How To Increase Blog Traffic Using Pinterest

If you are a travel blogger (or any type of blogger for that matter) and you are not on Pinterest, stop reading this post right now and go set up your profile. I mean it. It is the single biggest mistake I made as a blogger and I am absolutely kicking myself that I did not take this absolute goldmine seriously from an early stage.

If you are looking to increase blog traffic I suggest you forget Twitter, forget Instagram, forget Facebook and you can even forget Google (for a few weeks at least!). Pinterest can quickly become your number one traffic referral within one short month and increase your blog traffic by 1000’s if you can just follow a few simple steps. Don’t believe me? Check out Drew Binskey from The Hungry Partier who maintains that despite a grand total of over 35,000 social media followers, Pinterest is his number one source of traffic. Sylvia from Heart My Backpack believes so strongly in the power of Pinterest to drive blog traffic that she has created a Pinterest video course for bloggers to help them get started. Heck, she knows Pinterest so well she is even charging just short $90 to share her Pinterest tips with the world. 

Pinterest is still not my number one referrer (that would still be Facebook!) and I would not dream of charging you to read about my tips as I am no expert, but I would like to share with you how I grew my following from 0 – 1,200 and increased traffic to my blog by over 4,000 unique hits in just three short weeks. Hopefully it can work for you too.

Step 1: Start fresh

Right, first I should probably give a little background. I joined Pinterest ages ago and never used it. Much like the majority of most of my Facebook friends, it would seem. Back in December, December 21st to be precise, I decided to start all over again. I deleted all my old pins and boards (they were not vertical pins…more on that later!), unfollowed all my (dormant) friends and started from scratch. I was getting about 10 hits a month from Pinterest but knew I could change this pretty fast based on what I had read on other blogs.

Step 2: Create vertical pins for all blog posts

This is still a work in progress. As my blog is over 5 years old (I started it in 2009 and took many long breaks in between!) there are over 450 old posts to work my way through. Essentially what I am doing is creating a Pinterest graphic for every blog post on my site using Canva (they have Pinterest image templates which make life so much easier!) so that when people land on the post they will be encouraged to ‘pin it’ after they have finished reading. If the pin is vertical (a portrait image rather than a landscape image) it will be more visually appealing to other Pinterest users who will then start to share it by re-pinning to their own boards and large group boards. According to research, the taller your image the more likely it is to be re-pinned! 

Once you have created an image for your new blog post, click the share icon and pin it to your blog board, which should be named after your own site. On my Pinterest, for example, the first board you will see is ‘Journalist On The Run – Travel Blog’ and this is where I start to pin all my vertical pins. I pin them in other places too, but that’s a little later.

Step 3: Follow your target audience

I started off with no followers and felt like such a fraud. I’m supposed to be a professional travel blogger with a large social media following and here I am with about 10 Pinterest followers. This needed to change quickly! I decided to zone in on potential followers by searching ‘travel blogger’ or ‘travel writer’ in the search bar. I decided to only follow people who looked to be active, so people with many pins and a decent following. This was I know my followers will be interested in my content and I will be following people whose content I will enjoy and be happy to re-pin. Within a few days, I realized that I could easily follow up to 200 people every day (Pinterest has a cap of 300 per day so best to steer clear of that!). It could take anywhere between 30 minutes and one hour each evening but I knew the payoff (in traffic!) would be worth it in the end so I stuck to this routine for almost 3 full weeks and it helped me increase my following to over 1,000 in just 21 days.Screenshot 2016-01-11 at 8.01.29 PM

Step 4: Find and join big group boards

I think finding and joining as many group travel boards as I could was the real key to my success so far. Group boards are boards with a specific theme. While they have one owner (the person who set the board up) there are often hundreds if not thousands of contributors who have been allowed to join the board and share their own pins. There is normally a cap of about 10+ pins that you are allowed to pin on each group board per day to stop spamming and different boards (and owners) all have different rules about how to join the board as well as rules on adding friends or strangers to the group board. Take for example the Awesome Views group board: there are over half a million pins, 5500 collaborators and over 77,000 people follow the board. Pinning to group boards means your pin has a much bigger chance of being seen and shared if pinned here rather than on one of your own boards. 

Here are some great group travel boards to check out and join:

Awesome views – 77,600 followers

What a wonderful world – 37,500 followers.

The best travel pins – 22,200 followers

World travellers – 21,500 followers

Favourite images – 19,100 followers

Travel Inspiration – 19,500 followers

Pingroupie is a great tool to find group boards that are looking for Pinners. You can search by category and then click through to the owners profile to either send them a message or leave a  comment on one of their pins asking to be added to a certain board.

pingroupie

Step 5: Create your own boards

It’s really important to have 10+ of your own boards that people who come to you page will find interesting. If someone follows me and I go to their page only to find one lonely board and minimal pins, I will most likely not follow them back. If you have interesting boards, with eye-catching names or colorful (and extra long) pins, the likelihood of new followers checking out your pins and re-pinning to their own boards is a lot higher. I have decided to do a series of boards called, “The perfect road  X trip” and am slowly building up new boards for the countries I have done epic road trips and for all the countries I hope to go to (such as a road trip across the USA.) If people see you are an expert on a certain subject rather than just a fan of many broad subjects, they may be more inclined to follow you. You should also put your best boards, the ones you want people to share from, at the top of your profile.

Screenshot 2016-01-11 at 10.19.37 PM

Step 6: Keep re-pinning to group boards

I first pin to my own personal Travel Blog board, as explained in step 2, and then re-pin from there to all the big group boards I am a member of. I wait about a week and then re-pin all my most popular pins into the group boards again, and I will continue to do this for as long as it continues to send me lots of traffic! You can also keep an eye on your notifications to see which pins are getting re-pinned the most and try to work out why that pin is getting so much attention. Often it is simply to do with the design and colours used to create the pin rather than the content itself.

Screenshot 2016-01-11 at 9.19.53 PM

Step 7: Join Pinterest groups on Facebook

To help kick-start your Pinterest referrals and help build your following, I suggest you put some time aside each day to get active on one of the many (and I mean many!!) Facebook groups out there to help you achieve travel blog success. When I first started blogging in 2009, I didn’t even have a Facebook page. Now I can hardly keep up with the amount of new Facebook support groups popping up in my feed each day. Many of these groups will help you grow your following and also run daily social media sharing threads which will guarantee your pin will reach much bigger audiences than your own followers, in return for you re-pinning the other bloggers pins on your boards. Everybody wins!

Here are best Facebook groups to join if you are just interested in Pinterest:

Travel Bloggers Guide To Pinterest

Pinterest For Travel Bloggers

Pinterest Collaborative boards

Pinterest Pin For Pin

Travel Bloggers Social Media Sharing Group

Step 8: Get Scheduling

I have started to use Tailwind for scheduling my pins as, let’s face it, us travel bloggers often have much better things to be doing (like exploring a new country) than spending hours in front of the computer at random times throughout the day just to pin some pretty pictures! I am just on a free trail at the moment but if it goes well I will probably end up forking out the $9.99 a month up upgrade to Tailwind Plus. Tailwind will analyse your account to see what times throughout the day you get the most engagement and will then encourage you to schedule pins at those times throughout the week.

Screenshot 2016-01-11 at 9.35.09 PM

Luke from Next Level Travel Blogging has a really great post about automating and scheduling pins to help drive traffic from Pinterest and goes into a lot more detail on this front that I do. I highly recommend checking out his post for a more in-depth guide on how to use these automation tools.

Finally…watch you Pinterest traffic soar!

Every day..

Screenshot 2016-01-11 at 9.41.17 PM

…and every month

Screenshot 2016-01-10 at 3.35.29 PM

Like this post? PIN IT!! 

How to Increase Blog Traffic Using Pinterest

  • Hannah
    January 12, 2016 at 12:39 am

    great tips girl! I just started utilizing pinterest more this past month and am already noticing a huge difference

  • Ash
    January 12, 2016 at 1:02 am

    Great post, Janet! Thanks, pinned it!

  • chrisbackewebdev
    January 12, 2016 at 1:18 am

    Question regarding the vertical photo: do you upload that to your post and find it via Pinterest’s tool, or do you upload it to Pinterest straightaway?

  • David
    January 12, 2016 at 2:15 am

    Good post, that’s great numbers for the number of followers that you have. More bloggers need to use pinterest.

  • Luke Marlin
    January 12, 2016 at 3:10 am

    Great overview Janet. Very straightforward and easy to follow – as all guides should be! One question I had on step 3 (the step I continue to ignore in my own Pinterest promotion strategy), is that you must have followed thousands of profiles in the process, which is fine, but what was your unfollow strategy? As it’s now quite reasonable.

  • Voyager - Travel Experience Share
    January 12, 2016 at 5:08 am

    This is a great post and very insightful. Especially the Pingroupie tool seems very useful. Thanks Janet. :)

  • Danika
    January 12, 2016 at 9:01 am

    Brilliant! I’m in the same boat as you were – I’m fine with other social networks but Pinterest is the one that I still just don’t ‘get’. I’m going to use this guide like my bible for the next few weeks and get myself set up and ‘pinning’! Thanks Janet!

  • Gil Sousa
    January 12, 2016 at 12:08 pm

    Another thing you should consider is having Rich Pins, check more info here:
    https://business.pinterest.com/en/rich-pins
    and here:
    https://developers.pinterest.com/tools/url-debugger/

    I noticed that the pins I had with “location” were performing better than the other ones, now I added my whole blog to the Rich Pins (I literally just did it, so I can’t say if they’ll perform better or not). You also see a “R” box next to your pins when checking Pinterest Analytics if they are rich pins or not.

    WordPress has a lot of plugins that help having better rich pins, I didn’t get a “perfect” one yet (I’m considering to develop it myself). So just look into that, and maybe you could consider adding that info to this article as well :) Happy trips (no pun intended :P)

  • Jill Weinlein - Travel and Restaurant Reviewer
    January 12, 2016 at 5:54 pm

    Brilliant! A great way to kick-start 2016. Thank you Janet.

  • blathnaid
    January 12, 2016 at 8:46 pm

    great post !very interesting !! xx B http://www.wildflowerdiaries.com

  • The Sweet Wanderlust
    January 12, 2016 at 10:20 pm

    This is great! What program do you use to create the graphics for your pins?

  • World Travel Bug
    January 13, 2016 at 4:52 pm

    That’s a great summary of the main tips Janet!. I can tell you put quite some work into it. I have been playing around a bit with Pinterest but when I see that it really works I will focus more. Well done girl!

    • Janet newenham
      January 14, 2016 at 10:47 am

      Do, it will help your traffic explode. I wrote this a few days ago when I was getting 4,000 hits a month form Pinterest. Now, it is on track to be 10,000 hits by the end of this month!! Craziness.

  • Joe Baur (@BaurJoe)
    January 13, 2016 at 9:31 pm

    Great guide! I swear I’m finally starting tomorrow…

  • Kristin Henning
    January 18, 2016 at 7:02 pm

    Thanks so much for taking the time to provide this info. At last, this prompted me to get started.

  • lily kate
    January 27, 2016 at 4:23 pm

    This post was really helpful, thank you so much! I’m really hoping to expand the travel side of my blog this year and having a greater following would make that so much easier. I admire blogs like yours so much – very inspirational to 18 year old me!
    Lily x
    jolihouse.com

  • Sharon
    July 19, 2016 at 1:00 am

    This post was helpful, thanks. Most of the groups mentioned are closed to new members, though.

    • Janet newenham
      July 19, 2016 at 9:55 pm

      I might be able to add you to some groups I am a member of? Or else follow all my groups and email the admins?

  • annanowak11
    November 4, 2016 at 11:51 am

    Oh Janet! Thank you for that post. I started Pinterest long ago too and it is very quiet there. I read many posts and most of them do not give very specific tips and steps. Everyone can learn, but with lack of time and digital confusion sometimes it is hard to learn everything, so thank you for this post and making my life easier.