Pinterest FAIL! Learn from my MISTAKES

PinterestFailPicMonkey

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.

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Comments

  1. super helpful thanks!

    • I’m glad this has helped you. I look back and see how much I’ve learned since then. It’s a big change and it’s bringing in so much more traffic and money. Now I’m in the same spot where I’m providing critiques to other users.

  2. Thanks for this. I signed up for Pinterest and then froze. I can’t get past the how-does-anybody-find-this-anyway? stage, so I haven’t convinced myself to use it. Pinning something wrong would be a step forward.

    • Awww c’mon in, the waters fine! Tell you what, what’s your favorite hobby? Reading, crocheting, hiking, cooking? Go and search out 10 pins related to your hobby and put them into a board. Voila! You’ll be hooked in no time! And it is wonderful for blog traffic.

  3. Well, I’m humbled by this post because I’m making all these mistakes. 723 pixels by 1102 pixels. I had NO CLUE there was an optimal pixel rate. I’m glad I’m just learning now. I’ve just started adding title images specifically for pinning. You rock!

    • I’m glad this helped you. I think blogging is such a journey. I was at a blog conference this weekend. It was my tenth conference and I think I learned even MORE than I did at the other ones.

  4. So glad I decided to link up on the SITS share fest today! I plan to implement the tips from the post right now. Great post.

  5. I am so bad about ignoring Pinterest. I am also guilty of having the intention of using it, but making some similar mistakes. Thanks for the tips!

  6. Thanks for these tips! Pinterest is also a big traffic source for me, even though I hardly use it. I have been trying to have a picture for each post but I never thought about the size. The thing is you also have to think about the auto posting to Facebook etc and I think Facebook prefers square ones.

  7. Getting a few more (okay, a lot more) visitors to my blog is one of my goals for this year so reading this was really helpful. I still have to get over the idea of pinning my own posts though so I have a lot to overcome and learn.

  8. I love Pinterest, although I find it quite addictive!! It’s fantastic for blog traffic though, thanks for linking up!

  9. Pinterest is a HUGE source for incoming clicks, though I’ve found that a lot of pinners have a high bounce rate, and don’t convert well to real followers. I love these tips though…I used to use a lot of borders on my images as well, but now I avoid them like crazy! Thanks for sharing your experience!

    • That is definitely true. Finding loyal followers is like the Holy Grail some days! Glad you found my tips helpful.

  10. I’m like you. I’ve been blogging for many years, but I still don’t have many visitors. I’m going to check out the critique!

    • I hope it helps you. I certainly found it helpful. Linking posts to social media seems to be a big part of it. But I think luck and a positive attitude plays a part too.

  11. Great tips! Visiting from SITS

  12. Omgosh I am so glad to have read this post via the SITS Saturday share fest. This is such useful information that I will apply too to boist my traffic from Pinerest which has been awful. Thanks for sharing!

    • I hope it helps. The algorithyms have changed recently, so I don’t get as much from them as I used to, but I have one or two really good pins that have gone kind of viral, so I get like 80% of my traffic from those couple of pins. So it’s very unpredictable.

  13. Wow, who knew that you can actually pin stuff wrong….oh boy. I don’t even want to know my critique…it would probably be VERY disappointing but helpful. Thank you for this information. I will definitely check out Mandy’s blog too! #SITS sharefest

    • Yeah, I was doing it wrong – d’oh! But since I got the hang of it, I’ve been doing much better. C’mon over and find me on Pinterest. I’ve got 13,000 pins and some great group boards. AdriansCrazyLif (no E).

  14. I always like to help out other bloggers too. We are all doing the same thing (essentially – blogging) & it’s always nice to have a little help now and then. I myself love SITS everyday and on Saturday. That is where i’m stopping by from, wishing you a great day!

  15. Pinterest is one of our biggest sources for traffic, too . . . but traffic is something that we haven’t been getting a lot of lately. Do you have any posts on how to up traffic or any good suggestions?

    I’m definitely headed to check out how to improve Pinterest, though! It’s something that I’m sure could help us out – and we are total Pinterest addicts anyway!!! 😉

  16. Last week during SITS twitter fest I learned many of the SITS girls get most of their traffic from Pinterest. I’ve been using it to track recipes I want to make and books I want to read. Occasionally I’ll pin one of my own posts – if I happen to think of it. Looks like becoming a Pinterest pro is my 2015 blog goal. Thanks for the tips. I needed all of them.

    • Here’s another tip – set up your very own blog board and start pinning all your posts to it. Then join some group boards and then you can pin your posts several times. Using Viral Tag, I can pin each post about a dozen times to different boards and space them a couple of hours apart, but you can do the same thing manually. It is surprising how quickly Pinterest can boost your traffic. Stop by my blog board – Bliggity blog stuff for bloggy bloggers – how’s that for a title? And you’re welcome to join any of my group boards – just leave me a comment on the ones you want to join. I’ll even show you how to set up your own!

  17. One day I will fully understand and take advantage of Pinterest. I either get sucked in to the pretty pictures, or Pin one post in four months and then forget all about it! I Tweet so much….. I am going to save this, revisit it this weekend and try to be a better Pinner!!!!!

    • You are definitely the Twitter NINJA! I think you retweet my stuff almost more than I do. I gave up Twitter a couple of years ago. It was fun, but it was sucking up every minute of my day and not giving me much in return. Pinterest on the other hand, not only provides a ton of my traffic, it also is a terrific research tool. I use it for Scouts, parenting, fundraising, blogging, financial tips, life hacks, makeup tips, just about everything, but what everyone ELSE uses it for – recipes! I hate to cook and I’m not about to make MORE work for myself. But come and find me over there (adrianscrazylif) and come and join some of my Group boards. C’mon in, the water is great!

      • Hahaha, I am a little crazy about Twitter, I find it easy and a great way to meet and stay in touch with other bloggers.

        That said I am going to try and dedicate a few hours tomorrow to Pinterest, and keeping that up too.

        What are your thoughts on Bloglovin, I am loving how it organizes the blogs that I want to read and comment on, like yours 🙂

        Do you get much traffic that way?

        Thanks
        xoxoxo

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