pinterest tips for bloggers

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…

Pinterest referrals to ForeverAmber.co.uk

(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…

how I more than doubled my Pinterest traffic

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:

Follow Amber McNaught’s board POPULAR PINS on Pinterest.

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.

pinterest blog tips

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.

how I more than doubled my Pinterest referrers in 30 days

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:

Pinterest referrals to ForeverAmber.co.uk

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.

  *   *   *

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!

COMMENTS
  • Nice tips, thank you. I’ve joined Pinterest some time ago but never saw it as a major helper. I guess with this new arsenal of advice, I’ll give it a try.

    December 13, 2015
  • Thank you so much for this post! I’m 100% clueless about Pinterest, I love it and all the wonderful inspiring things on it but for use with my little business, I have zero idea. However, after reading this, I have bookmarked the post to come back to tomorrow and give everything a go. Hurray for a Pinterest explained post, that I can actually understand! 😉 x

    December 13, 2015
  • Wow, thank you so much for breaking down every technique! This was super duper helpful! I’ve slowly growing my Pinterest and have started to use BoardBooster and have seen increase in repins and engagement on my Twitter Profile since using it and I cannot wait to see with continued use.

    I also joined a few group boards, but they aren’t as great as other bloggers hype them to be.

    – Juliet from http://www.thelittlejewelsoflife.com

    December 13, 2015
  • I also noticed you were experimenting, I saw a lot more pins from than usual 🙂

    I said on twitter you do not need a business account for rich pins, so I thought I’d expand. You don’t need a Pinterest account at all for this, all you need to do is add the appropriate meta tags to your blog/site, then validate a URL here:
    https://developers.pinterest.com/docs/rich-pins/validator/

    It tells you if all the tags are ok, and how your pin will look like. Mess around with them until it’s what you want, then apply for rich pins.
    You do need a business account for Pinterest Analytics, though. It used to be for everyone, but I guess it’s too much data to process for them, and they’d rather only do it for people who are interested.

    I’ve been thinking of repinning old posts, could you give more information on what worked for you? How long between repinning, and whether you delete the old pin if it’s in the same board. Thanks! 🙂

    December 13, 2015
    • Sorry, you do need an account, I just tried to use the validator logged off and it asks me to sign in.

      December 13, 2015
  • Deanna Debrecht

    REPLY

    Hello Amber! I’ve definitely seen more of your pins in my feed lately, which I love! So whatever you’re doing is definitely working 🙂 Hope you have a wonderful holiday!

    December 13, 2015
  • Amanda

    REPLY

    I do not blog, but I love to read your blogging tips posts. You are such a businesswoman! I love how you break everything down and I am sure these are so so helpful to anyone who blogs. Your blog is one of my favorite to read because you are always so transparent and open about your business practices (which can be hard to find in a world of shady bloggers). I am sure the ebook you are writing will do so well!

    December 14, 2015
  • Accidental blogger

    REPLY

    I would love more info on finding out what boards I can join!

    I’m a holistic blogger with some upcoming crossover from holistic beauty and holistic fashion.

    I also blog about blogging.

    Xoxo

    Great post!

    Lori

    December 14, 2015
  • I would be really interested in a post about how you use google analytics to its best advantage for your blog. I feel like I’m probably missing quite a few things with it!

    Gisforgingers xx

    December 14, 2015
  • It can take some time to find the right fit for group boards. I joined a bunch of writing/publishing/creativity-related boards, and had to cull a few later because my pins to those boards just weren’t performing. (I analyze pin performance with Tailwind.) Some of the group boards I use perform better than others, so I focus on pinning to them. It’s a culture thing. If the board creators put effort into fostering an audience of enthusiastic, interested people, the engagement happens naturally.

    December 15, 2015
  • Loved this post – will definitely look into Boardbooster!

    December 15, 2015
  • Kelly

    REPLY

    Amber this is the best Pinterest blog advice I’ve read to date…I was already doing a few of these (and they’ve helped me grow my blog traffic) however there were a few tips on this post that I will be using in the future.
    You’re truly a blogging superstar, thank you!
    xx
    Around the World in 80 Pairs of Shoes

    December 19, 2015
  • Thank you for this great tips! I am definitely going to try some of it.

    December 27, 2015
  • i read a couple of your posts on blogging and (not being a blogger myself) got a bit anxious and feel blogging is extremely complicated and somewhat tedious. if there’s an official blogging college you should be teaching there. best regards, aida.

    December 27, 2015
  • Very interesting read xo

    January 3, 2016
  • Interesting post and very helpful ! I like how easy is to pick a topic I am interested in on your website. Did you make the themes /design yourself ?

    January 22, 2016
  • Nice! In my profile I have a board specifically for my own Pins. Is it better to unpin and then repin my own posts so people can see it?

    May 26, 2016
  • It’s very interesting to know that you got increased engagement from pinning more of YOUR content than from other sites. Tailwind has helped me schedule pins in intervals so that I don’t seem spammy and I think this is a great point you raised.

    Great article! Thanks for sharing

    July 22, 2017
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