One thing I love about blogging is the support that I receive from the blogging community. They are one of my greatest resources and most faithful supporters. I met Mandy from MandyWallace.com through the SITS Saturday Sharefest – which I participate in every single Saturday.
I had left a comment on her blog about blog traffic, or in this case, complaining about my lack of blog traffic. Mandy has done very well for herself in this case – she’s only been blogging for four months and she has more than a thousand daily visitors. In contrast, I’ve been blogging for nearly 8 years and I have – well, a bit less than that…
So when Mandy replied to my comment and asked if she could use me as a test case for a critique series she was doing, I was surprised and quite pleased. After the SITS Girls, my largest traffic source is Pinterest, so she decided to focus on my Pinterest techniques. Turns out, I was doing a few things right but several things wrong and it has been costing me a lot of traffic.
You’ll need to pop over to her site to read the whole critique, but here are a couple of of the Pinterest mistakes I was making:
- My images were too small and not very clear. Like a lot of bloggers, I use mostly free stock photography and it’s hard to find photos that are of a good enough quality for a good Pinterest image. She has a list of sites for stock photography and tips on how to find really crisp and clear images.
- Many of my images were not oriented properly. Most of mine were horizontal or square and Pinterest LOVES images that are long and tall. I still haven’t quite figured out how to get the proper size out of PicMonkey, but I’m going to be working on that. According to Mandy, the optimum size is 735 pixels by 1102 pixels. Mandy’s Pinterest board has some good examples of how to “pad” a photo if needed, to get it to the proper size.
- Even though I was putting my post titles on all my images (brownie points for me!), I wasn’t taking the time to do good SEO-friendly titles, and I wasn’t making the titles click-worthy enough. I definitely am going to be working on improving that. Mandy offers some great examples of headline styles and eye-catching verbs within her critique.
- The most surprising tip was that I shouldn’t be using borders at all or at least very sparingly. I had been adding borders to nearly every image just because I though they looked more professional and finished that way, but they detract from your image and eat up valuable real-estate that should be devoted to your title and your blog’s tag line or watermark.
I also have a few things I had discovered on my own before Mandy came along to help me:
- I’ve learned to be much more descriptive in my pins. I use to use tons of hashtags, which is just annoying and doesn’t really buy you anything. Now I include the post title, just one hashtag with my blog name, and then a sentence or two to really highlight the topic of the blog post. I think that has been helping me a lot in terms of traffic.
- I also pin a LOT. I have a Viral Tag membership, which I highly recommend. It’s a marvelous tool and has helped my blog tremendously. Here is a whole post about the benefits of Viral Tag. Anyway, I use Viral Tag a LOT to automate and schedule my pinning to take advantage of the best times and the best spacing for my pins to get them into a lot of different people’s feeds. I also have at least half a dozen Group Pinterest boards that I pin my posts to every week. Some belong to me and some belong to other bloggers, but it’s a great way to get extra visibility for your posts and also to get great content to build nice content-rich boards that other Pinners will want to Follow.
- I have also learned how to pin my posts CORRECTLY. This is almost embarrassing to admit, because this was my worst Pinterest Fail, but after I had been using Pinterest for almost a year, I discovered that I was pinning my posts completely WRONG! By then, I had more than 100 pins and many thousands of repins from my blog that were all done incorrectly! This was back in my old Blogger days and I would go to my main blog page and click the Pin It button. It would bring up the images from all my recent posts, so I would just happily pin them all, one by one. I never realized that it wasn’t linking the photo to the specific post. Instead, it was just linking them to my main AdriansCrazyLife page, so once the post moved to the next page, no one could find it. D’oh!
I just want to express my appreciation to Mandy for taking the time to help out another blogger and to give us all some tips that we can use to maximize our Pinterest usage. It is such a great tool and I’m hoping it’s really going to pay off to learn how to use it properly!
If you have additional Pinterest, PicMonkey or Stock Photo tips to share, please leave them in the comments. I think this is a topic that ALL of us can use some help with.