the text below says “This is a Three Line Headline…” even though it’s actually six… yeah… not sure what I was typing but whatever. In the grand scheme of things, it really is of no consequence whether it says three or six…)
7. If you look at Pin examples, you’ll see that most Pins have website URL on them. It’s a good practice and promotes brand awareness. You can add them at the top of the Pin graphic, or at the bottom, or right underneath the main texts. It really depends on your design. For this Pin, I decided I want the URL at the bottom of the Pin design. I also often add a different colored background for the URLs to help them pop out. You can add the background with a shape from Elements.
8. Change the name of your design to something relatable, and then save it as a jpg file.
Pin Design # 2
Now that you know how to add grids and shapes and texts, the next few designs should be a breeze!
This second design is also pretty common among power Pinners. I like to call it “halfsies”. Basically, you use half the length of the Pin for an image and half for your text with a solid (or semi-transparent) background.
1. Create a new design just like you did above. You can use the standard size or the tall size per specifications above.
2. Now, there are quite a few ways in which you can achieve the halfsies look. You can choose a grid that has two distinct sections, Or, you can use an image frame. Or, you can use a solid color background and use a grid for the image. You can change the height of the grid using the handles on its sides. It doesn’t matter whichever way you choose to do this. For this part of the exercise, I’ll use a grid with two sections.
By default, when you use a grid with multiple sections, each of these sections is separated from one another with some spacing between them. Sometimes this spacing is desired, other times not so much. For this design, I don’t want any spacing, so I’ll use the spacing option available to set it to zero, as shown in the image below.
3. Click on the top section, and then drop an image in this section. Then click on the bottom section and fill it with a solid color. Choose a color that compliments the image you’ve chosen for the top section.
(Pro tip: I often choose a color straight off the image. On Chrome, one of my favorite browser extensions is Colorpick Eyedropper; this allows me to pick a color hex code right off of the browser window.)
4. On second look, I think I want the top image to be slightly longer than the bottom half. I achieve this by dragging the bottom of the grid down using the handle. Click on the handle, hold, and bring it down with your mouse until you’ve reached a proportion to your liking.
5. Add blog title/headline on top of the solid color section. Also, add your website URL.
Now, I think just the title/headline is a bit boring. For this example, I’m using the headline — “5 Cupcake Frosting Ideas for the Holidays”. Often, especially for list posts, I like to highlight the list item number.
For this Pin design, I’ve decided to do this by adding a round shape as the background of the number “5”. I’ve placed the shape in such a way so that the top half of the round shape is on top of the image, and the bottom half is on the solid-color section.
You can use a round shape from the “Elements” panel, and use the handles of the shape to resize it and then use your mouse to drag it to where you want it to be. Then change the fill color to match the solid color (if you want a seamless look) of the bottom section. Or, you can be bold and use a different color for this round section. It really depends on your personal aesthetics. As long as you maintain harmony in your design, you should be good.
6. When done, name your design and download as a jpg file like you did above.
Pin Design # 3
This third design is really just an extension of Pin Design # 1. Remember how we added a second full-page grid on top of our full-page image grid and made it a semi-transparent layer? Well, for this design, we will simply select that second grid, use the handles to change the height so that instead of covering the entire background image, this top grid covers only the background of the text section.
Literally, that’s all you have to do.
Go back to the first design, select the overlay grid to show the handles. Then use your mouse to click and hold the top and bottom handles and bring the edges down and up, respectively.
And there, you have a brand new Pin design! Easy peasy!
And voila! A whole new Pin!
Pin Design # 4
This one is quite popular as well, and simple! You use a solid color background, and then just add text on top. That’s it!
To do this, create a new design on Canva, add a full-design grid, and fill it with a solid color of your choice. Add text, and done! Now, since this is such a bare-bones design, you can actually have a lot of fun with it. Add background colors (with shapes) if you’re feeling fancy! You can also add illustrations. Canva has a bunch of free and paid illustrations you can take advantage of.
Another thing you can do is buy graphics from Creative Market, and then add them to your Canva design.
Below are some examples of what you can achieve with a solid-back Pin graphic.
Not too shabby, eh? On the second and third designs above, the striped square graphic is available on Canva for free. To find this shape, click on “Elements”, and then on the search bar, type ‘stripes’ and you’ll see a bunch of graphics. Some free and some not; this one is one of the free ones.
As for the floral graphics on the last image, I bought them off of Creative Market. Pretty cool, right? I have a lot of similar products, can’t recall exactly which product(s) has these floral elements, but here’s one product [affiliate] that has similar floral elements, in case you’re curious.
Pin Design # 5
The last one is color blocking. You can play with this idea in so many ways! You can color block the background, or you can add different color backgrounds for your text. Use shapes and grids to achieve the looks below:
Some Tips on Choosing the Right Images for Your Pins
Now that you know how to design your pins, I figured I should probably talk a little bit about how to choose your images.
As you’ve seen above, I’ve used images for most of the Pins. There’s a reason for that. Images can instantly add more appeal to any design. but the catch is that you have to choose the right images.
Now, the best advice is to use relevant images. That’s what everyone says.
What do I mean by that?
Well, if you’re a food blogger, you’ll want to use images of the food you’re talking about. If you’re sharing a recipe, try taking photos of the food you’re making. Or find a stock photo of the same food item (which can sometimes prove to be difficult).
Recipe bloggers, fashion bloggers, travel bloggers, DIY arts and crafts bloggers, and some types of lifestyle bloggers benefit from taking their own photos.
But what if your niche is something like personal finance or digital marketing? Where do you get images for these types of niche?
Well, in such cases, you’re better of using high-quality stock images. One method is to find somewhat relevant images. Or go with something totally different that has nothing to do with the topic whatsoever! Well, the last piece of advice is controversial. Some bloggers won’t agree with me. But I’m cool with that. The key is to use REALLY GREAT images. If and when possible, BUY images so as to avoid using free stock photos that everyone and their great-grandparents and their pets are using.
Buying stock photos isn’t always an option for everyone, especially new bloggers. But as soon as you start making money, consider investing in purchasing quality stock images.
Canva also has a bunch of free stock photos available to its free account holders. If you’re using the paid Canva for Work account, then you also have access to a whole bunch of premium images for free. I’m a Canva for Work member (for me, this membership is free as I’m a Canva brand ambassador as well as a Canva Certified Creative), so I get a lot of quality premium images for absolutely free. But sometimes I end up purchasing images too. Lately, I’ve been trying hard to avoid generic free images as much as possible.
Trust me, your choice of image can instantly make you look like either an amateur or a pro.
So, choose wisely.
Well, that’s it, guys! Hope you’ll have an easier time designing Pin graphics from now on. If you have tips for designing awesome Pin graphics, please feel free to share them in the comments below.