9 Simple Steps to Increase Traffic from Pinterest and Gain More Followers

9 Simple Steps to Increase Your Traffic from Pinterest and Gain More Followers

9 simple steps to increase your traffic from Pinterest and gain more followersWhile blogging about blogging—very meta!—isn’t usually my thing, over the past few months I have been able to learn and capitalize on the power of Pinterest for bloggers, and I can’t help but spread the wealth about how to increase traffic from Pinterest and gain more followers.

Right now almost 70 percent of the traffic to this site comes from pinners, despite the fact that my Pinterest following is still (relatively) small (though it did grow 160% in a matter of weeks, as a direct result of these steps!).

What’s more, I’ve discovered that traffic from Pinterest is far more consistent than that of other social media outlets—a major draw for bloggers who are frustrated by, say, changing Facebook algorithms (ahem). 

The best part is that the steps I’ve been following aren’t complicated; they don’t require you to be a web developer or graphic designer. They just require a willingness to be smart and intentional about your pinning strategy (or to have a strategy in the first place!).

Shutterfly Photo Books 728x90

9 Simple Steps to Increase Your Traffic from Pinterest and Gain More Followers

 1. Be picky about your pins.

Obviously the visual is king on Pinterest. If your boards are filled with eye-catching, visually attractive, and useful pins, you’re more likely to attract new followers.

The opposite is also true: It doesn’t matter how delicious the recipe title sounds or how great the parenting advice seems—if it’s been photographed in poor light or is accompanied by a super blurry image, skip it. People won’t follow you if your pins aren’t pretty.

Oh, and this goes without saying, but pinning spam or broken links won’t make you friends either!

2. Optimize images for Pinterest.

Is it annoying that the ideal image for Facebook is horizontal, while the ideal image for Pinterest is vertical? Why yes, it is. Throw into the mix the fact that lots of blog themes, including mine, are designed for square images, and you’ve got yourself a bit of a frustration!

I’ve found, however, that taking just a few extra minutes to make a Pinterest-optimized (read: long and tall) image makes a world of difference in driving traffic to your site. Using PicMonkey I can make two different versions pretty quickly. 

Here’s an example of the square image that appears on my post 20 One-Line Affirmations for Moms:

One-Line Affirmations for Moms

And here’s the Pinterest-optimized version that I upload to Pinterest manually:

One-Line Affirmations for Moms

3. Give pinners a reason to click over.

Certainly you’ve heard the advice to spend as much time writing your headline as you do your article. That’s because today’s internet consumers are flooded by so much information that they need a really good reason to read your words instead of someone else’s.

Your headline needs to leave them wanting more, and so should your Pinterest image and description. Don’t give it all away; give away just enough to entice (without misleading, of course!).

Here’s an example of an image I use to draw pinners over to my review of Get the Behavior You Want…Without Being the Parent You Hate.

Review of Get the Behavior You Want...Without Being the Parent You Hate

4. Learn from the best.

Being successful on Pinterest, just like any other social media network, is a marketing skill, and one that you can acquire.

Of course there are tons of articles and blog posts about winning and pinning (kind of like this one!), but none of them can compare to receiving up-to-date lessons, step-by-step instructions, and personalized feedback from someone who knows this game backwards and forwards—someone like Anna Luther.

I affectionately call Anna of My Life and Kids the Queen of Pinterest, a title she has most definitely earned. I got to work with her in August when I took the 2-week Pinning Perfect course she teaches through Blog Clarity, and it was an absolute gem.

Just during the two weeks of the class, while I was in the midst of implementing her tips and strategies, I saw my number of followers double and my traffic skyrocket—not just for a day but for every day since then!

If you’re interested, a new class of Pinning Perfect is opening today (September 29), and if history is any example, it’s going to fill up fast. You can get more information and sign up here. (That’s my affiliate link, which just means Blog Clarity will give me a small reward for referring you to the class. I promise I wouldn’t tout its benefits if they weren’t true.)

Pinning Perfect- a Pinterest ecourse

5. Pin your own stuff regularly.

I never used to pin my own stuff. It just felt weird and too self-promotional.

Then I had a revelation: I believe my blog posts are worth reading, right? I believe they offer something of value to the people behind the screen, don’t I? Of course I do, or else I wouldn’t keep doing this!

So then why would I not take steps to promote my posts?

The key, of course, is to avoid pinning your own stuff back to back, all the time. You should definitely pin your own stuff, just remember that your followers are interested in seeing other people’s stuff too—good stuff that you’re helping them find!

6. Time it right.

Many mornings I’m awake and at my computer at 5:30am, but of course not many people are going to see what I’m pinning then.

It’s worth it to figure out when your particular followers are hanging out on Pinterest so you can be actively pinning then. Lots of moms tend to pin in the evenings as a way to unwind once the kiddos are in bed, so that’s when I send out a lot of my stuff.

[Note: There are some services you can use to schedule pins, like Ahalogy and ViralTag. Unfortunately right now these have a wait list and a price tag, respectively.]

7. Build a Pinterest-friendly site.

Pinterest offers all kinds of tools and widgets to help make your site pinning-friendly. There’s the classic Pin It Button for images—which makes it fast and easy for readers to pin your posts—plus widgets for inserting your profile or a specific board directly onto your post page, like this:

Visit Katie Markey McLaughlin’s profile on Pinterest. 

8. SEO: It’s not just for Google.

Techies say that Pinterest’s new “guided search” feature—which is the slider that appears at the top of the screen when you enter in a search term, offering you additional terms to narrow your search—officially makes Pinterest a visual search engine. The search bar is also more prominent on the site than it used to be, meaning more people will be using it—and you should be too.

Before I write a description of my pin, I type my main keyword into the site’s search box to see what words and phrases it suggests to narrow the search. Then I see if I can incorporate one or more of those terms into my description.

9. Analyze.

Some people feel downright giddy about numbers, charts, graphs, and stats; other people feel downright depressed. But whether you love or hate analytics, they’re key to figuring out what you’re doing right so you can do more of it—and where you’re falling flat, so you can change course.

Pinterest recently revamped its analytics tools, but you can only access them if you’ve upgraded to a business account (so do that now!). Blog Clarity has a great breakdown of how to make the most of the information you can find there, including who’s pinning your stuff, which pins are most popular, and more.

Social media is the backbone of blog marketing, and for many of us, Pinterest is the most useful network out there. Making the most of it doesn’t require a degree in public relations or a background in web coding; it just requires an intention and awareness about how, where, and what you pin.

Do you get a lot of blog traffic from Pinterest? Which of these tips are you already using—and which do you want to start implementing?

If you found this post useful, I’d be forever grateful if you pinned it! (Pinning a post about Pinterest…we’re being very meta again!)

55 responses to “9 Simple Steps to Increase Traffic from Pinterest and Gain More Followers”

  1. Katie,

    This is great! I love Pinterest, and it currently drives about 90% of my blog traffic. Totally crazy and scary all at the same time. I agree that making images for both FB and Pinterest is probably a good idea. I try my darndest to make it work for both and it really doesn’t. I’ll be working to implement some of your tips this week. Have a good one,

  2. Hmm. You’ve got me thinking about that course!

    If there’s one thing that’s frustrating to me as a blogger, it’s the power of Pinterest. I didn’t start blogging to make images, know what I mean? I’ve always enjoyed the writing so it makes me want to pull my hair out that we have to focus so much on creating pinnable images (and that my blog traffic suffers because I don’t know the best way to make those images or use Pinterest!). Alas, it is what it is! If only my beloved Twitter would drive more traffic… 🙂

  3. Great tips Katie. Pinterest is one of the main traffic drivers for my blog as well and I usually try to include at least one pinnable image with every post. I have a pre-stored template in Photoshop so I don’t have to go searching for dimensions every time (although I know them by heart now). SEO by Yoast is pretty good at putting my featured image as the image for Facebook and G+. Definitely pinning and tweeting this!

  4. Thanks for sharing your experience and knowledge! I am going to consider the course. I am starting to love Pinterest… It’s been a love affaire in the making for a while now. I love your images – as always

    • Tove, your blog is so perfect for Pinterest! I know you already do a lot of pinning, but you could definitely take it to the next level. The difference in my traffic from two months ago to today is astonishing.

  5. I loved her class so much in person! I’d love to take Pinning Perfect. This is such a great post. I’m going to pin it! Of course. Some of these practices I already do, but I get lazy about all of them. Time to change that.

  6. Thanks for the information Katie. I wish I could take the course now, but it’s not in my schedule or budget at the moment. I’ll keep it in mind for later!

  7. What a great post! Like you, I’m really picky about the images I pin, especially since I wrote a book on design– I’d better have nice-looking pins on my boards. I’m glad you mentioned #5 too because so many people are scared to pin their content but it’s really no different than sharing your posts on Facebook and Twitter! Thanks for the shout out to Pinning Perfect– I’m glad to hear you loved the class!

  8. Timing is one of the biggest tips that have helped me. If you don’t time it right, your pins end of getting stuck at the bottom of the feed and never get seen : ( These were great tips. I have some tweeking to do now, thanks!

  9. I’m thinking about taking the course again because I never finished the first one. I know I have all the content of course, but I liked going through it with people. Then of course, life gets in the way. I am so behind on so many things right now. The sports season does me in. It was a good course though. I get a lot of my traffic from Pinterest. Pinterest and StumbleUpon are my top drivers. But I know I could be doing a lot better.

  10. Katie,
    First visitor here, but SO glad I did. Clicked a link from Lauren (thank you) and here I be!

    Truth be told, I barely get traffic from Pinterest to my website–though I get a lot of activity ON my Pinterest boards. Most of my email is filled with notifications throughout the day–so I’m interested in seeing if these tips will help me.

    Just a few days ago, I decided to take 31 days of infographics from my site and make a single Pinterest board on WORLDBUILDING for writers (I write fantasy and teach my process to kids). The pictures are all upright, as you suggested in your article, but I see I’ll have to do the double time for my regular articles. My site, like yours, uses horizontal pics, not vertical.


    Seems like everyone wants their platform to be unique and original, eh?

    Thank you for sharing your experience. I’m putting it into practice today!

    -Jaime Buckley

    • Thanks for stopping by, Jaime! It really is frustrating that every platform wants to be different, so I’ve decided to pick and choose the ones that are most effective for me and put my efforts there. We can only do so much!

  11. Katie,

    This is actually my second time reading this (I found it through Ana Amelio and then again through the IBA) but I guess I didn’t comment last time. Sorry!

    Thanks so much for sharing your Pinterest tips. I agree with all of them! My challenge is that I do like to share the love and many of the bloggers I know aren’t yet creating fantastic images… any tips for how to handle that sort of thing?

    I made sure to subscribe for more of your awesomeness!


    • That’s a really great question, Brittany! I will say that not 100% of the pins I share are gorgeous; heck, some of mine could really use some work sometimes too! I have a special board called “Blogging Friends” where I post pins that aren’t the prettiest or don’t fit into one of my existing boards but that I still want to share.

  12. Ok, my Pinterest guru, I have a question. I’d like to try putting a square image in my post, but uploading the longer image manually to Pinterest. But then how do I make sure the longer image which I manually upload is linked to my blog post and sends traffic there?

  13. Katie, I’ve been a little behind with my blog reading but I just read this and I want to say thank you so much! I have heard people say Pinterest drives a lot of traffic to their blog but I haven’t been seeing that on mine. However, this post really helps me see what I need to do.

  14. The biggest takeaway that I would recommend on this list is the resizing images. I didn’t “get” it when I first started using Pinterest more and then I was making pin-size images in my blog posts so that I could pin it which was silly.

    I didn’t realize that it makes sense to sometimes create three visually similar images, but use one on the blog post itself, the second one UPLOAD to pinterest (not pin from your site) and append the blog link, and then another to post to Facebook or G+.

    Great tips!

  15. Hi Katie! Found your blog through the Sits Saturday Sharefest and loved reading your suggestions for utilizing Pinterest to gain traffic. I am just starting to work Pinterest more consistently and have changed my images that I’m uploading from my site which hopefully will help drive more traffic. One thing I would love to know is how much time per day do you spend working your Pinterest account? (hopefully I didn’t miss this already being asked and answered in the comments) Thanks again for sharing your tips!

    • Hi there! Thanks so much for stopping by! I use a pin-scheduling service so I actually do most of my Pinterest work in one 2-hour block once a week. Then I do a little here or there (maybe 10-15 additional minutes) per day. That system is working well for me at this point!

  16. These are great tips. I should probably start doing each a FB and Pinterest friendly image. I also need to go through my boards and delete images that don’t deserve to be there. Things have changed so much on Pinterest the past year!

  17. Thanks for submitting this to the Blogging + Business Collective for July. All submissions get pinned to Pinterest. Have a great Sunday!

  18. I’ve been doing my own little experiment with Pinterest for the past two weeks. I went from 1,042 followers to 1,264. I easily have over 100 notifications each day. My goal is to get to 10k by the end of the year. Thanks for this article!

  19. Addition to this is to play with Pinterest Ads, Joining in the relevant Group board and share your pins there will attract more visitors to your website. To optimize or create a image for Pinterest post, I recommend https://www.canva.com/. Such an awesome free tool.

  20. Here, I’d like to add the best tool for pinterest ever made.. http://PinPinterest.com
    I’m using it myself for more than 7 months now, and I’ve gained unparalleled results both in the form of followers and revenue. It lets me schedule as many Pins as I want, and it also intelligently pins only images related to my business. It learns this every time as I keep using it. PinPinterest is free to use, based on the cloud, has a mobile ready website, works on Intelligent algorithms and sets up quick.

  21. I clearly have some work to do. I am slowly trying to figure out Pinterest as I had never used it before I started blogging. I think I might be pinning too much of my own stuff and not sharing enough of others. Plus I probably need to work on creating pins that others find helpful. Great tips and thanks for sharing!

  22. www [dot] PinPinterest [dot] com is the captain of my Pinterest ship. Use it to gain followers for myself as it manages my account on Auto Pilot. I’ve tried almost every popular automation tool available on the internet. After looking for a decent tool for long, I finally settled for PinPinterest. It has helped me get from almost non-mentionable followers and zero traffic to more than 55k followers on my Pinterest and my site being a traffic-magnet 😀
    Auto Like, Comment, Pin, Repin, Follow and Unfollow..it has all the features one wants in a full-fledged tool and even more… It has Pin Scheduler that lets me schedule as many pins as I want and has a Speed Control setting that makes sure my account is always ban-safe by running at a human-like speed. The thing I like the most about PinPinterest is its intelligent content-detection algorithm, that runs in the background and detects relevant content for my account and pins only such images.

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