Blogging Tips: How I More Than Doubled My Pinterest Traffic in 30 Days
If you read my November blog traffic report, you might remember me talking about Pinterest, and how I’d spent the month trying out different techniques to try to grow the traffic I get from it.
It worked, too: here’s a comparison of my Pinterest referrals in October and November 2015…
(Source: Google Analytics)
So, in September, Pinterest sent 7,399 visitors to my blog, but in November that number more than doubled, taking me to 15,634 visitors from Pinterest. Which honestly surprised me as much as it probably surprises you, because to be completely honest, I was pretty much shooting in the dark here: I basically spent the month reading everything I could find about Pinterest, and then trying it all, one technique at a time, to try to find out what worked.
And what DID work, I hear you ask? Here’s a full list of everything I tried last month, what worked, and what didn’t…
01. Enabled Rich Pins
Rich Pins are pins that include extra information: you can read a bit more about them here. Rich pins are only available to people who have Pinterest business accounts, which I already had, and recommend getting if you don’t already have one (you can upgrade your account here): not only does a business account allow to you use Rich Pins, it also gives you access to Pinterest Analytics, which lets you see which pins are the most popular, and analyse what’s working for you and what isn’t.). I’ll be honest, the setup procedure is pretty complicated, and I had to draft in Terry to help with it, but it’s something Pinterest themselves recommend doing, claiming that it will help increase the visibility of your pins.
Did it work? Honestly, it’s hard to tell. I don’t really have any way to measure what kind of difference the Rich Pins made, but I DID notice pins from my blog appearing more often in my feed, and I’ve had other people tell me they’ve been seeing them more often too. I don’t pin a lot of product-based pins, so I’m not sure my blog is the best example of the kind of site this would work for, but I’d imagine that if you were selling products, these would be really helpful.
02. Signed up to Viralwoot
Viralwoot is a site that claims to help you promote your pins and grow you follower numbers: basically you earn “seeds” by following/liking/repinning other member’s pins, and you then spend the seeds on having them do the same for you. I decided to try this because I’d read about it on a couple of blogs I have a lot of respect for, but I was really disappointed with it, and didn’t think it was worth the $5 I paid to try it out.
In the course of a month I DID gain over 100 followers, but I only got 35 repins from them, which is pretty dire, really. Followers are only useful to me if they’re interested in my content, and these ones obviously weren’t: I also noticed that a lot of the pins that were being shown to me were really spammy ones, promoting weight-loss products and things like that. I wouldn’t ever re-pin stuff like that, so while I’m prepared to believe my experience may not have been typical (As I said, I tried this out based on the recommendations of bloggers I have a lot of respect for, so it obviously works for some people!), this is one I definitely wouldn’t use again.
Did it work? Yes if you’re just interested in gaining followers: not at all if you actually want those followers to look at your pins and visit your blog.
03. Updated some of my most popular posts, and created better images
By looking at my Pinterest Analytics, I was able to see which pins were most popular, and sending me the most traffic, namely these ones:
From this, it’s immediately obvious that the pins that work best for me are the ones offering information or advice of some kind, so one of the first things I did was to go through some of my most popular posts and update the images to make them more pinnable. I already have a “Pin It” button on the images, but I found that people are much more likely to pin images with text on them, so I’ve been gradually going through the archive and updating the images to include at least one with text for all of the information/advice posts.
I also get a fair bit of Pinterest traffic to my outfit posts, and home decor ones: only a couple of those appear in the top ten pins, but they do account for a fair bit of traffic, with this photo of my dressing table being the most popular pin by far. I don’t add text to this type of photo, because they don’t need it: it’s immediately obvious what the image is showing, so people will pin those without them needing any text. The photos I use on my blog tips or lifestyle posts, however, don’t make it obvious what the post is about (they’re really just there to make the post more visually interesting), so people won’t pin those unless there’s something to tell them what they’re going to lead them to if clicked.
Did it work? Yup – it’s a long process, but it’s definitely worth doing, so I’ll keep at it whenever I get the chance, and have been making sure I include at least one photo with text in all of my newer info/advice posts.
04. Joined group boards
One of the main pieces of advice I keep reading during my Pinterest research was that you should join group boards and pin to them on a regular basis. I actually found it quite difficult to identify suitable boards in the first place: I used the website Pin Groupie (which is currently offline) to find out what the most popular collaborative boards were, but my biggest problem was that most of them seemed to be food-based – and I don’t write about food. I did end up being accepted to a handful of boards (mostly related to blogging), and have been pinning to them often, but I can’t say it’s helped much: most of the boards I found don’t seem to get a lot of re-pins (on ANY of the pins, not just on mine), so I was quite disappointed not to get the amazing results other people seem to get from them.
Did it work? Not really, but I suspect that if you were a food blogger, and able to join one of the more popular boards, you’d see much better results. I didn’t find too many covering the types of topics I pin about (and a lot of the ones I did find made it difficult to join, or didn’t respond to my requests), so it hasn’t been a huge success for me, but that’s not to say it won’t work for other types of blog!
05. Started scheduling pins through BoardBooster
Until I started what I think of as my “Pinterest Project” in Novemeber, my pinning had been pretty sporadic. Like a lot of people, I tend to go on pinning sprees, where I’ll pin a lot of stuff in a short space of time, then forget about the site for days, before going on another spree. That doesn’t work very well in terms of driving traffic from Pinterest: the pinning sprees annoy your followers, who find their timeline flooded with a million pins from the same person, and the long periods of silence… well, they don’t do anything AT ALL, do they?
In a bid to fix this, I signed up to Boardbooster, which is a pin scheduling site: basically it creates a bunch of secret boards which correspond to your public boards. You pin to the secret boards, and Boardbooster “releases” the pins to their public twins at scheduled intervals, so they’re spaced out more evenly. The site also has a ton of other features which allow you to clean up your boards, get rid of pins with broken links, and things like that: you do have to pay for it, but the price starts out at $5 per month, and for me, the investment was definitely worth it. This helped me, because rather than having to remember to go to Pinterest itself several times a day, I could spend a bit of time pinning things, and then just forget about it, knowing that Boardbooster would do the rest. That’s an affiliate link, but I can honestly say the service has been excellent: I had a couple of issues with billing, but all of my emails were responded to within a few minutes, which is amazing.
Did it work? Yes – in fact, I’ve upgraded my subscription for this month, and wouldn’t have had nearly the same amount of growth without it. With that said, there are other sites which schedule pins for you: BoardBooster is the only one I’ve tried, so it’s the only one I can comment on, but a quick Google search will turn up a few results.
06. Pinned more content from my own blog
When I started using Pinterest, I was under the impression that you shouldn’t pin from your own site, and should just sit back and wait for other people to do it. Because that’ll work, right? Well, no, it doesn’t – or it didn’t for me, anyway – so while I HAD been pinning my blog posts, I’d been doing it in a guilty, furtive kinda way, and I’d only been pinning each post once, then leaving the rest to fate – which wasn’t really helping, to be honest.
After the first couple of weeks of my experiment, however, and having not really seen a huge difference in traffic, I read a couple of articles from people who said they weren’t just pinning their posts once – they were pinning them multiple times, albeit with a decent interval between pins, in order to minimise the annoyance to followers. This seemed really odd to me, because I figured if I’d already pinned something, why on earth would I pin it AGAIN? The thing is, though, if you only pin something once, you’ll only have one opportunity for your followers to see it – and many of them probably won’t, because they won’t be online at the time you pin.
With that in mind, I started scheduling each pin more than once, spreading them amongst different boards, leaving long intervals between repeat pins, and making sure I was also pinning other content in between times. This is the thing that made the biggest difference to my Pinterest referrals, as you can see from the graph below:
I increased the amount of pins I was making from my blog around halfway through the month: the referrals had been growing slowly at that point, but on November 15th they shot up, and I got more than double the Pinterest traffic I’d previously been getting. Traffic from Pinterest dipped a little after that, and will always depend on how much I and other people are pinning from my blog, but by the end of the month it had started to rise again, and I ended November with more than double the Pinterest traffic I’d started with: result!
Did it work? YES. This is the technique that made the biggest difference by far. The downside of it is that it’s a little time-consuming (I reached the stage where I was actually DREAMING about Pinterest…), and you have to be careful not to pin the same stuff too often. Boardbooster has really helped with this (it has a feature where it will not pin the same thing more than once within a certain timeframe), and it also helps to have more than one image in your posts, as you can make sure your pins aren’t too repetitive.
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Phew! That ended up being much longer than I expected it to be: sorry! I had quite a few questions about Pinterest after I published my last blog traffic report, though, so I hope this was useful to some of you. Before I go, I just want to say that this is in no way a definitive guide to how to get traffic from Pinterest – I’m definitely not an expert on this, and I’m sure there are tons of other things I could/should be doing. These are just the things I’ve tried so far: as with most aspects of blogging, it’s really a case of trial and error, and I’m learning as I go. One of the pieces of feedback I’ve had from my blogging tips series, however, is that people find it useful to hear about the things that DON’T work as well as the things that DO, which is why I’ve gone into so much detail with this – I really hope it helps!