Blog Clinic: Driving traffic from Pinterest to your blog
With over 100 million users and a staggering 50 billion pins, Pinterest can be a massive source of traffic for bloggers. But how can you make the most of it? We asked Pinterest ambassador and the blogger behind A Mummy Too, Emily Leary, to share her secrets.
Even if you're already pinning, there might still be many things you can do to grow your following. Before we dig in to the details though, let's get the semantics out of the way.
Pinterest is not a social network.
It really isn't. Think of it more as a visual discovery tool. On the scale of social to search, it sits closer to search. You don't really log on to Pinterest to see what your friends have been up to or to chat to your bestie - you come to research, to discover, and to be inspired.
According to Pinterest, 96% of pinners use the platform to research and gather information, and 70% of pinners take action on pins - which means there's a huge audience ready and waiting to be directed to your blog. With stats like this, it's no surprise that Pinterest can be a valuable tool in driving traffic to your blog.
So now you know what you're working with, here's how to get it right.
Optimise your pins
With so many pins out there competing for attention, you need to do your best to create fabulous pins that beg to be noticed. The vast majority of Pinterest users are actively looking for new ideas and inspiration, so your pins need to make it easy for them.
Here's a checklist of key features you should be aiming for.
- Choose a high quality, portrait image. It needs to be in focus, well-lit, and not too cluttered. There are exceptions, but in general, poor images don't perform well on this very visual platform.
- Make it easy for pinners to understand what the pin offers, even if they don't read the description. You may want to add a text overlay to the image to really sell it to the scanning eye. For a really polished look, consider using the same fonts and colours as your blog theme.
- Include a good, detailed description on the pin. Again, Pinterest's algorithm (and the human eye) is looking for a useful description, so don't just tap out the title. Think about who that recipe, that craft, or those money saving tips would be most useful to, in what situation and when. In general, longer descriptions perform better - and you can see from my 'Food - bring on the deliciousness' board how much information you can get into them.
- No hashtags. We're all used to using hashtags, but do avoid them on Pinterest as they have no value and will just clutter up the message you're trying to get across.
- Get stylish. Different pin styles work well for different topics. The minimalist look of popular interiors pins is quite different from the often loud and proud look of the best food pins, so check out what does well for your niche.
- Apply for rich pins. Rich pins automatically pull information about the content from your blog and present it under the image on your pin. This helps adds extra useful detail with no extra work, and makes your pins stand out. Go to Rich Pins on Pinterest and follow the instructions to apply.
- Label your boards meaningfully. You might be spending hours making your boards look pretty, but most users will discover your pins through search so make sure your descriptions are useful. This is in part what the Pinterest algorithm will look at when deciding which pins to surface first in search results.
Integrate Pinterest with your blog
Pinterest is not just about directing users to your blog; you also need to make sure your blog readers can easily pin your content to their Pinterest account. Some of my biggest Pinterest hits have taken off when someone else pinned from my site – so remember that it's not always your own pins that will make content fly.
Add a Pin It button
Having this on all your images and your sharing buttons will give your readers a low-effort way to share your content. The more prominent that Pin It button is, the more likely the reader is to take action.
Get a business account
This gives you access to Pinterest analytics - and it's free. If you're signing up for a Pinterest account for the first time, choose a business account. If you've already got a personal account, you can convert it to a business account here. Standard accounts don't have access to the same level of analytics, so once you're on a business account you'll have access to a great deal of data - including which pins are getting the most engagement, what content people are pinning from your blog, and an overview of your audience demographics and interests.
The analytics tool is a rich resource to help you focus your Pinterest efforts on what really works for your blog. Use it to help you fine-tune your Pinterest activity for maximum traffic.
You really do get back what you put in with Pinterest. I found from the start that the more time I spent on the platform, the more traffic I generated - and that's still true today. Why? Well the more time I spend browsing great pins, the more I get a natural sense of what works in that moment.
Trends start to show up very early on Pinterest so you can hook into something that's just becoming popular early enough to ride the viral wave.
And of course, I want to be useful to my followers for more than just my own blog content, I want to be a curator of beautiful, inspiring, useful pins so that followers are engaged across my boards and keep interacting pin after pin.
So, keep optimising your own blog pins, but also keep searching, keep repinning, keep following great boards and keep adding relevant, engaging content to sit alongside your own and you're on the right track.