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When I set my mind to doing something I read absolutely everything I can find on the topic until all of the information just becomes super repetitive. Starting my blog was no exception.
Very quickly I found that Pinterest would be the best way for me to pull traffic to my site and start finding myself an audience. The biggest hurdle in this for me, however, was that I didn’t really want to spend anymore money on my blog until I was in a position to start making back some of the money I initially invested.
Anyone else get a little tired of going out there looking for help and just reading sales post after sales post?
Most of the posts I was reading about getting your Pinterest started involved 2 key things:
First, buy their e-course or eBook and learn all the secrets.
While I’m all for supporting fellow bloggers attempts at making this their full time job, how did I know if their product was going to tell me something I didn’t already know?
Second, you need Tailwind.
Now this is something that I don’t necessarily disagree with. BUT! I don’t think it’s a need from the get go.
I only post once a week and I launched my blog with less than the recommended amount of posts. Because of this I am only now (nearly my 4th month blogging) reaching the point where I feel I need Tailwind to help me. I’ll explain at the end what got me to this point.
You read that right, I spent my first 3 ½ months manually pinning. Not only did I start to grow, but I thrived!
In the month of January (my 3rd full month blogging), I received slightly over 5,000 sessions and almost 6,000 pageviews for y’all who like to monitor your traffic that way. That was over double the amount of people who had browsed my site in December and all a result of the time and energy I invested into building my Pinterest.
This method isn’t the easiest way to build your Pinterest, but it’s free and in the beginning honestly I couldn’t beat that!
I wanted to provide a little insight into what I did to begin growing my Pinterest for those of you out there who are like me and don’t like being sold to. While I do include a Tailwind affiliate link in this post, this method is 100% free if you have the time and the willpower to do it. I can’t with any good conscience convince people they need to spend money on something that they could survive without.
This is basically the post I wanted to read when I was looking for what works on Pinterest without spending any money.
Create Boards For All Subjects You Write or Intend To Write On
If you don’t have a blog yet, filling boards with quality pins consistently builds a good foundation for your own pins to become visible.
I started my Pinterest a couple days before launching my blog. I started filling boards with pins before I ever had any posts of my own to add. I’ve found that the older your board and account are the quicker Pinterest begins showing your pins to others.
In the beginning it would take my content a couple days to start receiving clicks, the time decreased to exactly 2 days for effects to start showing, and now my content begins receiving clicks immediately after posting.
I won’t go into exactly how to set these up because if you’re reading this post, you’ve probably read many before telling you this same tip. Make sure you get your rich pins set up! This will tell people that your pin links to a real website that’s active.
This one was tricky for me to understand based on the instructions on Pinterest’s website.
I did find out this easy little tip to getting your posts correctly coded for the set up however.
Basically if you install the Yoast SEO plugin it will set up the coding part Pinterest needs for you. It’s a good tool to have for your site anyhow, but this is the main reason why I added it to mine in the first place.
Did you know Pinterest let’s you schedule your pins on their site for free?
To do this all you have to do is upload your pin on the Pinterest website on a computer and it allows you the option of pinning it for a future time of your choosing.
I only learned this in the last couple weeks of my manual pinning strategy. It’s not the most convenient thing to do, but it works!
I set it up to pin my content every hour to 2 hours with a concentration on my most popular posts. These were shooting off while I was sleeping and I believe this is truly what contributed to my high traffic moments in January.
I’m a bit lazy and don’t always do this step myself, but writing up a description for your pin increases your impressions. This is a search engine and works like it, the more keywords you give Pinterest to work with the more people are able to find your pin.
Now down to the actual strategy
I found my greatest success on Pinterest when I began pinning about 9 pins of my own a day with a couple of pins from others every 1-2 hours. Before using the scheduler method that Pinterest provides, I did this in sets of threes.
In the morning, at lunch, and when I got home from work I’d add a set of three different pins. Each of these times along with a couple other times throughout the day I would repin quality content from other bloggers. To me, quality content means pins that are clickable, not just something that looks pretty, and lead to posts with well written content.
You’re telling Pinterest that you know what you’re doing and they should keep showing your stuff.
I don’t know if it helps or hurts, but I did not and have not joined any group boards. I know they’re always encouraged in Pinterest strategy posts, but I haven’t used them and have grown regardless.
For style purposes, I did dress up my profile adding board covers, board descriptions, and a profile description.
After doing all of this I had post after post take off and start getting far more traffic than I had been seeing in the first 2 months.
I believe that using the first 2 months building my Pinterest up allowed some of my pins to become semi viral. I say semi because I don’t know what numbers really qualifies your pin as viral, but oh did I feel viral!
Here’s a snapshot I took of one of my most successful posts in the midst of its popularity.
Posting this post with a variety of different pin designs kept it circulating.
I don’t have a set number of different pictures I use per post, but I make sure that each one has a couple different ones. When I had a post that was doing well, I made sure to create more.
When it comes to the style of my pins, I like variety. I’ve played with different colors and sizes. I know that bright pink and white pins tend to be the standard recommendation to help you “stand out”, but when everyone else is following that advise you end up blending in.
I was quite surprised when my square dark pin started earning me a lot of clicks. Possibly it was because it stood out in the see of pink and white.
For creating pins I use Adobe Spark. It is free and I find it easier to work with than Canva. The software you use is really a preference thing, I’ve worked on both.
Track Your Analytics
Watch your stats! Not just on Pinterest, but also on Google Analytics. I find that Pinterest Analytics doesn’t really give me the best picture of what post is performing well.
When I see a post begin receiving a lot of new views, I can start investigating on Pinterest looking for repins and clicks. Usually I’m able to figure out which pin has been generating the bulk of the views pretty quickly.
When reviewing your Pinterest Analytics pay closest attention to the graph on the far right- activity from your site. The other numbers should be rising, but if that last one is not you won’t be seeing the traffic coming to your blog.
The number of followers you have does not matter. Your stuff will get seen regardless of how many people are following you. The only number that really matters is the number of visitors your blog is seeing. I used to get really hung up on my follower count on all the social media platforms until I realized my blog was seeing more traffic than others who had far more followers all around than I did.
The Downside of Manual Pinning
My Pinterest profile boasted monthly views of 450k and then it flatlined. While this number is mostly for show, when it stopped shooting up my traffic became crazy slow as well.
After 3 months of non stop pinning, I got tired. I had a week with an increasing number of visitors, tapping out at a day with over 500 sessions.
I figured I could ride my pins success a couple days and then get back at it.
That was not the case. The next day I dropped drastically.
I wasn’t up to keeping up with the effort manual pinning took, so I finally signed up for my Tailwind free trial and when it gets done, I will be subscribing for real.
Many bloggers have said they didn’t see any results during the free trial, but I have. My traffic has started going back to where it was and I think that is because I already had a Pinterest account set up for the success of my content.
Blogging isn’t a race to the finish
I’m happy that I put in the effort to learn what I wanted to do on my blog and what works and doesn’t work on Pinterest before doubling my yearly expenses for a blog that hasn’t been making money.
Now that I’m in a position where my blog has a solid amount of posts and has active means of monetization I’m willing to invest more into it.
If you don’t have the time to pop on your phone every couple hours and pin, or you don’t have the energy to keep track of what posts of your own you’ve already pinned recently manual pinning probably isn’t for you.
But if you’re up for a little extra effort for the sake of saving $100+, I want you to know this is doable.
If this post did nothing else for you, I hope I was able to encourage you to break the mold and find your own success. Pinterest is not rocket science, it takes some trial and error, but when you find something that works run with it!