Pinterest is a visual search engine used by more than 4 million people (pinners) every month. That’s a lot of traffic that could be directed to your website. It’s not just about mass traffic though, according to Pinterest, 84% of pinners use the platform before deciding on buying an item or service.
Our Pinterest for bloggers and niche site owners guide will explain how Pinterest works, guide you through how to set up your Pinterest account, how to create easy but attractive pins and finally the most up-to-date Pinterest strategies for increasing traffic.
After organic traffic, Pinterest is my second biggest referrer for my travel site. Make it yours too by following our step-by-step guide.
This 20 step guide has been created using Pinterest best practices, personal experience and case studies.
By the end of this post you will be able to:
- Understand how Pinterest works
- Set up and optimize your Pinterest account
- Create quick, good-looking pins
- Pull traffic to your site via Pinterest this year
1. Understanding Pinterest
Before we dive into the setting up process for Pinterest, I want to introduce the topic of understanding Pinterest.
Many of our Facebook group members are quick to say that Pinterest doesn’t work for them.
Often the reason is because they haven’t actually spent much time getting to know the free platform as a pinner themselves.
Before you set up your business Pinterest account, I strongly recommend using the platform personally.
Use the app to observe what is being presented to you on the search page.
Take note of the topics that Pinterest is putting in front of your fingers, especially in the popular section.
Some of this will be influenced by your own search, in my case travel photography and road trip essentials but others will be based on what is popular overall on the platform.
Sometimes this will be seasonal, such as outside fall decor and other times it will be evergreen like interior design.
2. Who is on Pinterest?
Getting to grips with who uses Pinterest and creating an avatar for that customer will increase your chances of success on the platform.
According to Pinterest, pinners are
…here for new ideas and they’re looking for brands like yours.
Pinners open the Pinterest app or web browser for inspiration, education and help solving a problem.
85% of pinners say that they start a project by going to Pinterest first. 98% say they have tried new things using the platform. 89% use it for purchase inspiration.
This differs wildly from other brand-building platforms where the user is more passive such as Instagram.
People are using Pinterest because they have a problem and they want you to solve it.
The problems might be how to make the best pumpkin spice latte or how to build an outside movie theatre.
Non-US readers may be thinking, um, that’s two super US focused examples, Gemma and you are right!
The Pinterest audience is predominantly made up of North Americans. So to be really successful on Pinterest you are going to have to get in the mindset of the US pinner.
According to Pinterest’s Audience Insights, which you will access to when you sign up for your business account, the following stats make up the Pinterest demographic.
- 69% of pinners are female
- 30% are 18-24 decreasing down to 6% at 65+
- 33% use iPhone and Android
- 25% use a web browser
- 5% pin via an iPad
Is this your audience? Remember these stats when you are working through our MTH step-by-step Pinterest guide below.
3. Pinterest Topics
So now you have a good understanding of who is pinning, let’s look at what they are pinning!
According to Audience Insights, the most popular categories on Pinterest are:
Do you see your niche there?
Another mistake that bloggers make when it comes to Pinterest is making Pinterest an afterthought.
They’ve published a perfectly SEO optimised post which they hope will rank on Google and then they make a pin for that post.
Unfortunately, you won’t have the best success with this strategy.
It’s like that kid’s toy where you are supposed to match the rectangle block with the rectangle outline, in this instance you’re trying to push the triangle through!
Start planning for Pinterest instead. Use the data above and the step-by-step guide below for Pinterest success.
4. Pinterest Keywords
One of the most important things to understand about Pinterest is that it is a search engine.
Just like Google and Bing, Pinterest relies on keywords to deliver content to its users. If you haven’t learned about keyword research yet, check out this post with all the details.
This is great news for content creators as it means you can use keywords to help your content (Pinterest profile, boards and pins) get discovered.
To do this, you need to optimise your profile, boards and pins and all that means is:
- Do keyword research using Pinterest.
- Place the keywords in strategic positions.
We will talk about this in detail below.
Getting Set Up on Pinterest
Now that we’ve talked about understanding Pinterest, its users and how it functions, let’s get started on the platform so we can pimp our pins, promote or posts and enjoy the traffic to our sites!
5. Creating Your Pinterest Profile
To get started on Pinterest, create a profile, fill in your details choose a brand user name, add your brand profile image and add a draft bio.
You will be required to verify your website using the code Pinterest provides.
Sign up for a business Pinterest account straight away to start tracking data for analytics.
6. Create Boards – Keyword Planning
Pinterest boards are where pins are saved to.
Before you set up your boards you need to do some keyword research for the board names and descriptions.
Use the search function on Pinterest and add your board theme ideas to the search bar.
Take note of the Pinterest recommendations in the dropdown also known as guided search.
Not every country will have this guided search. Pinterest likes to beta test adding and removing new options frequently, annoyingly!
Choose one and record any additional keywords shown along the top of the page in coloured bubbles.
This won’t be available for every niche and location and there’s chat that Pinterest is actually pulling this feature.
You can also use Audience Insights and Trends (Analytics) to find keywords.
For Audience Insights, you can see which categories are popular with pinners and also what interests are part of the categories.
For example, DIY and Crafts is the third most popular category and fabric crafts and DIY projects are the most popular interests.
In Trends, you can choose a location and see the trend of search for a keyword.
The dropdown may make other suggestions and once you choose a topic you might see related topic at the bottom of the table too.
Note – Trends isn’t great for some topics such as travel.
Good news! Pinterest hashtags are out. They will now just pull up the search for the keywords included in the hashtag.
7. Create a Board
To create a board locate the plus sign and choose board.
Write a board description using your keywords and upload a square board image.
Some of our Facebook group members don’t bother with a board image but if you are starting fresh why not create a neat profile?
Boards can be found on your profile under saved. Boards can be organised by A-Z, drop and drag or last saved to.
Next to saved is created which looks like a page gathering every pin you’ve uploaded.
Previously, Pinterest gurus recommended a best of board where brand users such as yourself saved their pins to first.
Pinterest now states it is best to save pins to the most relevant board first since this board will be optimised with keywords which tell Pinterest search what the board and pin are about.
If you have personal boards which are not in keeping with your brand, it is recommended that you remove them or set them to private.
8. Add a Pin to a Board
To add a pin to a relevant board:
- Open the relevant board
- Click the plus sign
- Upload the pin
- Add a description
- Add the URL that the pin should take the user to
- This may be an article URL or a landing page for a newsletter lead magnet
You can also schedule pins at a later date via Tailwind, Canva and in Pinterest itself.
I’ll talk about this more below.
Canva Pro also has a new Content Planner where your shared and scheduled pins are saved. Nifty!
9. Add Keywords to Your Pinterest Profile
The above instructions detailed creating a draft bio.
Now that you have done keyword research, go back to your profile name and bio description and update it with relevant keywords for your niche.
For example, if your niche is glucose free-living, add that to your title.
Don’t be afraid to tweak this the more you learn about and experience Pinterest.
Create Content For Pinterest
Now that you know what pinners are searching for through the use of Pinterest Insights and Trends, you can create content on your website specifically for Pinterest.
Remember to consider the Pinterest demographic and the categories and interests that do well on the platform.
If your niche doesn’t fit into these categories and interests, brainstorm what kind of topics might appeal to that audience.
For example, during the pandemic, people were no longer looking for travelling abroad guides but they were looking for road trip itineraries close to home.
This is why you have to get to know who pinners are and really consider what kind of content they will be searching for at different parts of the year and different stages of their lives.
Once you’ve created Pinterest-friendly content you will create a number of pins for that one post because Pinterest likes fresh pins.
Yes, that means you are going to pin daily but we’re going to show you some ways to save time through templates and scheduling.
10. Types of Pins
There following list describes main types of pins on Pinterest:
- Standard pin – images, title/keywords, call to action, URL link
- Video pins – moving video, show the product/service, add image cover
- Idea pins – like Instagram Stories/Tik Tok but no swipe up, brand building
Pinterest are always coming up with new attempts at different types of pins which often reflects what’s popular on other social media platforms.
11. How to Create Pins for Pinterest
Each social media platform has its own ideal size of image and Pinterest, the visual search engine is no different!
Pins and videos should be vertical (long) with a 2:3 ratio such as 1000 x 1500 pixels.
Previously Pinterest wasn’t adamant about what 2:3 ratio but now it flags up a message if you are uploading anything smaller on the platform.
“We recommend an image that is at least 1000 px x 1500 px. This image is 700 px x 1200 px.”
Old-style very long ‘giraffe’ pins are now frowned upon and may be chopped off in the Pinterest display.
The most successful static pins will have high quality bright images that are relevant to the topic, titles with keywords and sometimes clear calls to action (CTAs).
Examples of titles with keywords may be:
- 30 Day Skincare Challenge
- 13 Tasty Healthy Halloween Treats For Kids
- How to go viral on TikTok
Examples of Call To Actions (CTAs) may be:
- Don’t miss out, read now
- Download the free checklist
- Click to find out more
Keep the pin message positive. Pinterest is really pushing that their pinners want inclusive and upbeat marketing.
They’ve now joined forces with the Global Alliance for Responsible Media to show how serious they are about positivity on their platform.
For video pins, best practice is 11 to 59 seconds and remember that majority of users will be pinning via a mobile device.
According to May from Untangled Biz, popular video pins include:
- How-to videos (in stages) – DIY parts, instructions, assemble, product
- Storytelling – Example, setting up a food photoshoot
- Product demos – Trying products/services out
- Teasers – A snippet of what is behind the pin
According to Pinterest, video pins up 240% year over year – particularly driven by food, beauty, DIY, entertainment, and home decor.
Should I add my logo? The jury is out on whether pins need logos or brand names. Pinterest is really pushing brand awareness, some Pinterest experts think it is a waste of space.
What do you think? Tell us in the comments below.
12. How to Create Free Pins for Pinterest
Canva and Adobe Spark are both free platforms that offer Pinterest templates or DIY designs.
You can watch our video on how to use Adobe Spark here.
You can also schedule directly from Canva to your Pinterest boards although I need to work out what timezone this is set to as it didn’t schedule when I thought it would.
For images, start to shoot portrait for Pinterest and invest in high-quality stock images.
Alternatively, invest in Canva Pro and use the stock images available but keep a record of every image you use so you have evidence if a photographer ever claims image theft.
This is what I currently do.
I like Canva Pro because I can upload and store the logos and brand colours from all of my companies. This is such a time saver.
Canva Pro also includes used of its premium elements, stickers, templates and the ability to change sizes between designs.
There’s now a Content Planner which saves your shared and scheduled pins to the date you pinned them. Very cool. You check it out by purchasing Canva Pro here.
I have to stress that when it comes to pins, quality is key. I really saw a boost in traffic when I invested in pin consultation regarding pin design and keywords.
13. Invest in Pin Templates
There are Pinterest templates available on Etsy and some websites where you can buy already designed pins and use them on Canva to make your own pins. This is an easy way to get some pins made without having to have any design experience.
14. Pinterest Descriptions
As I mentioned above, Pinterest SEO is the part of your pin strategy that you should consider before you create content.
Hopefully at this stage of the pin creation process you will have a good grasp of the keywords associated with your post so writing a description should be fairly straight forward.
Your pin description should be to the point, include keywords and a clear call to action.
Some brands use their name in their pin descriptions too. This would make sense if you have a tight niche which I hope you do as it is much easier to market a niche site than a broad one, believe me! I have both.
OK, back to Pinterest! Check out the description on the pins you are trying to compete with. Can you identify the keywords?
Pinterest recommends at least 100 characters.
What about keyword stuffing? Some bloggers prefer keyword stuffing which means listing all the keywords associated with their pin.
I’ve definitely had success with both options but Pinterest says frequently it doesn’t want us to stuff so it’s up to you which strategy you go with.
15. Uploading Pins
Once you’ve designed and downloaded your pins you will want to add at least one to your article.
To do so, upload to your website media folder and add the pin description with keywords to the pin description section if your social share plugin has this option.
We use the customisable Easy Social Share Buttons for this. It also has a ‘hover over’ Pin it button option.
Once the pin is uploaded, add a CTA above it in your article such as save for later!
When your post is published you should be able to use the ‘Pin’ button on the social share button to upload the pin to a relevant Pinterest board or hover over the pin image itself.
16. Manually Add Pins to Pinterest
You can manually add your pins to Pinterest using the site.
- Click on ‘Create’.
- Create a pin.
- Upload the pin, title with keywords, description with keywords + URL.
- Choose a board to save the pin to.
- Publish now or schedule for later.
Think about the Pinterest audience demographics and when they are most active on Pinterest.
Use the schedule tool if you are not up and working at those times.
Tools such as Tailwind can determine when your audience is up and set a schedule accordingly.
Pinning + Sharing Pins to Increase Traffic
So now that you have a fully optimised Pinterest profile, boards with descriptions, Pinterest-worthy content and beautiful pins to promote your posts, let’s discuss how to get your pins in front of lots of pinners.
17. Pin to Relevant Boards
As soon as your fresh pins is launched, Pinterest recommends adding it to the most relevant board to help their search engine get a better understanding of what the pin is about as it enters the Pinterest eco system.
It will be reading the following:
- Pin title.
- Pin description.
- Pin images.
- Blog post title.
- Blog post description.
- Board title and description.
In a natural way, you then want to pin the new pin to other relevant boards but schedule this over time, don’t spam your boards with the same pins!
There’s no magic number to how many times you can re-pin to other relevant boards as long as it is natural.
However, Pinterest prefers new pins over old so don’t go wild and waste your time when you could be creating new pins for the same post or older articles on your site which are coming back into season.
New pins could mean:
- Change of font and colours.
- New images or a change to an image such as zoomed in.
- Fresh text overlay or call outs.
18. Find You Clan
Your next goal is to get others to help spread the pin love by sharing your pins for you.
If you’ve created Pinterest-worthy content and optimised your pins this will happen organically but there are also ways for you to get a little support as that’s what blogging is all about!
If you use an approved Pinterest schedule tool such as Tailwind, you will have the opportunity to use their Communities (old name Tribes) function which allows you to find groups of pinners in your niche.
You can assess which Communities are worth your investment by using the data. Pinterest success is just as much about analysis as it is pinning. It’s a whole strategy.
Once you are in Communities you have to let your pins do the talking. Some Communities have rules about etiquette so take time to read and follow accordingly or you will be removed.
If you are finding that your pins are not getting re-pinned from Communities, it might be worth asking a friend or a professional to check your pin design to see if you can improve it.
Many bloggers in the travel niche use Pinterest threads to launch a new pin. This is where you share your pin URL and then save the other pins in the thread.
Threads can include anything from 12 to 100+ pins so make sure you can commit to it if you decide to join.
Be careful with threads though, don’t just dive into doing one every day if your account is new, this may cause you to be shut down by Pinterest for spamming.
Some bloggers really don’t agree with threads, others couldn’t imagine their Pin strategy without them.
19. How Many Pins Should I Pin Daily?
The number one question pinners always ask is – how many pins should I pin daily?
No one has the answer to this.
Some experts suggest following the 2/1 rule for example 20 of your own pins and 10 others.
Others pin 1-15 fresh pins per day following Pinterest advice that it wants frequent fresh content.
Depending on the pin topic, you may find that one day of the week does better than others for example, lazy Sunday inspiration scrolling.
Pin Sharing Summary
Pinterest wants you to be consistent in your pinning and avoid spamming the system.
While Pinterest has said frequently this year that it wants fresh pins and that new pins will be the priority when it comes to search results, some pinners still look to niche Communities and share threads for support for launching new pins.
20. Scheduling, Assessing and Scheduling Again!
Content creation, mailing lists, social media, video, community building, photography, pins!
You’re going to work out quickly that there are not enough hours in the day to complete everything that a successful online brand demands of you.
You should be saying no to what doesn’t pay and yes please to tools that help make your life easier.
Laura and I both use Tailwind to help reduce our workloads. Since we outsource some of our pin activity a schedule tool is a necessity.
Tailwind is an approved Pinterest partner which allows you to:
- Schedule pins throughout the day and night.
- Sorts out the best time for you to pin via their Smart Queue,
- Offers interval pinning to different boards functionality.
- Create board lists so you can group by topic for scheduling to.
- Use a Chrome extension so you can upload pins from any site.
- Analyse pin and board data.
- Join Communities.
It’s entirely up to you if you think it is worth the investment but we can offer 30% off if you think it is for you.
Click here, sign up for free, try it out and if you decide to purchase your 30% off will be waiting for you.
Alternatively, Pinterest has a free schedule tool built into its dashboard or Canva’s schedule option on their website!
Note: While Pinterest encourages use of scheduling it still wants you to be active so remember to hop on the app frequently.
Finally, you need to know if your Pinterest strategy is working so you can replicate what you are doing for other pin topics!
There are a couple of free and premium tools you can use to check your Pinterest analytics.
- Pinterest Analytics – On individual pins.
- Pinterest Analytics – Dashboard.
- Google Analytics – You can read our guide here.
- Tailwind – Pin inspect section.
Here is a breakdown of Pinterest pin analytics terminology.
Note: Link clicks now appear to be called outbound click.
The following metrics are for video pins.
What About Pinterest Followers?
Follower numbers don’t play a big part in your Pinterest success because Pinterest is not a social media account, like Facebook or Twitter.
If you’re active, your follower count and monthly views will increase naturally and that’s the way you want it to happen, so your followers are all genuinely interested in what you pin.
If you want to see other ways to increase your social media presence, here are some things we suggest for getting more blog followers.
Should I Delete Old Pins
Pinterest’s official stance on this is to create a secret board and archive old pins as this means you won’t lose the pin analytics on it.
What About Group Boards?
There are two types of Pinterest boards – your own boards and group boards.
Your own boards are the ones you set up at the start of this guide with keywords in the description.
Group boards are thematic boards with a number of members.
Recently, Pinterest specialists have stated that Pinterest prefers that you pin to your own boards over groups boards as group boards have become dumping grounds with low engagement.
If you invest in Tailwind and manually assess the ‘virality’ which is repins divided by the pins for the last seven days you will see that the virality is low for most group boards.
If you want to give group boards a try regardless, here is how to gain access.
- Look out for callouts or use the search function in Facebook groups.
- Use Pingroupie to find group boards looking for pinners.
- Wait to be invited, it will happen!
- Aim for boards with lots of followers, but not as many pinners.
Once you are in, you will want to analyse their worth by:
- Checking to see how quickly the pins are added.
- How many users are actively pinning.
- Quality of pins.
When I pinned to group boards, I kept a spreadsheet with all the board names and pins I pinned to them.
Pinterest for Bloggers
Obviously, Pinterest is just one tool in your blogging toolkit but a visually appealing one that can bring lots of traffic, increase your ad revenue (hello, USA audience = ka-ching), target the right audience for your mailing list and introduce customers to your affiliates and products.
It is possible that many of you actually found this post via Google – this shows the strength of good SEO, another power house for bloggers!
SEO is something I wish I had paid more attention to from the start however it has given me an excuse to revisit old posts which need a bit of love.
To find out more about my procedure for blogging check out this post tips to get more blog followers.
Laura Lynch, creator and writer of Savored Journeys, is an avid world traveler, certified wine expert, and international food specialist. She has written about travel and food for over 20 years and has visited over 75 countries.