Even as a beginning blogger, it is pretty quickly evident that Pinterest is a key source of traffic for your blog.
What’s the Problem?
If you’re starting from scratch, Pinterest can seem pretty overwhelming. A simple Google search bombards you with an endless wormhole of terms like pins, repins, smartloops, groups, boards, Tailwind, sponsored pins, and so many other terms that sound like they should be English but really aren’t.
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Why This Sucks
Even if you’re used to Pinterest (maybe you use it as a user, but never as a business or blogger) some of it can seem pretty overwhelming.
And then there’s the fact that even experienced bloggers have to stay on top of it as algorithms change, new tools appear (and disappear), and Pinterest itself occasionally makes strategic changes as a company.
(Thanks, Pinterest. Just what we needed.)
However, before you let yourself get discouraged, Pinterest is still one of the best tools for driving traffic to your blog.
I promise you it is worth the headache.
In just a few minutes we can get you up and running to the point where you have Pinterest “installed” on your blog and your users can start pinning your content.
How to Handle It
Let’s start out with some basics…
How Does Pinterest Benefit Bloggers?
Pinterest is basically a search engine.
(The folks at Pinterest actually self-describe Pinterest as a “visual search engine”.)
When you go to a search engine like Google (or Bing…I guess…if people still do that…) and type in a phrase, the search engine’s job is to look through the entire internet and give you the best* results for what you’re looking for.
*The word “best” is a relative term because it entails a machine to interpret what a human has typed in. If you type in “sad coffee mug” Google has to figure out if you mean pictures of a coffee mug that is broken, a place that sells coffee mugs with sad-face emoji on it, or an anthropomorphized cartoon coffee mug that isn’t at all pleased. This nebulosity in interpretation is why search algorithms exist: all the different search engines are trying to figure out the “best” way to see what people type in and figure out what the heck they actually want. This is also why algorithms change…because the companies are always trying to do a better job at giving users what they actually want (despite the weird stuff they type in the search bar).
Pinterest is a search engine just like Google. Except instead of using your search query (aka the words you type) to give you a selection of websites, they use the words you type to give you the images (aka “Pins”) that they think are closest to what you want.
So, as a blogger, that means that your goal is to get Pinterest to recommend your pins when people type in things related to your blog. Did you just write an article on the top 5 types of party hats for dogs? You want Pinterest to recommend it front and center when people type in “dog party hats”.
Most of this happens without you explicitly doing anything! It is possible for you to get tons of Pinterest without ever creating a Pinterest account, setting up any social media plugins, or ever “installing” Pinterest on your blog.
However, most bloggers want as much traffic as soon as possible, so we do these things to help Pinterest “find” us faster and to make it easier for our readers (who are most likely already Pinterest users) to share our content on Pinterest.
There are four basic actions you can do to ensure your content is as Pinterest-accessible as possible:
- Create a Pinterest account for your blog
- Turn your account into a business account
- Set up a “Pin It” button on your blog (aka “install” Pinterest)
- Create special Pinterest-friendly images (aka “Pins”) for each blog post
How Do I Create a Pinterest Account?
Creating a Pinterest account requires exactly zero coding knowledge.
To create a business account, there are a few simple steps:
- Head to create a free business account link on Pinterest
- Type in your business email and create a password
- Click “Create account”
You should be automatically redirected to an 8 step setup widget to furnish your new account information.
- Choose your language and country
- Add your business name and category
For a usual blog the category will probably be “brand” or “professional”, but it doesn’t really matter all that much.
- Link to your website
Just type in the URL to your blog
- Connect your other accounts to Pinterest
As of 2019 you have a choice of Instagram, Etsy, or YouTube. These are obviously not mandatory but can be useful if you have them anyway.
- Are you interested in running ads?
Don’t worry…whatever you choose here, you can set ads up later.
- Choose topics that describe your business
You have to pick at least one, but I wouldn’t select too many because it will give you recommended posts based on your selections.
- A link to get the Pinterest browser button
This links to the Chrome plugin for the Pinterest button, which is good to have but doesn’t affect your account at all.
It will then give you the option to create Pins using images from your site. You can do this if you have pre-made pins already, but feel free to skip if you’re just setting up. You can obviously do it later.
Finally, it gives you a “create a pin” screen that shows you the basic components of a pin and lets you upload one. Again, great background knowledge, but if you’re just setting up you can do this later as well.
Ta da! Your business account has been created!
What’s the Difference Between a Regular Pinterest Account and a “Business” Account?
A Pinterest personal account is aimed at your typical Pinterest user.
You get to see all the pins, create your own boards, and pin content to your boards. However, a business account has greater access to analytics (i.e. looking at stats of how your pins are performing, your traffic, views, etc.) and the ability to create ads.
Basically, as a user, you only really need a personal account, but as a blogger, you need a business account.
If you already created a Pinterest personal account for your blog, they give you directions on how to convert it to a business account here.
What Does it Mean to “Install” Pinterest?
There are many ways Pinterest can be useful on your blog.
Think of things from a user’s perspective. Here are the ways your typical reader might be interested in using Pinterest while on your blog. They might want to:
- Save your content to one of their Pinterest boards (i.e. “Pin” your blog)
- Follow your Pinterest account
- See your Pinterest profile
- See the content of Pinterest boards you’ve created
All of these tasks are done using what Pinterest calls “widget builders”.
A widget is basically a self-contained bit of code that performs a single function. For example, a “follow button widget” is the code that Pinterest gives you to create a follow button on your site.
Pinterest walks you through the different types of widgets here. You can see all the different widgets they offer and decide which one(s) you want on your site.
Note: If you use a blogging platform like WordPress, some of these might be covered by some social media plugins (like the Pin It button), while others you may have to install from scratch.
For all of these different widgets, Pinterest will give you a few fields to fill out and then give you two different pieces of code to put on your site.
Primary Code: This part gets copy-pasted as HTML wherever you want the widget to appear on your site.
What Should Your Blog’s Pins Look Like?
There is a great amount of research on the “perfect” pin for a blog.
I won’t pretend to be the authority on this, and the topic has a truly ridiculous amount of content already created on it (from blog entries to entire blogs to extensive courses).
Here is the basic wisdom I will give you, which should be more than enough to start you out on your journey:
- Pins should be noticeable and feature eye-catching images and text.
- Any text on a Pin should be easy to read (clear and large enough even at small sizes).
- Make judicious use of white space.
- If your blog has branding (e.g. colors, fonts, image guidelines, etc.) you can (but don’t have to) use this branding in your pins.
- Each blog can (and usually should) have more than one pin image.
- Pins should have a specific size: landscape orientation (see next section for details).
- Pins should all have descriptions and titles (within Pinterest), which should contain the keywords you want them to be found with.
What Size Should Pinterest Pins Be?
The best pins are taller than they are wide because these will end up biggest on Pinterest’s fixed-width display feed.
The golden rule for Pinterest pins is a 2:3 image ratio.
(As of 2019, any pins over a 2:3 aspect ratio will actually have to get more engagement to earn the same ranking as their 2:3 or smaller counterparts.)
This means that an image that is 600px wide should be 900px tall, but one that is 1000px wide should be 1500px tall (and so on).
You definitely don’t want to go any smaller than 600px by 900px, but bigger doesn’t necessarily mean better either. Remember, the images you pin still have to load on your website, so big images may look great but they slow down your page load speeds (which irritates readers and makes search engines less likely to recommend your site).
I would say a solid bet is something around 720px x 1080px.
735px x 1102px is what Canva uses for all of their Pinterest templates, but it’s not a perfect 2:3. Anything around this range should put you on the right track and there’s no exact answer.
Other Pinterest Resources
There is a remarkable array of Pinterest resources out there.
This is by no means a comprehensive list, but it should give you a good jumping-off point for your Pinterest shenanigans:
- Tailwind (aka, your new Pinterest savior): This is the largest and most popular Pinterest scheduling platform. This means that Tailwind helps you create a pre-determined schedule that will automatically pin for you at specific times so you don’t have to do it manually. It also has tools to help get your pins seen by other bloggers. There are literally entire blogs (not blog entries…whole blogs) about Tailwind. Definitely, one to check out and understand, even if you don’t need it for your blog just yet.
- Canva: If you aren’t a graphic designer (or even if you are) Canva is a great tool for creating stunning graphics (cough, cough pins) for your blog in insanely little time. It also has a great library of premade pin templates to get your creative juices flowing.
- Unsplash: This is one of my favorite free stock image sites. If you want your pins to get noticed, you want to use truly breathtaking images. Fortunately, this one is absolutely free. (I also love Pixabay, Stockvault, and Pexels, fyi.)
Your friendly neighborhood nerd,
Liz Bayardelle, PhD
Liz is the mom of three human(ish) kids, three furkids, three businesses, and eight blogs. She also has a PhD in Business Psychology, several published books on parenting psychology, and a serious Chick-fil-a addiction. Hobbies include color coding anything that will hold still, reading textbooks for fun, swearing at her herd of dustbunnies, and nodding off mid-sentence at the dinner table.