When I launched Money Done Right, I never thought that my #1 traffic source would be Pinterest.
Long ago I had written off Pinterest as the domain of wedding, hairstyle, and interior decorating ideas.
Boy, was I wrong.
I was shocked at Pinterest’s ability to drive traffic.
In early July of this year I read somewhere that Pinterest was an incredible tool to drive traffic to blogs, so I decided to try it out for myself.
And I was absolutely floored by the results.
Within 7 days of launching Money Done Right’s Pinterest account, the blog had received 5,253 pageviews from Pinterest. I was amazed that this platform I had previously written off could drive so much traffic (and money!) in so little time!
Why is Pinterest so good at driving traffic to blogs?
If you’re not too familiar with Pinterest, you may be wondering why the platform is so good at driving traffic to new blogs.
Well, the reason is simple: people literally go on Pinterest to look at blog posts, or at least repin pins that they will eventually click through to get to a blog post.
Pinterest is built around off-platform content such as those found on blogs.
This contrasts sharply with other platforms such as Instagram and Facebook, which are built around on-platform content. People go on Instagram to look at pictures on Instagram. People go on Facebook to read updates on Facebook.
But people go on Pinterest to find ideas outside of Pinterest, and many of these ideas are found on blogs.
So how did I succeed on Pinterest?
I am an accountant with no training, formal or otherwise, in graphic design. In fact, I all but failed my high school art class. Strike one.
And my niche, personal finance, isn’t inherently visual, and yet Pinterest is extremely visual. Strike two.
But by implementing just a few simple strategies, I was able to position my blog’s Pinterest account for success. And I’d like to share these strategies with you here.
Here are my 9 tips on using Pinterest to grow your blog’s traffic.
1. Create a Pinterest business account.
Pinterest explicitly states in its Terms of Service, “If you want to use our Products for commercial purposes you must create a business account and agree to our Business Terms of Service.”
But this isn’t bad news at all. In fact, if you’re serious about driving traffic to your blog using Pinterest, having a Pinterest business account will help you tremendously. Here’s why:
- You can display your blog’s name as your Pinterest name rather than simply your first and last name.
- You get access to Pinterest analytics. This is a section of Pinterest that tells you which of your pins perform the best in terms of repins and clicks to your blog. This is invaluable information that will serve you well as you strive to optimize your Pinterest account for blog traffic.
- You can set up rich pins, which pull information about your blog post into your pin itself. Rich pins appear more professional and give more information about the content behind the pin than non-rich pins.
- It’s free!
2. Create quality pins.
Pinterest is visual, and to do well on Pinterest, you need to create attention-grabbing pins that users will want to click through to your blog as well as repin. Thankfully, you don’t have to be an incredible designer to create high-performing pins. I use PicMonkey to create all my pins. It really isn’t that hard, but here are some general guidelines:
- Make sure your photos are high-quality. You have two options here: take your own pictures or buy stock photos. Since I’m not gifted behind the lens, I get all the photos I use for my pins at Shutterstock. Shutterstock is not free, but it has very affordable prices on stock photos depending on how many images you need per month. I used to get free images from places like Pexels and Pixabay, but I quickly found that free images don’t perform well, largely because they are overused on Pinterest.
- Make your pin text as large and as legible as possible. Like it or not, pins with a text overlay perform better than pins without any text on them. But you have to do your text the right way. Don’t use difficult-to-read, script-like fonts. Remember, people are scrolling through their Pinterest feeds a mile a minute, and you need to catch their attention fast. If your pin text is difficult to read due to its size and/or font, people will just scroll right on past your pin.
- Make your pins’ dimensions vertical. This means that they should be taller than they are wide. I also recommend that you stick to one dimension for all your pins. I personally use 1500 tall x 735 wide, but other pinners have great success with other pin sizes as well.
3. Make your pin descriptions Pinterest SEO-friendly.
Pinterest isn’t so much a social media site as it is a search engine, or in Pinterest’s own words, a “search and discovery platform.” This means that whenever you post a pin to Pinterest, you have to think in terms of Pinterest SEO, or Pinterest Search Engine Optimization.
Here are some tips on upping your Pinterest SEO game:
- Use lots of keywords. Mention every major topic that your blog post is about, and also mention synonyms for each of these words. This will help your pins show up in more searches.
- Put your main keywords at the beginning. Some people only read the beginning of a pin’s description, so you want to make sure that the keywords you use at the beginning of your pin description are the most on-point.
- Make your pin descriptions as long as possible. The maximum length is currently 500 characters. You want to stuff as many keywords into your pin description as possible so your pin can show up in as many searchers as possible.
Let’s put these tips together with an example. If your pin and blog post are about The 9 Best Sunscreens for Babies, then you may want to write a pin description like this: “Best sunscreens for babies! Check out these top SPF sun lotions for your children so that they don’t get sunburned this summer. When you buy these affordable sunscreens for your little ones and their sensitive skin, you can be sure that you are getting a quality product. These sunscreens are great for kids, toddlers, and babies. If you’re wondering how to protect your baby’s skin in the sun and block UV rays, check out this article.”
4. Create and pin to your own boards.
On Pinterest, a board is simply a collection of pins all about some topic. The boards you create should be related to your niche, and as you create pins related to a given board’s topic, you should pin them to that board.
You should also pin others’ content to your boards as well, especially at the beginning, since you don’t have a lot of your own pins. Although Pinterest has not stated this explicitly, some bloggers believe that the algorithm “rewards” pinners who pin their own as well as others’ pins by giving such pinners’ pins priority in search results and in the Pinterest feed.
Be sure that your boards related to your niche. Money Done Right is a blog about money. Accordingly, it has boards like these:
- Best of Money Done Right: I put *almost* every pin I create here. I recommend that you likewise have a board called “Best of [Your Blog’s Name]”.
- Money Making Ideas & Tips
- Money Saving Ideas & Tips
- Blogging Tips & Tricks
- Investing Your Money Ideas & Tips
Don’t get too creative with your board names. They should be something that people might search for naturally. That’s why I named one of my boards “Money Making Ideas & Tips” rather than “Lemme Show Ya Boyz How I Gonna Stack that Paper Real Nice.”
I’d recommend checking out the Pinterest profiles of leaders in your niche for board title (p)inspiration.
5. Join and pin to relevant group boards.
Group boards are boards that multiple people can pin to. They’re a great way to get exposure early on since typically group boards have a rule that you have to pin others’ content as well as your own or else get kicked out of the board.
Due to these rules, you can be sure that other pinners in a group board you are in will pin your pins to their boards. When this happens, those pinners’ followers will see your pins and potentially click through to your blog or repin your pins to their own boards.
I’d recommend checking out the Pinterest profiles of leaders in your niche, see what group boards they’re in, and request to join them.
If you have any pins relating to working from home, I’d love for you to join my group board Make Money at Home. See the board description for instructions on how to join.
Let’s say someone clicks on your pin. They read the article. How easy is it for them to repin your content from your blog itself? It should be extremely easy for them to do that. You’ll notice that at the top and bottom of my articles I have various social share buttons. These are key for getting your content repinned!
I used a free social sharing plug-in for a while, but I eventually started using Social Warfare and couldn’t be happier. It’s lightning fast and doesn’t slow down my site like the free plug-ins.
7. Use a Pinterest scheduler.
Whether you’re a student, a corporate slave, or a stay-at-home parent, I know this about you: you’re busy. There’s only so much time you can commit to growing your blog. I feel you.
That’s why I use the Pinterest scheduler Tailwind to pin to my own boards as well as the group boards I’m in.
I recommend that you sign up for a free trial for Tailwind using the link below.
Now, I will caveat this by saying that Pinterest schedulers are not necessarily an absolute must. You can still succeed on Pinterest by pinning manually, i.e., pinning pins one-by-one without the use of an automated scheduler like Tailwind.
However, if you decide to pin manually, you will obviously have to invest a bit more of your own time on the platform. If this is the route you want to go, then I recommend you click here to check out Carly Campbell’s e-book Pinterest Strategies: From 0 – 200k Page Views with Manual Pinning.
8. Don’t focus too much on followers.
Unlike on, say, Instagram, followers are not paramount to success on Pinterest. The reason that followers are so important on Instagram is that when people scroll through Instagram, they pretty much only see posts of people they follow. This is not so with Pinterest. On Pinterest, people do see the content of those they follow, but they also see other relevant content of people they don’t follow.
So don’t focus on followers. Focus on traffic. After all, traffic pays, and followers don’t.
I will say, though, that Pinterest followers are useful for social proof. Accounts with lots of followers have immediate validation that their account is worthwhile and their boards are useful. And some group boards are only open to accounts with a certain numbers of followers.
But don’t worry about that for now. Focus on driving traffic to your blog putting into the practice the rest of the ideas in this list, and your follower count will naturally grow as a byproduct.
9. Always be learning.
The Pinterest algorithm changes constantly, and it’s important to keep up or you will miss out on valuable page views and revenue.
That’s why you need to always be learning and testing out new things. I’m doing this constantly!
If you’d like to learn more about growing your blog, I encourage you to sign up for my free blogging e-course in the box below. Even if you’ve been blogging for a while, it’s good to see how other bloggers are going about building their blogs. And I also send my students periodic updates that I think may be of use to them, including information about changes to Pinterest’s algorithm.