Optimizing your blog for Pinterest has become almost a necessity for anybody that's serious about blogging. I've picked up a few tips and tricks along the way that have really helped me get the best results from Pinterest. I hope these help y'all too!
1. Pictures (and their dimensions) are everything!
This has probably been said a million times in a million different Pinterest articles - but the absolute key to success on Pinterest is having pinnacle pictures. You can have the best, most pinnable article on earth, but if there isn't some kind of image on your post, you're absolutely killing your chances of someone pinning it. I like to keep my image dimensions at about 600px x 800px. That makes the image big enough to not be grainy on Pinterest, small enough to load easily on your blog, and gives it a nice vertical format that shows up so much better on a Pinterest feed.
I went to my site's Pinterest feed and found two pictures with totally different dimensions.
These two pictures had the same exact width when they were uploaded to my blog, but very different dimensions on Pinterest. Which one is your eye drawn too? The longer one, right? Having a vertical layout instead of a horizontal one makes a huge difference!
One note about pictures - in pinnable posts (or any post, for that matter), I highly recommend watermarking every picture. It's a pain, I know, but I've had pictures stolen and used to reproduce my recipe posts on other sites. Don't work hard just to let somebody else get the credit! If you have Photoshop, you can watermark all of your images in no time - just open your pictures, go to file>process multiple files, and put in your watermark! So easy.
2. Make it easy for the reader to pin your post.
I have two secret weapons when it comes to making it easy for my readers to pin posts - the Pinterest Widget Button builder and an embedded hover "Pin It" image on my blog.
-The Pinterest Widget Button Builder is straight-forward, and is a service provided directly from Pinterest. You put in the picture link, site link, and caption you want your readers to pin, and it makes a button for you. So easy! I use this option if I really want a specific image pinned on my post or I want something specific in the keywords used to pin my images (more on that below).
-The "Pin It" hover image is automatically embedded into every picture on my blog, unless I give a specific command on that picture not to post it. If you hover above any of the images on this post with your mouse, you should see it in the top right corner of the image. It's nice for when I have a thousand images in a post and don't want to take the time to make a Widget button for each picture. It's also a little bit less "in your face" for the reader. It's there if they need it, but not so obvious that it takes away from the post.
Did you also know that you can let Pinterest know what you want a photo's caption to say when someone pins it? Normally, Pinterest defaults to either your photo's upload name or the title of your blog post. But, with a couple of steps, you can override that with your own caption.
1. Highlight the picture you'd like to caption by clicking on it.
2. Select "properties" in the menu that comes up.
3. Type your caption in the alt text box.
That's it! Easy peasy! This is a great way to incorporate hashtags, links, or keywords into your pins to ensure they have even more success. Readers also like it too - one less thing for them to do when pinning your content!
3. Use Rich Pins.
I actually have a whole post about Rich Pins here - and, over 6 months after incorporating them into my blog, I'd say they have made a huge difference in the amount of pins my blog gets on Pinterest. Your pins end up just looking more professional, and they provide more content to the reader before clicking over to your blog (but without giving too much away that they don't have to click over).
4. Make sure people know about your content!
When I have a new post about something that usually gets pinned (either a craft, recipe, list of tips, etc.), I definitely utilize many different means of promotion. Just having it out there is fine, but it will typically not have a huge Pinterest success rate without some promotion from you. I use link parties. There are so many bloggers out there that host parties similar to my Create It Thursday. These are great for promoting your post and really spreading the word for your blog! Some of them even ask visitors to pin your content and pin it to their own boards.
I also make sure I promote on my social media platforms - Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram being the big three. Of course I pin my own content too - that's covered in the next point. ;) I like to promote my posts once or twice on social media platforms - that way, there isn't overkill, but it's out there for readers to see.
5. Pin your own content (but not only your own content).
Some of the pins that lead to the most traffic to my blog have been my own. Whenever I have a "pinnable" post, I always pin it at least twice - usually during mid-afternoon after it is published, and either Saturday or Sunday at lunchtime after it is published. Those are the two most successful times I've found for hits and repins.
That being said - it is a huge mistake to only use your Pinterest account to promote your own content. That gets really boring, really quickly, and won't keep a lot of followers around. Make sure you're out there pinning other content that interests you too!
6. SEO is important on Pinterest, too.
The first time I had a pin go "viral" on Pinterest, it kind of caught me off guard. I noticed a lot of hits coming from one particular pin, so I clicked on the link to it - and realized it had over a hundred repins, mostly from people that didn't follow me! When I got to looking at the keywords that had been used in the caption, I figured out what was going on.
This particular pin was for a Father's Day Gift Guide I did. I did a little bit of research, and realized that when you typed in "Father's Day Gift Guide" on Pinterest, this was the top hit.
This totally changed my outlook on how to use keywords on Pinterest captions. When I'm writing a "pinnable" post now, I go to Pinterest and type in a word from my post title, just to see what comes up. I typically try to structure the post title around one of the more popular keywords that comes up in that search.
It's a good idea to link your blog post images to a pin too. When I pin my own content on Pinterest, I take the link to that pin, go back to my blog post, and link the main image on the post to my pin. This encourages readers to repin my content, making it stronger in search results on Pinterest.
Following these few simple rules, I've had a few pins achieve over 2,000 repins!
7. Link to similar posts within your post.
If you have similar content, don't be afraid to cross-promote it on your posts! For example, I just did a Toddler Easter Basket Idea post. I already have a Baby's First Easter Basket post that's been pretty popular on Pinterest...so, in the Baby's First Easter Basket post, I put in a link to the Toddler post. That way, the person that clicks the link has even more resources!
I also use LinkWithin on my posts, which finds similar topics and puts a link at the bottom of your posts. It's easy to install and is a great way to promote your content.
8. Don't give everything away in your image!
I see this mistake made all the time. When you make an image for your blog post, don't give away every piece of information in your post within the image. For example, if you are posting a recipe, don't put the entire recipe in your image. Another example is summarizing your whole blog post in an image. There's no reason to click over to your blog if you do that!
Instead, I opt to give a good preview in the image. Make the image a beautiful picture of your recipe, or a catchy, bright graphic of the title of your blog post. You've worked hard to put this information together - it's ok to ask the reader to visit your blog to get it!
Now go get to work - your blog will thank you for it!