How to Use Pinterest to Grow Your Blog
Lately I keep stumbling across blog tip articles which contain the advice to ignore the numbers – i.e. don’t keep checking your blog stats all the time.
While I definitely agree that it’s a bad idea to obsess over stats, if you want your blog to grown, it’s not a good idea to ignore them, either. A quick look at your analytics package will tell you lots of things: not just how many people checked out your blog today, but also where they came from, and what they looked at while they were there.
Some of this information can be absolutely fascinating (In fact, you can see some of the more, er, unusual search terms people used to find me here), but today I’m focusing on the “where they came from” bit, and specifically, on Pinterest.
Pinterest is currently the top referrer of traffic (by quite some margin) to ShoeperWoman.com, and it sends a fair bit of traffic to Forever Amber, too. That’s quite something when you consider the fact that, just a few years ago, Pinterest didn’t even exist!
Now, I’m no expert on Pinterest, but I did start to pay a bit more attention to how I use it once I realised how much of my traffic I owed to the site, so here are a few things I’ve noticed which have helped me use Pinterest to grow my blog…
Create Pinworthy images
Well, D’UH! It’s one of those “Goes without saying” pieces of advice, but images have never been more important in blogging, and it stands to reason that if you want people to pin your images, you need to provide great images for them to pin. If you’re a fashion or beauty blogger, your photos have to be the best they can possibly be – you’ll find some tips for taking better outfit photos here. If your blog relies mostly on text, rather than on photos, meanwhile, you can still get traffic from Pinterest by creating graphics to illustrate your posts. I like Canva for creating blog graphics, but there are lots of other (free) programs out there which will let you create graphics without having to know much about design.
Make it easy for people to pin
People like to pin, but they don’t like to have to hunt around to work out how to do it. Adding the ‘Pin It’ button to your images will increase your chances of being pinned: I’ve customised mine to match the design of my blog, but you’ll find a few ready-made options here.
Use vertical images where possible
Add text to your images
If you’re writing an advice post, say, or something in which the words are really more important than the photos, it’s a good idea to add some text to your images to describe what the post is about, as I’ve done with the main image on this post. I don’t really like adding text to my images, because I generally think it ruins the effect a little, but there’s no doubt that it works: people like to pin posts they find useful (so they can find them again later) as well as images they just like to look at, so they’re much more likely to pin something that clearly tells them what the post is about – and people who see the pin are much more likely to click on it, too.
Pin your own photos
I know some people who are a bit embarrassed by the idea of pinning their own photos, and who feel it’s big-headed to do it. I definitely don’t recommend ONLY pinning your own photos, but “build it and they will come” isn’t a great philosophy when it comes to blogging, and “just sit back and wait for someone else to pin it” isn’t great either. If it makes you feel less awkward, try creating a dedicated board for your blog photos, then people who don’t want to see them, don’t have to follow it!
I have a board for my outfit photos (Embarrassingly, I actually refer back to this fairly often when I’m wondering what to wear – it helps me remember things I’ve worn before!) one for my beauty posts, one for my shoes (also handy in helping me remember what I have!), and so on. Er, that does sound like a lot now I’ve come to write it down, but as I said, as long as you’re not ONLY pinning your own stuff, it can be really useful, and help drive a lot of traffic to your blog.
Describe your pins
I think a lot of people – myself included – have a habit of simply hitting the “Pin It” or “repin” button, and then pinning the image with whatever text was already in the description box. It’s quicker and easier to pin that way, but you get more re-pins and click-throughs if you actually take the time to write a short description of the pin, and why you’re saving it – using relevant keywords helps, too.
(One word of warning: whatever you do, don’t just copy the text of the blog post you’re pinning from, and then paste it into the description box: that’s copyright infringement, and it can be really damaging to the site you’re pinning from due to Google’s duplicate content penalties. I once had someone go through my site pinning images (which was great!), and just copying and pasting the entire blog post that accompanied them into the description box. The person didn’t mean any harm, but I ended up with a large percentage of my content essentially duplicated on Pinterest, and had to ask them to remove it all. So please, I LOVE for people to pin my images, but please don’t copy my text, too!
Verify your account
I just recently verified my Pinterest account, which involves adding a piece of code to your template to allow Pinterest to verify that the blog is yours, and is connected to your Pinterest account. By doing this, you get your blog link next to the name in your profile, so people who follow you can click through to your site: you’ll find the option to verify your account, plus instructions how to do it, by clicking the “settings” icon.
Check what other people are pinning from your site
Pinterest Analytics gives you fairly in-depth information on what people are pinning from your site, but you can also see recent re-pins at a glance by typing http://www.pinterest.com/source/YOURDOMAIN into your browser. (Er, obviously replace “YOURDOMAIN” with your ACTUAL domain…) As well as being interesting to see what’s caught people’s attention, this also helps to learn what works and what doesn’t, by analysis which images people pin, and what kind of boards they pin them to. And, of course, once you know what works, you also know what to keep on doing!
Use Rich Pins
Rich Pins are pins which contain extra information: they’re more useful to pinners, and are more visible in the Pinterest search results. There’s a guide here on how to sign up and use them: it’s a little bit tricky, but definitely worth doing!
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As I said, this isn’t supposed to be an exhaustive list of everything you can do to boost traffic from Pinterest: it’s just a few of the things that have worked for me personally. If you have any tips to add on how to use Pinterest to boost your blog traffic, I’d love to hear them!