No really, see, it says above that this blog post is a 21-minute read!!!
This wasn’t a clickbait!
Err, moving on … here’s what I can guarantee today. If you read this long-ass post thoroughly, this all-around Pinterest tutorial will help you understand the platform, implement killer strategies, and drive massive traffic to your blog. So, while the post should take an average of 21 minutes to read, more or less some depending on your reading speed, I suggest you take a bit longer and REALLY internalize everything that I’m saying here.
Ready? Let’s start!
If you’ve been around TSB long enough, you know that I drive most of my website traffic via Pinterest.
There’s a reason for that. A few in fact!
- Pinterest is a search engine just like Google, but instead of scouring through EVERYTHING on the Internet, Pinterest searches content only on its own database. This means, getting people to find your content is a whole lot easier on Pinterest than it is on Google.
- While Pinterest is a search engine, it has social media like features. To start with, you need to have a Pinterest account in order to Pin (submitting/sharing content on the Pinterest platform is called “pinning”). Other pinners (those with Pinterest accounts) can follow your account and you can follow theirs, you can leave comments or receive them, use hashtags on your Pin descriptions, are some of the very social media-like features you can enjoy with Pinterest. These features also make it easy for other Pinners to find your content.
- Pinterest is a visual search engine. A big part of your success on this platform depends on how well-designed your Pins are. And if you know anything about TSB, you know I’m big on this. I love good design, and I don’t mind spending quality time designing Pin graphics. Which makes Pinning not only something I do to drive traffic to my blog but also something I enjoy doing!
If you’re a new blogger, instead of trying to learn SEO, I suggest you start by learning Pinterest first. And when you have a few thousand followers and a good amount of daily traffic to your blog from Pinterest, then you can diversify the methods in which you drive traffic, including but not limited to, learning SEO and other social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc.
Subscribe to the email list if you wish to download the ultimate Pinterest Workbook!
My Website Stats (for Reference)
And now, allow me to show you exactly how I drive traffic to this blog with Pinterest.
As of writing this post, TSB is about 21-months old, and below you’ll see my traffic stats from Google Analytics over a 30-day period, as well as Pinterest stats, to prove to you that I mean business.
Let me start with my overall traffic.
My Google Analytics Stats
There are three figures above.
- The first one shows you an overall performance of The Side Blogger. About 10.5K users and 23.5K pageviews. Not too bad for a blog that’s less than 2 years old by a complete blogging newbie!
- The second one shows you the traffic channels. Google breaks them down by 4 categories: social, direct, organic, and referral. Pinterest traffic falls under Social traffic.
- The third figure shows you how much traffic I get from Pinterest. If you pay attention to the boxed area, you’ll see that over a 30-day period, more than 80% of my total traffic came from Pinterest.
As I said above, I drive most of my traffic from Pinterest. I showed you these graphs and figures to prove it to you that I’m telling the truth 😉
Now here’s the thing, if I were to aim for this kind of traffic from Google alone, it’d take me at least a few more years or longer to get where I am today.
I have neither the time nor the patience for that. Do you?
Let me tell you something.
I’m not discouraging you from learning SEO. I’m an ardent student of SEO myself, but I also understand that SEO isn’t something that pays off in just a couple of months; not unless you’re blogging full time and writing amazeballs blog posts every single day, and you know some influencers who likely owe you some favors and are willing to share your links on their already established platforms.
I blog on the side just for a few hours every week, and I’m also prone to losing motivation unless I see some results. Nothing crazy, but I wanted to start making at least a thousand bucks per month by the first three years of blogging, and guess what? I hit that number only at 14 months! And I have Pinterest to thank for that.
So, if I’ve managed to spark your curiosity, sit tight, and keep on reading, because I’m about to spill my guts and show you EXACTLY HOW I get the traffic that I do on this blog, from Pinterest.
Let me show you some Pinterest stats now.
My Pinterest Stats
Below you’ll see a screenshot from Pinterest followed by an explanation of the numbers and graphs, just as I did with the Google Analytics stats above.
The following stats are for over a 30-day period, the same date-range as the ones from Google Analytics.
The “impression” stat refers to how many times someone saw one of my Pin graphics.
The total audience reached over this 30-day period was over 800 thousand!
And there was a total of 52.4K+ engagements by over 24k total audience.
What you do not see above is that I have over 10K Pinterest followers (follower count is not that important, I’ll tell you why shortly.)
What I also haven’t told you yet is that while my blog has been live for 21 months (as of writing this), I have been using Pinterest for only about 15 months or so. Which is to say that I went from ZERO to the stats you see above in just over a year.
Not too shabby if I say so myself!
Considering all of the above, I figured it’s time I showed you how I get the traffic and engagement that I do so that you can take advantage of all that I’ve learned about Pinterest and use them to drive traffic to your own blog!
What You Can Expect from This Post
You can get some honest insights into my own Pinning techniques that have resulted in the stats I just shared with you above. My personal techniques may differ from others who teach this platform. The thing is, I’m a side-blogger. Time is of the essence, and my practices are based on how I can maximize the output for the minimum amount of effort and time.
In short, I’ll show you how you can drive traffic to your blog with Pinterest as a side-blogger yourself.
Here’s what I plan to highlight in today’s blog post:
First, the usuals. For example, how to set up Pinterest the right way (important!) which includes: how to write bios, how to set up boards, some pinning strategies, and finally, a few MYTHS ABOUT PINTEREST that are floating about out there in the blogosphere.
But before we get into all that, let me give you a few more reasons why you should read this post and follow my guidance when it comes to Pinterest.
Why Should You Heed My Advice on Pinterest?
You may be wondering, why me? I mean, there are plenty of awesome, veteran bloggers out there talking about Pinterest, so what makes ME so special?
I’m glad you asked 🙂
You see, I’ve compared some of my stats with other big-name bloggers and digital marketers who happen to teach how to use Pinterest. Now, the only stat I can see on someone else’s profiles are the total follower count and monthly average views.
And after comparing my stats with theirs, I’ve reached the conclusion that I’m doing pretty well! I’m about to share some of the stats with you as so you can see for yourself.
Some Power Pinners
And finally, my own!
Here’s the thing: I took these screenshots all at the same time. So, the monthly viewers’ stat you see on those screenshots are all for the same 30-day period. And as you see, I’m driving more traffic that two of the big names out there (Jenna Kutcher and Melyssa Griffin) but falling behind from Elna of Twins Mommy and also behind from Create and Go.
The thing you need to know is that all of the bloggers I have mentioned above teach how to use Pinterest, and every single one of them (EXCEPT for me) have been using Pinterest and have had their blog for WAAYYYY longer than I have. Each of them has YEARS on me!
Anyhow, all that is to say that all things considered, I’m doing pretty dang GOOD with Pinterest if I say so myself!
So, if you’re a side blogger like me and a beginner at that, who better to teach you the ins and outs of Pinterest than me???
Now that that’s out of the way, shall we get started?
Set up a Business Account on Pinterest
If you’re just starting with Pinterest, I advise you to set up a Pinterest Business account. It’s completely free and comes with some cool bells and whistles. The most important, however, is the superior analytics you get with a business account.
Analytics is important for bloggers and business owners because these data provide validation for what you’re doing. You can verify that your content is reaching the right people by checking your analytics. You can also keep track of whether or not a new strategy is working towards accomplishing your goals by checking your analytics often.
If you already have a regular Pinterest account, you can upgrade it to a business account easily (and for free).
As soon as you’ve set up your business account, I want you to do the following:
Claim your website.
This is important! Do NOT skip this step. Amazing things happen when you claim your website. For example, once you claim your website, your name and profile photo appear on every Pin that has generated from your site. Regardless of whether you’ve Pinned it, or someone else has, your information will show with each of these Pins. This gives a more custom look and feel to your Pinterest profile and Pins. You can also access performance data for Pins generating from your claimed site (when you have a Pinterest Business account).
Again, DO NOT skip this step!
Sign Up for Rich Pins
Rich Pins provide extra information about your content. As a blogger, assuming most of your content falls under the “Article” type content, Pinterest will show information like Headline/Title, author name, and a small description of your blog post with each Pin. This gives your followers and other Pinners extra insight on your Pins, which results in more saves and clicks on your Pins. Click here to learn more about Rich Pins and to set up Rich Pins for your Pinterest account.
Spruce Up Your Profile
Having the right kind of Pinterest profile is monumental to your Pinning success. As soon as you’ve taken care of the steps mentioned above, do this! Set up your profile for success.
Choose the Right Profile Name
Most people are impatient. And given the amount of content we have access to these days, it’s best to do all you can to attract people’s attention as soon as possible. And what’s better than doing so with your profile name?
Choose a profile name that leaves no doubt in a drifter’s mind who you are and what you do.
For example, here’s my Pinterest profile name:
“The Side Blogger | Blogging + Design + Marketing Tips & Templates”
For me, it was important to have my blog name on my profile name for brand awareness. I also want people to know what to expect from my account as soon as they see the profile name. The second part — “Blogging + Design + Marketing Tips & Templates” — serves that purpose.
And now, take a minute and go back up to see all the profile screenshots I’ve shared with you. See a similarity? All of these bloggers and marketers have a very similar looking profile name. It starts with their name/blog name/ business name, followed by a clear description of what they do or what people can expect to learn from them.
If you’re a formula kind of person, here’s one for you:
“BLOG/BUSINESS NAME | WHAT OTHERS CAN LEARN FROM YOU/YOUR BLOG/BUSINESS”
There, that’s what your Pinterest profile name should be.
Write an Amazing Profile Bio
Here’s your chance to elaborate on what you do and what people can learn from you. Be clear but concise (since the bio has a 160 character limit). Again, take a look at all the awesome bios you can see above for inspiration. As you can see, most of these follow a very similar pattern. They all go something like this:
“I help XX achieve YY”
“I teach XX do YY”
Set Up Boards
Now that your account is ready for pinning, it’s time to set up some boards. Pinterest boards allow you to categorize your Pins. For example, here’s a screenshot of the top boards of one of my favorite blogs: A Beautiful Mess.
A Beautiful Mess is a lifestyle blog and some of the most trending topics include interior decoration, DIY crafts, food, fashion, family, etc. If you take a look at their Pinterest boards, you’ll see the boards almost mirror their blogging categories.
You’ll see a similar pattern on my own Pinterest account. Since I mostly blog about blogging, designing, making money on the side, all of my Pinterest boards are also about those topics.
The point I’m trying to make is this:
Your boards should be relevant to your blog.
Think of it this way: just like a “niche” is important for your blog, the same applies to your Pinterest account, especially if you’re trying to use Pinterest to drive traffic to your blog.
Let’s look at this imaginary scenario:
Let’s say that you’re a vegan lifestyle blogger who writes about vegan recipes, vegan restaurants, a balanced vegan diet, vegan public figures and their lifestyle, etc. You get the picture.
Your Pinterest boards should reflect this so that when someone finds you on Pinterest, they have no doubt what they can expect from you.
If you blog about a vegan lifestyle, I’m assuming you want readers who’re interested in that subject. But if you have Pinterest boards dedicated to fall fashion, or interior decoration, you’ll just confuse people.
The bottom line is: you need to set up boards in a way so that when your ideal audience finds you on Pinterest, they have no doubt in their minds what to expect from your blog.
Useful Tips for Setting Up Pinterest Boards
- Make sure your boards are relevant, for reasons we’ve just established above.
- Your board names should be clear and concise so that just one look will let your ideal audience know what the board is about. For example, if you’re creating a board dedicated to vegan appetizer recipes, then you should name it “Vegan appetizers”. Go with simple and straight forward instead of clever when it comes to naming your boards.
- Write a concise description that clearly lays out what the board is about. Remember when I said Pinterest is a search engine? When you have a well-written board description, it tells Pinterest what your board is about and it shows your Pins to those who’re likely looking for content similar to yours.
- Choose a category when you’re setting up your board. This helps Pinterest figure out what your board is about and who to show it to. (But if you can’t find the right category, choose something close enough, or choose “other”.)
- When you’re just starting out, I recommend you set up at least 12-15 relevant boards to start off. And then work on creating more as your blog grows. (Pro tip: You may be wondering how to get 15 relevant boards if you’re a niche blogger. Well, let’s say you have a vegan lifestyle blog and one of the things you blog about is vegan recipes. Then you can set up a generic board that says “Vegan Recipe”, and then you can set up additional boards such as “Vegan Appetizer Recipes”, “Vegan Entree Recipes”, “Easy Vegan Lunch”, etc.)
- Your boards will likely hold your own Pins (generated from your blog) as well as Pins by other Pinners who’re in the same niche as you. That’s why, you should create one board JUST for Pins from your own blog and make sure it is the first board that people see (name this board the same as your blog, or something like The Best of [blog name]). You can rearrange all your boards simply by clicking on them and then dragging them to where you want them to be.
- Once you’ve created all the boards, arrange the most relevant boards at the very top. If you’re a lifestyle blogger and you have a lot of boards, arrange them by groups. I really like how Elsie and Emma from A Beautiful Mess have their boards set up. They have arranged all their interior decoration boards at the very top, and these boards are all niched down further by room. Take a look at A Beautiful Mess Pinterest account for inspiration.
- When you’re done creating the boards, populate them! Right off the bat, you should have at least 30-50 Pins on each board. If you’re a brand new blogger and do not have a lot of your own content, feel free to repin other bloggers’ Pins that are in the same niche.
How to Create Boards
- On your profile, go to “Boards”, and then click on the “plus” sign. This will open up a popup where you can set the board name and then click on “Create”. You’ll see an option to choose whether the board should be secret. Of course, you want your board to be public. The secret boards are useful if you have a board that you only want for yourself. For example, if you want to set up a board where you want to save inspiration for your home decor, but home-decor has nothing to do with your blog, then this feature comes in handy.
- Once you’ve created a board, in the next page you should be able to click on the edit button (looks like a pencil) which will open up another popup where you can write a board description and choose the category.
How to Add Pins
Now, let’s take a look at the actual Pins.
Here’s how pins work for most bloggers:
You create Pin [graphics], add to your blog post like you would any image, and then using a share button (I suggest using the Sassy Social Share plugin), “Pin” the image to your Pinterest account. This has a bunch of benefits. For example, by adding an image on your blog post itself, you’re giving your readers the opportunity to Pin your post pf their Pinterest accounts.
Also, this makes adding Pin title and description much easier. (You want the title and description for your Pins, because of the same reasons you want them for your Pinterest boards — Pinterest SEO. Basically, a properly written title and description with the right keywords will help Pinterest show your Pins to those who’re interested in the type of content you create.)
When you add a Pin with the share plugin, Pinterest pulls the title and description from your blog post’s settings. Ideally, all bloggers should use an SEO plugin (Yoast, for example) to add meta titles and descriptions to their blog posts. Pinterest recognizes those and pulls the data automatically.
As for actually creating the Pin graphics, I have a blog post right here: How to Design Beautiful Pin Graphics with Canva
So, here are the steps:
- Design the Pin graphics.
- Add the image to your blog post and make sure your blog post has a proper meta title and description.
- Make sure your blog has share buttons (as I mentioned above, I prefer the Sassy Social Share plugin for that)
- Pin away!
If you must manually add Pins to your Pinterest boards, that’s simple:
- Click on the red plus sign at the top, next to your name, and then click on “Create Pin”.
- Fill out all the sections as shown in the image (add the image, type title, and description, insert the URL of your blog post, and pick the board for your Pin). And that’s it.
Pinterest and Keywords
So, as I said, Pinterest is a search engine, so keywords do play a part. However, after Pinning for the last several months, I’ve realized that if you properly write titles and descriptions that describe what your Pin/blog post is about, it sort of automatically takes care of keyword issues. So, focus on that.
Now, you can spend time finding keywords for each post and crafting a smart description, and maybe that will increase your blog traffic. But like I said, I’m only teaching you what I do. I often do not have time for finding keywords, so instead, I spend time creating more unique Pins and writing a description that’s meaningful to fellow human beings, and not to computers.
There are some Pinterest myths floating about, out of which there are two that I need to point out today.
Myth # 1: You Need to Join a Bunch of Groups and Tribes to Gain Traction on Pinterest
I used to be part of 30+ groups, can you imagine? And they were all groups that had a lot of members pinning high-quality Pins. Great graphics, great content!
I used to spend SOOOO much time pinning on these group boards every single day! It took quite a while to Pin to all these different group boards as well as making sure I’m adhering to group board rules. Basically, it was a pain in the arse and I was starting to get tired of it all.
And when Pinterest is your only traffic-driving strategy, getting tired of it is not good news.
So I started to pay attention.
After some careful observation, I realized that most of the Pin engagements were happening on my own boards, and not on the group boards.
So, I decided to take a chance. I archived ALL my group boards (I didn’t delete them in case my traffic and/or engagement took a nosedive; I figured it’d be best to archive them in case I needed to start pinning on group boards again).
After archiving the group boards I added a few new boards. In the past, I had noticed that adding new boards increased my traffic and engagement. This time was no different. All in all, it was a fantastic decision to archive all the group boards because not only that saved me time, my traffic and engagement INCREASED after I started focusing on my own boards more.
So, here’s my advice. Focus on your own boards. Create quality Pins for your own blog posts and Pin regularly. I’ll be sharing some pinning strategies shortly, so stay tuned! As for group boards? Do not waste time on those especially if you’re a side-blogger who already has limited time.
Myth # 2: The Popular 80/20 Rule, Wherein You Pin 80% Other People’s Content and 20% Your Own.
Pinterest doesn’t care. What it does care about is that you’re adding quality to the platform. So, if you have quality content and you add more of your own quality content to Pinterest, not only is that sufficient, the more of your own Pins you have on Pinterest the more traffic you’ll get on your website!
The key here is quality content, guys! That’s what matters.
When I first started Pinning, I was pinning a lot of other people’s stuff, partly because of this myth that we’re supposed to add 80% other people’s Pins and 20% ours, and partly because back then I was a new blogger and I didn’t really have a lot of my own content.
But as my content has increased, I’ve been pinning more of my own and less of others, and so far this has only improved my traffic and engagement.
Also, there are ways to Pin more of your content even when you’re a new-ish blogger. I’ll show you how soon!
Pinning Strategies to Grow Your Blog Traffic and Engagement
Now here’s the important bit. How you Pin matters! Your strategy plays a key role in how Pinterest will reward your efforts. Let’s now look at some of the Pinning strategies that have proven to be useful for me.
Focus on Creating Great Content
I know we’re talking about Pinterest, but really, at the end of the day, if your content isn’t good, nothing will help. Not Pinterest, not SEO, nada!
Sure, you may drive some traffic if you have great Pin images and awesome titles on topics that people are interested in, but at the end of the day, you want people to stay on your blog and read your posts, buy your products, sign up for your email list, etc. Conversion requires quality. If your content is sub-par, then no amount of traffic will grow your blog in the way that matters.
Create Amazeballs Pin Graphics
The quality of your Pin graphics matter. I went through a bunch of designs before I settled into the one I have now.
I can give you tips on this which you can find on my blog post: How to Design Beautiful Pinterest Graphics with Canva
However, you need to do some A/B testing on this. Create a few different types of designs and test them out to see which Pins get more traction.
Design matters guys! Don’t be lazy on this front. Pinterest is a visual search engine, so obviously, if your visuals are lacking, Pinterest won’t be much help.
So, take some time to create something that stands out in the crowd.
Show Up Every Day
The side blogger’s biggest concern is to save time. So, needless to say, I don’t like the idea of spending too much time on Pinterest. And I don’t! If I were to add up my time on Pinterest, they’d amount to 3-4 hours a week AT MOST! Likely less. And all that time’s spread out over the week a little at a time, EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.
Yes, I show up on Pinterest EVERY DAY!
I do it in two ways:
- I use TailWind to schedule 20-30 Pin graphics (ideally repinned from older Pins) every day.
- I also manually Pin two or three Pin graphics to all relevant boards every day.
TailWind makes it easy to make sure I have a consistent presence on Pinterest. However, Pinterest likes unique Pin graphics. So creating at least one (preferably two or even three if you have enough content and time) unique and new Pin graphic every day will increase your Pin impression as well as traffic to your blog.
Now, if you miss pinning a day or even two days in a week, that’s fine. This doesn’t require your religious dedication. However, the more days you miss the more you’ll notice a difference in your pin impression and traffic. So, try not to skip too many days.
Now, here are some good practices:
Create two/three new Pin graphics every day.
Since I have a template made in Canva already, all I really have to do is switch out the background image and the text. It takes a few minutes at most for each Pin graphic I design.
You should do the same. Having a template will not only make your pinning more efficient, but it will also increase your brand awareness.
Pin to multiple boards.
I have multiple boards for similar topics. For example, one of my boards is called “Blogging”, then there’s another one called “Blogging resources”, and another one called “Blogging Tips”, and also “Blogging for Beginners”, “Best Blogging Practices”… you get the picture. Any blogging-related posts can go to ALL of these boards. And so that’s what I do.
This is a great practice because the more boards you add to, the higher the chances of these Pins being seen. However, make sure you Pin to relevant boards, and not just in random boards, then it’ll kill the purpose.
Do not Pin multiple new Pin graphics all at the same time.
I have noticed more traction when I Pin only one unique Pin at a time. So, I Pin one new Pin graphic to all relevant boards. And then I wait a few hours before I pin a different one.
Ways to Pin More of Your Content Even If You’re a New Blogger, Without Looking Spammy
This is not just for the new bloggers. Even for those with a bunch of content, sometimes you want to repin more of the same blog posts for various reasons. Maybe you want people to take specific actions on a particular blog post, such as sign up for a course you’re offering, or subscribe to your newsletter in exchange for a free content upgrade. How do you go about pinning these posts over and over without looking spammy?
Well, I already hinted at that in the previous section. You create new Pins graphics! A new Pin graphic with a slightly different Pin description is great! Pinterest will treat them as new Pins and because they’re different, people won’t feel like they’re seeing the same content over and over again.
And if you’re a new blogger who doesn’t have a lot of content yet? This is the way you make it look like you have more content than you actually do.
How to Add more Pin Graphics without Cluttering Your Posts
Having more than one Pin graphic in your blog posts is a great idea. Different people have different aesthetic preferences. When you add more Pin graphics to your posts, people have more options to choose from, which will increase the chances of your content getting pinned by your readers more.
However, adding so many large and vertical Pin graphics (Pin graphics should always be vertically oriented. You can learn more about Pin graphics in this post) will make your posts look all cluttered.
You can avoid that by “hiding” your Pin graphics. You can do this by adding a little code, also known as inline CSS.
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>
Now, personally, at this point, I have well over 10 or even 20 unique Pin graphics for some of my posts. I do not suggest you add ALL of them to your posts, but having 2 or 3 variations is a good practice.
I know that was a long post (well, if you’ve been around TSB then that shouldn’t come as a surprise, heh) but I wanted you to have all this information in one place so you can refer to them if you need to, instead of having to track down multiple posts.
I covered most of the basics in this post and if you follow along, you should see an uptick in your blog traffic. However, if you wish to learn more about the different pinning strategies I use to drive traffic to my blog, then I recommend signing up for Blogging Blueprint — my premium course bundle that not only shows you how to grow traffic with Pinterest, but also build an email list of your super-fans, and start making money with affiliate marketing!
Subscribe to the email list if you wish to download the ultimate Pinterest Workbook!