How to Increase Blog Traffic with These 5 Pinterest Graphics + FREE Canva Templates

14 min read

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How to design Pinterest graphics that drive massive blog traffic.

Pinterest traffic isn’t a myth.

I know because I get most of my blog traffic from Pinterest.

The images below show my blog traffic acquisition over a 30-day period.

The Side Blogger Traffic Distribution Circle - From Google analytics - Over a 30-Day Period

The Side Blogger Traffic Acquisition Report - Via Social

The first image shows the traffic acquisition circle over a 30-day period, and as you can see, over 60% of my traffic is from Social channels. As you know, Pinterest is the only platform that I focus on. So the majority of that 62% is really just Pinterest. You can see the proof of that in the second image. The second image shows you a breakdown of all social traffic over a 30-day period and Pinterest is over 97% of that.

In summary, Pinterest is how most people find me. If you’re reading this post, there’s a 60% (or more) chance that you came here via Pinterest, am I right? (Feel free to let me know in the comments if you’ve found me on Pinterest!)

Anyhow, all that is to say that Pinterest is a potent source for driving traffic to your blog, and it’s much easier to gain traction on Pinterest than say, on Google. As you can see above, approximately only 20% of my traffic comes from organic searches (Google or other search engines). Compare that to my Pinterest traffic and really, if it weren’t for Pinterest, I wouldn’t have a blogging business!

So yes, if you’re a blogger and not utilizing Pinterest, you’re leaving traffic and money on the table, my friend!

That said, like all good things worth having in this World, Pinterest traffic requires some work on your part. And out of all the things you need to do to make sure you’re using Pinterest the right way, we’re only going to focus on one of them in this blog post today — Pinterest graphics!

(If you want a better understanding of all things Pinterest related, I suggest you read this post on how to drive massive blog traffic with Pinterest.)

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A Brief Introduction to Pinterest & The Importance of Quality Graphics

In case this is your first time on The Side Blogger and you’re a total Pinterest noob, read this section. If not, feel free to skip it and go to the next section.

Now, what is Pinterest?

Good question! Well, Pinterest is a visual search engine with some social media like features. You can read more about Pinterest here, but for this blog post, the part that you need to know is this:

  • Unlike Google that shows you a list of content — with titles and meta descriptions — after each searched keyword, Pinterest shows you a list of graphics (images or multimedia). Each of these graphics links to a piece of content. For example, when I search for “blog launch checklist”, this is what I see on Pinterest vs Google (the first image is the search result page on Pinterest, and the second is on Google):
Search result page on Pinterest
Search result page on Pinterest for the keyword “blog launch checklist”.
Search engine result page on Google
Search result page on Google for the keyword “blog launch checklist”.

As you can tell, Pinterest is big on graphics. And such, whether or not someone will click on your Pin (a Pin is the image or graphics that you’ve added on Pinterest, which typically links to a post on your blog) depends on whether or not they find your Pin graphic appealing/interesting.

So, in the rest of this post, I will show you 5 different Pinterest graphics design techniques that will help you get your ideal reader’s attention.

The Basics of Designing Pinterest Graphics

Before we look at the design techniques, there are a few things I want you to note from the image I shared in the previous section:

  • For one searched keyword, you see a LOT of results, as to be expected on any search engine platform.
  • The images dominate the search result page on Pinterest. While you do see the post title underneath, it’s small and overshadowed by the large images.
  • All the images have the same width. The height is justified based on the width. Therefore, the longer the Pin graphic, the more space an image will take, and the higher the chances will be of dominating your ideal readers’ visual periphery. (Be careful though, graphics that are longer than 1:2.1 aspect ratio get cropped.)
  • All the images (or most of them at least) have the content title on the image itself. This is due to the fact that the titles underneath the images are tiny and unnoticeable. So, if you want people to click on your image, you have to tell them, on the image itself, what your content/post is about.

The 5 Pinterest graphics we’ll look at today are all designed with the above considerations in mind.

General considerations for all Pinterest graphics design:

Based on what we discussed above and some other good practices users have found to be useful, here’s what we need to pay attention to when designing Pinterest graphics:

1. Use the right Pin graphic dimensions

According to Pinterest, the graphics they like have a 2:3 aspect ratio. Supposedly, they share graphics that size more often than those that are a different size.

My personal experience, however, has been slightly different. I see more traction on graphics that have a 1:2 aspect ratio. 

I make both. I create several Pin graphics for one piece of content/blog post. For example, it’s common for me to create anywhere from 3-10 Pin graphics for one blog post, and I experiment with both sizes. That said, I do tend to make more of the 1:2 aspect ratio graphics because they always perform better.

I believe this varies from user to user, so my suggestion is that you design both sizes and experiment to see which performs better for you.

For reference, here are the sizes that I recommend.

2:3 aspect ratio → 600px by 900px or 800px by 1200px
1:2 aspect ratio → 600px by 1200px or 800px by 1600px

As you see, these are all vertically oriented graphics. Pinterest shows graphics in grids, they all have the same width, and the height is adjusted accordingly. So, you’ll cover more room when you have a taller graphic. But as I mentioned previously, graphics that are taller than 1:2.1 aspect ratio gets cropped. To avoid that, I suggest you create graphics no longer than a 1:2 aspect ratio.

Correct Pin Image Size and Orientation vs. Wrong Size and Orientation
Correct Pin Image Size and Orientation vs. Wrong Size and Orientation

2. Add a descriptive headline on the Pin

Pinterest is a visual search engine, and as such, each Pin is occupied mostly by the image itself, with a small [text] Pin title underneath the image. Often, it’s hard to even notice what that little title says, and the title itself only shows the first few words.

Trust me, nobody is paying attention…

So, to make sure you get clicks and re-pins, you’ve got to make sure Pinners know right away what they can expect from your blog post, as soon as they’ve laid eyes on your Pin graphic.

The way to do so is by adding the blog post/content title right on top of the Pin image itself, in big letters so that they pop out, and cannot be missed.

3. Add your blog/business info

Aside from the title of the post, you should also add your blog/business name and/or URL (I prefer the entire URL than just the name). Some people even add their logos.

Personally, I prefer the post title and the URL on the Pin image, and nothing else. If the logo isn’t intrusive and doesn’t make your Pin image look too crowded, then sure, feel free to add the logo. Otherwise, just the URL is sufficient.

Now, I advise you to add your URL on the Pin image itself for a very important reason.

Often you will come across frauds on Pinterest, where they’ll scrap your image, and use it to drive traffic to a totally different website. Having your blog/business information on the Pin image itself will let a user know that what they’re seeing isn’t from you.

For example, in the past, I have found my graphics linking to different blogs and websites. When it happened, I reported the Pins and the users who were misusing my copyrighted material.

However, you cannot possibly find every time this happens. But fortunately, I have generous readers. Sometimes I get an email from a reader saying they found one of my Pin graphics going to a different blog altogether, and so they took the initiative to report the Pin themselves. They also knew where to look for the actual content that was promised within the pin graphic, because they saw my blog URL on the pin image itself.

So, to safeguard your content, and to potentially alert readers who may have wanted to read your post but instead were taken to a whole different site when they clicked on the Pin, I advise that instead of just writing the name of your blog/business, you write the whole URL on all of your Pin images.

This is what your typical Pin image structure should look like:

The general structure of a Pin graphic.
The general structure of a Pin graphic.

4. Design on-brand Pins

So, this is somewhat confusing because what does an on-brand Pin look like in the first place? A pin graphic that always has the same colors and fonts as your brand colors and fonts? Sure, that’s one way to look at it.

However, this isn’t always the case, because the fonts you use on your website may work on your website, but not on Pin images. Perhaps you use a script font for your headlines and a sans-serif font such as Karla as your body font. None of those are great for use on Pinterest.

Also, what if your brand colors are dark blue and white? Imagine trying to make interesting looking Pins with those colors only.

Sometimes, if you’re lucky, you have brand fonts and colors that play well on Pinterest as well. But that’s incidental. No one designs a brand with Pinterest on the mind, and neither should they.

So, what if your brand colors and fonts are not suitable for Pin images?

Essentially, “on-brand” for Pins comes down to having a consistent style that makes you distinguishable from the rest on this platform so that people can associate you with your blog/business.

For example, my brand colors and fonts are not suitable for Pinterest. But I still have a consistent style for all of my Pin images. Take a look:

The Side Blogger Pin graphics.

Here are some tips for designing on-brand Pins:

  • Use the same fonts for all of your Pin images.
  • Use the same or very similar layout for all Pin graphics.
  • Use the same or similar color palette for all of your Pin graphics.

Do not be afraid to test out different styles to find one that you like and that also performs well on Pinterest. You may find that your “on-brand” style will evolve over time, or change completely, and that’s OK.

5. Make your Pins search engine ready

As I have mentioned, Pinterest is essentially a visual search engine with social media like features. So, as with all search engines, you need to do some SEO specific to Pinterest for your Pins to perform well on this platform, get found by the right people, drive traffic, etc.

The Pinterest SEO strategies are beyond the scope of this blog post, so suggest you check out my post on how to drive massive traffic with Pinterest if you wish to learn more.

However, because this is so important, I want to point out a few things regarding Pin images:

  • You should always make sure that your Pins are linking to the correct content/blog post.
  • You should have rich-pin enabled (the blog post I have linked above has details on this and steps for how to do it).
  • Your Pins should have a good title (not just the Pin title, but the Pin image itself should have a title on it that describes what the Pin is about, and the content that it is linked to. )
  • Your Pin description should clearly state, with keywords, what readers can expect from your blog post/content. Use hashtags in the descriptions to be found by more people looking for your topic.

Additional good practices:

  • For the post title on the images, use font(s) that are easily readable. Big and bold fonts are the best. Some good fonts to use (that are available for free on Canva) are Montserrat, Aileron, Oswald, Bebas Neue, Lato, etc.
  • You should highlight important words to grab your ideal readers’ attention. You can do so in many ways, some of which are:
    • Use a different font for these words.
    • Use background color for these words.
    • Use a different text-color for these words.
    • Use different font-size (larger font) for these words.
  • Use premium images or your own images for the Pin graphics. Common free stock images tend to perform poorly on Pinterest because they’re overused, and thus do not capture attention as well as premium images. If you’re a Canva Pro member, you will have access to millions of premium Canva images for free, included in your subscription.

Now it’s time to design our Pin graphics!

Pinterest Graphics Design 1: Image with Negative Space

Lately, I’ve been seeing these a lot. Pinterest graphics that have an image as a background with a lot of negative space and the post title is strategically placed in this negative space.

(An image with negative space is one with a lot of “empty” space.)

This is smart because it’s easy and takes no time to design at all. All you have to do is find the right image, and then type up your post title on the negative space.

 

Here’s how you do it:

  • Create a new design on Canva. Use the size-guide above to create a design of 2:3 aspect ratio or 1:2 aspect ratio.
  • Go to the “Photos” tab and search for an image with negative space. Just type “negative space” and Canva will show you everything it can find in its image library with that attribute. Alternatively, use your own images. You can upload your own image in Canva by going to the “Uploads” tab.
  • Insert the image of choice in your Pin graphic, and then use the “text” tab to add text (post title) on your Pin image. Or, just type the letter “T” on your keyboard to insert a textbox on your design.
  • As per instructed, use a font that’s easily readable, and preferably a big and bold font.
  • Add your website URL.

And voila!

Canva Pro-tip: In this example, I have used a different color for the important words. An easy way to select these colors is by using the dominant colors of the background photo. Canva makes this easy by creating a color palette based on the image that you have used. Just highlight the text and then go to the color panel, then scroll down until you see this palette.

Pin Design 1

Pinterest Graphics Design 2: Semi-Sheer Background

This is the design I personally use for my graphics.

This one’s pretty easy to design as well, just like the previous one. The difference is that you will now add an extra layer on top of the background image to make a semi-sheer background. Refer to the video to see how it’s done.

 

Here are the steps:

  • Find an image for the background, just like you did in the previous one.
  • Add a solid color grid on top of your image background. Choose whatever color you want for this. And then use the transparency tool to make this layer semi-sheer, so that the background image comes through.
  • Add your website URL, and the post title, much like you did in the previous section.

Optionally, you can create a partial semi-sheer background. As you see in the video, all you have to do is resize the solid color layer to whatever size you want. Play with this template (shared below) to create something unique for yourself.

Pin Design 2

Pinterest Graphics Design 3: Use Half-n-Half

Another interesting design is by creating a half-image and half-solid color graphic.

You can get really creative with this too! For example, Canva has a lot of pre-built shapes that you can use to create something unique.

Check out the video to learn more.

 

Here’s what you do:

  • Use a background image, and then add a pre-made Canva shape or frame to add a solid color on top. Alternately, use a solid color background, and then add a frame on top of that, and insert an image to the frame.
  • Type your post title on top of the solid color.
  • Add your website URL.

Pin Design 3

Pinterest Graphics Design 4: Color-Block the Title

Another good way to highlight your title is by color blocking them.

 

It’s simple, really.

Just add a rectangular shape behind your focus words, adjust the width and height of the shape, give it some color, make sure the text color pops on top of this background color, and there you go! Easy, but eye-popping, in just a few seconds!

Pin Design 4

Pinterest Graphics Design 5: Lead-Magnet Promotions

Another type of Pin graphic that you may have to design a lot is one where you promote a lead magnet or opt-in freebie.

You’ll find that Pin graphics that have a picture of the lead-magnet itself tend to do better on Pinterest. They get more engagement, clicks, etc.

 

In terms of the design method, you can use any of the above methods, just leave enough room to add an image of your freebies.

Additionally, you can add a text that says “Free Download” or Free Guide”, with an arrow pointing to the image of your freebie. Canva has built-in illustrations and shapes. Just go to the “Elements” tab (as shown on the video), type “arrow” and you’ll see a bunch of arrow shapes will pop up. Choose the one you like and drag it to the design.

Pin Design 5


Well, there you have it. Feel free to play with these templates, use them as is, or use them as a base to create something of your own.

Alternately, find something on my blog shop!

Now, before I let you go, I want to share a few useful tips when it comes to designing a Pin graphics:

Tips for Text Manipulation

Another good way to make your Pins stand out is by emphasizing certain words of your Pin title. For example, if you have a blog post with the title “15 Easy Recipes for Weeknights”, You may want to emphasize “15”, “recipes”, and “weeknights”. You can do so by using any of these:

  • Use a different font for these “catch” or “key” words.
  • Use the same font as the rest, but make it bold
  • Use a larget font size for these words (all the examples above do this.)
  • Use a different text-color for these words (some of the examples above do this.)
  • Use different background colors for these words (you can add a small rectangular shape behind the text and give it a solid color like you see in designs 4 and 5 above.)

Here are some examples from my own Pin library:

Playing with text to emphasize different words.
Playing with text to emphasize different words.

Tips on Choosing the Right Images for Your Pin Graphics

Choosing the right images for Pin graphics can be pretty daunting. The internet and Pinterest are full of same-old stock photos that you see everyone using. And if we know anything about blogging, it’s that being different often takes you a long way.

One of the ways to be different is to NOT use the photos that everyone else is using.

The best way to do that is by using premium stock images.

Or, use your own photos. Unfortunately, not all of us have time to take our own photos, edit them to perfection and then make Pins with them. Instead, using stock photos can make life a lot simpler.

But then again, free stock photos, the ones that are good quality at least, are just a little too overused.

So, premium photos it is!

However, if you’re a beginner blogger with little to no budget, you can still use free stock photos, just make sure that you spend some time finding the ones that are not being used by every other blogger under the sky. PexelsPixabay, and Unsplash remain some of the best places to find free stock photos.

But, if you’re willing to spend $13 per month, I suggest signing up for Canva Pro. Canva Pro gives you access to thousands of premium stock photos for completely free! You not only get Canva premium features with Pro but also the right to use these amazing premium photos… it’s like getting the best of both worlds with Canva Pro.

Some Words of Wisdom About Fonts

You want your readers to be able to read the titles on your Pin image. So, use fonts wisely. Make sure they are legible. Stay away from flourishes unless you are absolutely certain that it will work and not take away from the aesthetics instead.

Some good fonts on Canva that you can use even with the free account are:

Aileron, Montserrat, Lato, Lora, Merriwether, Open Sans, Oswald, Bebas Neue, etc.

If you must use a script font, I like Playlist Script and Great Vibes.

Also note that with Canva Pro, you can install your own fonts if you want.


Well, that’s all I have for now. Were the videos helpful? How confident are you now that you’ll be able to create beautiful Pin graphics? Let me know in the comments below!

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How to design Pinterest graphics that drive massive blog traffic.


9 thoughts on “How to Increase Blog Traffic with These 5 Pinterest Graphics + FREE Canva Templates”
  1. In my opinion, every blogger wants to learn more tips and tactics of blogging to use them in their blog. And I’m very thankful that people like you and other helpful people who always share something new and important for new bloggers.

    These tips and information really caught my mind. Keep the good work up.

  2. I actually found you via Google 🙂 Great post it is too!

    I was specifically trying to find out if Pinterest can understand actual graphics on a Pin.

    So for example, if I used a Canva graphic (not photo) image of a camera, would Pinterest understand the Pin might be about photography?

    1. Pinterest doesn’t have that technology as far as I understand. Their algorithm looks at traditional SEO practices like keywords (on boards as well as Pin descriptions). Whether you use an image or an illustration doesn’t affect how Pinterest treats your Pins. However, user behavior may differ based on what kind of images/graphics you’re using. So, if one Pin does better than the other, it’ll likely be due to how users are interacting with your Pins. Based on that, Pinterest will determine how [often] your Pins are shown to users.

      Hope that made sense.

  3. Thank you so much for the information! I’m tackling Pinterest right now and it’s driving a lot of traffic so far and I want to keep it up.

  4. Hi there,
    I just wanted to let you know that your content is so relevant, informative, and thorough. You’re blog is very user friendly and I thoroughly enjoy reading it. I don’t feel bombarded by angst-y information overload because of the way you organized it. Thanks so much for these helpful guides. It’s much appreciated!

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