Are you relying primarily on Google for traffic to your site? Do Google algo updates make you a nervous wreck?
If you answered ‘yes’ to both of those questions, then I can relate because I used to be you. In fact, it wasn’t until 2018 that I started getting serious about diversifying the traffic sources to my sites.
And for most websites, I’ve found that Pinterest is one of the easiest and most reliable sources of traffic that you can drive to your site.
I’ve got two years experience (so far) of building up Pinterest as a traffic stream for my sites. I’ve had lots of successes and failures with it, and below I’ll share how I’m successfully using Pinterest with my sites and how you can do the same.
This post contains affiliate links to products that I use and love. If you click through and make a purchase, I’ll earn a commission, at no additional cost to you. Read my full disclosure here.
Is Pinterest Traffic Really Worth It? Or Is It Just Hype?
Two years ago when I started testing out Pinterest as a potential traffic source, these were the questions that I was looking to answer.
Pinterest traffic really is worth it. And it’s not just hype by people trying to sell you an expensive course on Pinterest.
Honestly, I think the people who are telling you that it’s all hype are the people who gave up too early. Pinterest marketing is something that has a long lead time.
This means that you won’t see results immediately. You might start to see some good results in three months, but probably not. Some people do. Most people don’t.
Based on my testing with my portfolio of sites, six months seems to be the average turning point when traffic from Pinterest starts to increase. I’ve had a few sites show good results sooner and a few took longer.
The important thing is that you get started now since it takes a while to really start driving traffic to your site.
And keep in mind, a few referral visitors per day from Pinterest might not seem like much in the beginning. But when you start getting 100+ per day, that kind of traffic can help you meet the requirements to get into Ezoic, Mediavine, and AdThrive….which means increasing your site revenue.
Sounds pretty good, eh? So, let’s get started!
It’s free to create an account and getting everything all setup is a super quick and easy process. Honestly, it’s not even that tedious.
For those of you who are complete Pinterest noobs, then check out this post on getting your new Pinterest account set up. Then, come back here to finish reading.
I want to emphasize how important it is that you get Rich Pins enabled on your account. It’s super easy to do and if you don’t do this it will cripple you, in terms of results.
Can’t get the Rich Pins Validator to work for you and validate your site? I had this exact same problem with two of my accounts. For one of those sites, it seemed to be an issue with my website host (A2) because moving that site to Siteground fixed the problem.
My other account where I encountered this issue was hosted on the same Siteground hosting account, so I knew that the host wasn’t the problem. So, I just kept trying daily and about a week later it just magically worked.
Tools You Need For Your Pinning
I’ve tested a few different tools with Pinterest. For me, I only want to use things that are efficient and effective.
The tools I use are:
So, let’s go through those tools and I’ll share how and why I use them, plus alternative options that you might be interested in.
Creating Pin Images
In addition to that shiny new Pinterest account, you need some way to create those pin-worthy images. You can use pretty much any image editing software out there.
Personally, I just use the free version of Canva. No need to reinvent the wheel here, right? They have templates that are already the perfect size for pinning.
Tip: do some keyword searches in your niche on Pinterest to see what types of pins come up at the top. Pay attention to designs and color schemes so that you can create something that fits in with the niche.
Scheduling Those Pins
I also use Tailwind to schedule my pins and enhance their distribution with Tailwind Tribes. You get your first 100 pins for free, so go on and sign up for that. (it is a paid tool after those 100 pins, but well worth it)
I’ve previously written about my experience using Tailwind here, but the tl;dr is is that it’s awesome and I wouldn’t dream of trying to get traffic from Pinterest without it.
If you don’t want to use Tailwind, I don’t know of any other tools with this exact functionality. And if you’re on a zero budget right now, I think you can now schedule pins when you upload directly to Pinterest – but you’d be missing out on Tailwind Tribes still.
Optimizing Images for Pinterest
Though I don’t see many people recommending it outside of food bloggers, the Tasty Pins plugin for WordPress is a game changer. It lets you optimized any images that you upload to your site for Pinterest, in addition to optimizing for SEO.
It’s also got this really cool feature that lets you hide images, yet they are still able to be pinned. I truly love this feature because I don’t want a giant size Pinterest image on all of my blog posts, but with this plugin I can have those images available without regular readers have to see them.
The best part about this plugin is that it’s super cheap. Only $29 for a year. Learn more about it here.
I’m not aware of any alternative plugins that offer this same functionality. So, I cannot give you a free alternative here.
What You Should Know About Using Pinterest For Website Traffic
If you’ve never used Pinterest for yourself, then you might not know much about the platform. Don’t worry, I never ever used Pinterest until 2018 when I started testing it with my sites.
If you use Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram for marketing purposes for your sites, the stuff that you do on there likely won’t work on Pinterest.
I think that Pinterest is a very selfish platform. The people who use Pinterest for fun are on the site for themselves, not to share content or form relationships.
It’s all about me, me, me. And you need to be sharing content on your boards that satisfy that need.
This is when it’s super useful to know who your target demographic for your site is; or for those of you with a more traditional marketing background – your customer avatar is useful for this.
Why is this useful? Because it helps you to create content, and pins, that will perform well on Pinterest.
Not all niches do well on Pinterest. It’s well known that the majority of regular Pinterest users are women, which means that female-driven niches perform like gangbusters.
But since it’s such a selfish platform, niches and topics that are more personal in nature are usually winners. That’s means sometimes you have to think outside the box in order to make Pinterest work for your site.
Let’s say that you have a site focused on hunting. Yes, some women do hunt but this niche will be a bit of an uphill battle for you.
Turn things around by creating content on your site about things like venison recipes and taking the kids hunting. Those types of topics are more likely to get pinned by the moms who seem to make up the largest user base on Pinterest.
The guys at Income School have a video on Pinterest where they discuss the niches that they think do best on Pinterest. You can watch it below.
I tend to agree with their thoughts on the best niches for Pinterest, for the most part. Though, I think that I would take the “makeup” category and just make it “beauty” because things like hairstyles and haircare do awesome on Pinterest.
And I don’t know how I would categorize it, but things like ‘how to organize your pantry’ and ’13 ways to organize your RV’s closet’ also do really well. I guess you could lump that in with general personal improvement stuff, which is another niche that they missed that performs well.
Pinterest is basically a visual search engine. Unlike other social media, Pinterest functions more like a search engine, which is great for website owners like you and me.
So, you create a visually compelling image (your pin), use your SEO mojo to have a keyword rich title and description, and then load up on relevant hashtags for discoverability.
Pinterest even has autosuggest when you start typing in the search bar. This is awesome because it shows you what real users are searching for. Use this to your advantage when creating content for your site!
Pinterest is a long lead platform. What I mean by that is you need to give it time. Lots of time. And your results should get better as time goes on.
The reason that you continue to get results for months and years down the line is because people can continually find your pins and re-pin them, giving the new life. It’s basically like a domino effect.
Informational content performs better than affiliate content. If you’re an affiliate marketer, then I know that this is not what you want to hear. But it’s the truth.
If you have a site that is full of “best X for Y” posts and product review posts, then you’re not going to have the best results from your pinning efforts. This is true even if you’ve got pins on things like ‘best baseball bats for 9 year olds”.
Sure, the moms on Pinterest are probably gonna save that baseball bat pin tons of times. Then you’re gonna notice how few clicks that pin got you and, well, you might start drinking.
You can post affiliate links on Pinterest. But, in my experience, it’s not really worth your time. The real value of Pinterest is not in making affiliate sales.
The value of Pinterest for niche site owners is in creating a new traffic stream + building brand awareness. You might not care about the last one, but you’d be a fool to not be focused on building a brand these days.
Pinterest users are big ad clickers. Though they convert like shit on affiliate content, if you get click throughs to your site on some info content where you’re running displays ads, then your revenue will increase.
In my experience, Pinterest users love to click on ads.
You can post videos on Pinterest. In some niches, the video pins do surprisingly well. But you can’t half-ass the video and expect good results.
So, if you’re already doing quality video, or plan on hiring someone to do it, then you’ll find that Pinterest is a great addition to your current video distribution.
You can use Pinterest Trends to know what people are search for right now. In 2019, Pinterest unveiled the Pinterest Trends site, which is an awesome resource for content marketers.
So far, the site only works in the USA and Canada, so you’ll need to use a VPN to check it out if you’re not in one of those locations.
They also have a Pinterest 100 list of the top 100 trends for 2020, which is a great place to get site and content ideas.
Group boards are no longer worth it. In case you don’t know, group boards used to be one of the best ways to improve your performance on Pinterest. That is no longer the case.
I suspect some people will disagree with me on this, but my experience shows that in the last 12 months they are no longer worth it.
Instead, Tailwind Tribes have taken their place as a vital part of the puzzle here. That’s why I’ve paid for some of the Tailwind Tribes PowerUps to have access to even more Tribes.
Consistency, Consistency, Consistency
If you want to get results from your Pinterest marketing efforts, then you need to make it a daily habit. Because succeeding with Pinterest is all about consistency.
That’s why Tailwind is such a vital part of this traffic plan. With it, you can schedule that consistency so that you don’t have to physically sit down and open up Pinterest to do some pinning each day.
What I like to do is schedule some time every two weeks to fill up my pinning calendar in Tailwind. This way my only regularly scheduled Pinterest work is once every two weeks.
Other than that, they only time I do some pinning is when I have a new blog post. As soon as I get that post live, I head over to Canva to create my pin and then get it uploaded to Tailwind and out to my Tribes.
It took some time in the beginning to get all of this setup, but now it’s only a few hours each month and it’s driving consistent traffic to my sites.
Pinterest Best Practices
You’ll find that Pinterest is a lot like Google in that they have some guidelines, or best practices, that you should adhere to for the best results.
Don’t steal other people’s content. This should be an obvious one, but don’t steal other people’s pins or images to use as your own pins. This is copyright infringement and it will get your Pinterest account closed.
Do post fresh content regularly. The Pinterest algorithm likes to see fresh content, not the same old stale pin that you posted six months ago. You can (and should) create new pins for old content – just don’t use the same pin each time! A new pin promoting old content IS considered fresh content by the algorithm. Tailwind has something called SmartGuide that helps with this!
Don’t waste time on horizontal or square images. Pins that are vertical with a 2:3 ratio work best on Pinterest and that’s what the algorithm wants to see.
Do put your site’s logo on the corner of each pin. You’re trying to build a brand, so make sure to showcase that with branded pins.
Don’t wait until the last minute to pin seasonal content. It’s a good idea to give yourself a 30-45 day head start on seasonal content for the best results from your efforts.
Your Pinterest Traffic Checklist
Ready to get started growing your site’s traffic with Pinterest? Prepared to play the long game to get those sweet results?
Then here’s your action plan recap:
✅ Create a Pinterest business account for your site
✅ Enable Rich Pins
✅ Create your boards and start filling them up
✅ Start creating pins for your existing blog posts in Canva
✅ Sign up for Tailwind and look for Tribes in your niche to join
✅ Use Tailwind to schedule those pins you’ve created
✅ Install the Tasty Pins plugin on your site to optimize new images for Pinterest
✅ Create a pin whenever you publish a new article on your site
✅ Use Tailwind to schedule the publishing of that new pin, and syndicate it with Tailwind Tribes
✅ Every 3-6 months create new pins for existing posts and republish those pins using Tailwind to feed that freshness algorithm
Look you can pin it:
Hey, I’m Shawna. I make a living working from my laptop in places like London, Sydney, Dubai, Rome, Oslo, Bangkok, Las Vegas, Barcelona, and Amsterdam. I share how I do some of that on this website.