Can I just tell you how much I love Pinterest for boosting my blog traffic? That might be an understatement because I’m not sure how to put my love into words. When you hear crazy success stories from bloggers about how Pinterest has changed their lives, believe them. Because it’s currently changing my life as we speak.
This post is going to outline how Pinterest helped my blog dramatically grow in 3 months time + how I made this happen by analyzing the mistakes I made (there were many) and what I did to fix them. I don’t know about you, but I’m the kind of girl that just needs to take action in order to learn, even if that means hitting a few bumps along the way.
Keep reading to learn how Pinterest exploded my blog and keeps it growing every day!
This post contains affiliate links, which means if you make a purchase by clicking on one of my links, I will receive a small commission, at no additional cost to you, that will help me continue to bring you valuable content. Thanks for supporting In Search of Sheila! 🙂
At the end of every month, I like to sit down and review my blog stats to see what strategies worked for me and what could use some improvement in the upcoming month. I am still shocked to see my page views continue to rapidly grow. But it’s not just all about the page views. I’ve also been able to grow my audience + social media following, my email list, and even started making legit money from my blog. In just 3 months after rebranding!!
Warning: I know you guys love all my juicy analytic reports, so there will be LOTS of em in this post.
Let’s look at my Pinterest account first!
I’ve grown my following to over 1,900 and over 436,000 monthly views. WHOA! But don’t be alarmed–this didn’t happen overnight. If I can give you some opening advice–it’s to be PATIENT.
I started tracking my blog stats in a journal way back in February when I started my email list. The first entry I can find that says how many Pinterest followers I had was February 21, 2017: “up to 68 Pinterest followers.”
Wow, guys. 68! I remember being stuck around this number FOREVER!
Here are more entries that followed…
May 3: “Pinterest is also growing–up to around 340!”
May 30: 1,197 (this explosion in followers is because a fitness pin went viral–which I ended up making secret because I was getting all the wrong followers, haha!)
June 3: 1,352
June 30: 1,594
July 16: 1,676
August 1: 1,737
…you get it. My point is: growth takes time.
On the note of followers, can I bust a myth for you? You don’t need a crap ton of followers on Pinterest to be successful.
Now let’s look at traffic to my blog
Page view stats from May-August 2017:
- May 2017: 3,552 (pre-rebrand)
- June 2017: 10,761 (rebranded June 7)
- July 2017: 22,908
- August 2017: 38,163
Before I rebranded I was averaging around 3,500 page views a month. I relaunched my blog on June 7 and have been growing like wildfire ever since. If you know my blogging backstory, then you know I’ve been blogging for about 4 years now…3 and half of those years struggling.
Realizing I needed a blog with a solid purpose beyond just “showing” or “inspiring” gave me the confidence + clarity to go full throttle with my growth strategies because I knew I had a message I wanted others to hear.
Audience + Email List + Trust
Like I said: it’s not about the page views. I relaunched In Search of Sheila on a mission to build a community, not just a following. With this intention, I was able to grow my audience through my email list, Facebook group, Instagram, and Twitter.
If you want to grow your audience via an email list, it’s important to blog with the intention of creating valuable content that fulfills your mission and HELPS your target readers. This will allow you to compel people to subscribe to your email list + also compel them to stick around for more.
My email list has certainly been on a journey. August was a huge month for it because I hosted a free workshop. If you wanted to attend you had to sign up + get on my list!
I’m on track for my goal of 1,000 subscribers by the end of 2017 and it’s only September, say what!! A lot of these subscribers arrive at my blog every day via Pinterest. On top of my workshop, this is my top performing opt-in freebie that was responsible for a lot of the sign ups in August as well.
Here is a screen shot of my Pinterest analytics from the past 30 days. You can see that my most clicked pin (this means that users click-through to go directly to my blog) sends them to this blog post where they can also get my top freebie. But also notice that I have other pins that go to the same exact blog post too.
*Pro-Tip: make multiple pins for the same blog post!
Now, let’s look at exactly how much growth came from Pinterest by looking at the number of blog sessions
A session is a period of time someone is visiting your blog. If Sally visits my blog 3 times in one week, that counts as 3 sessions for the period of a week. They are different from page views because page views can count for how many different pages you view on my blog at any given time. So if Sally goes to my blog on the first day and looks at my new blog post, a related post, and my about me, that counts as 3 page views, while that would only be 1 session for that day.
For June I generated 751 sessions which was pretty darn good since I relaunched a week in. By the end of August, I grew that number to 4,993. Crazy right? (ALSO LOOK AT THOSE TWITTER STATS–SHOUTOUT TO MY TWITTER SQUAD!)
OH…I MONETIZED MY BLOG TOO!
So I covered blog traffic, my audience, and email list. That leaves one more thing…my bank account! Since rebranding, I definitely wanted to turn my blog into a business eventually which in my mind meant maybe by the end of the year or early 2018 (my 2017 goal at the time was 10,000 monthly page views!)
But little did I expect to actually start monetizing my blog by August…a lot of that I correlate with Pinterest since it helped me:
- drive traffic
- grow my audience + email list +trust
In just 3 months I was able to generate over $100 in affiliate sales from SiteGround through two readers that purchased their hosting plans with my link. Now, I can’t say for sure that these purchases were made specifically because of Pinterest, but my stats help me feel a little more clear on where they could have possibly come from.
BTW, if you’re looking to go self-hosted, you should check out SiteGround! Not only are they a reliable hosting site for your blog, but they have amazing 24/7 tech support + I haven’t had any problems since rebranding. Plus you can become an affiliate and make awesome (and EASY) passive income!
Don’t know what “going self-hosted is”?! It’s when you have complete control over your blog–you own it and it can be shut down by anyone other than YOU. It’s kinda like you’re renting a safe home for your blog at a low fee every month. If you love your blog and want the best of it–you want to give it a luxurious place to call home!
If you use WordPress and want to monetize your blog, have customization freedom, access to Google Analytics, and just take your blog to the biz level, GO SELF-HOSTED!
Okay, so now that I shared my growth, let’s look out what I did WRONG
First of all, I started working on my Pinterest game back in February, when I was still a fashion & lifestyle blogger. This was the beginning of my journey about learning to blog with a business mindset, so I was learning sooo many things.
I ended up getting a free Pinterest audit via a video call from Kleneice of Humble and Whole that really got the gears turning. I still had slow growth from that point until June because I didn’t have a solid foundation build for my blog, which is ESSENTIAL to growth. You can learn how to build a foundation for your blog by watching my workshop.
My 10 Pinterest Mistakes + How I Fixed Them
1. Didn’t design “pin-worthy” pins
When it comes to getting noticed on Pinterest and driving traffic to your blog…you need eye-catching pins that stand out to your target reader. Here are traits of a “pin-worthy” pin:
- long + vertical
- have an interesting or bold image/graphic/color
- have text overlay that explains the blog post
- have a click-worthy title
- have a SEO-optimized description
I was pinning literally just my photos as is and expecting to grab’s people attention that way…Nah girl, we can’t just look at an image and know what your post is about!! So that was the first thing I needed to work on.
And look at one of the first actual “pin-worthy” pins I made…it’s so off-brand of In Search of Sheila I have to laugh…but hey I was getting somewhere!
BTW you can read this blog post here!
2. Only pinned my own images
I’m sure we all started out on Pinterest as if it was our own bulletin board–I mean that’s what it essentially IS. But many people don’t realize just how awesome it is to grow your blog if you use it strategically.
You can’t just pin your own image and expect to get anywhere. You need to be pinning other people’s pins too. Why? Because this is going to help you rank higher in the Pinterest algorithm. Yes, it has an algorithm.
You want to post other people’s content because it will increase your chances of it:
- getting seen by other users
- getting re-pinned which will tell Pinterest your account is valuable, therefore they will reward you 🙂
3. Only pinned on days I posted a blog post (if that)
In retrospect now that I’ve learned so much about Pinterest, it’s a no-brainer I wasn’t getting any traffic to my blog from it–I WAS BARELY POSTING MY OWN CONTENT TO IT!
I would only pin my images on the days I had a new blog post, but sometimes I would forget because Pinterest used to be one my least favorite platforms to promote my blog. That’s a really good way to NOT get your pins noticed…you need to post FREQUENTLY. Like every day, throughout the day.
I’m going to go deeper into the “best times to post” later in this series but for now, just make it a priority to pin at least 30 times a day.
4. My boards were a hot mess
I have a boat load of interests, so you can imagine of much of a smorgasbord my Pinterest looked like. I’m talking fashion, beauty, “lifestyle,” coffee, reading, personal development, self-care, travel, “fall vibes”… you get it.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with having a bunch of different topics for your boards…if you’re a blogger with a strong focus who knows her target audience. I did NOT know who my blog was reaching, therefore my Pinterest suffered. I was posting too many things that only interested me that no one cared about, so that meant none of my stuff was getting shared.
You need to pin content that interests YOUR READERS, not you! Save your personal inspo boards for a personal account or make a secret board that only you can see!
Some of my old boards that are now secret because I rebranded! The Fitspo board was home to my one and only *viral pin* that wasn’t even related to my blog, haha!
5. Didn’t have my own blog board
Thanks to my Pinterest audit I realized that I need to create a “home base” for my blog on my Pinterest. This is a perfect way to give Pinterest users a look inside your blog without actually going to it. Once you can hook them in with your pins + they want more…yep they’re going to go straight to the source.
*Pro-Tip: You want to make sure your blog board is the very first board on your profile! This tells users, hey this is my blog + this is important.
6. Didn’t have rich pins set up
Rich pins have a bold title of your blog post underneath the image, which makes them pop out more to readers.
I had no idea this was a thing and how much it would help to catch the attention of readers. Plus they overall make your pins look more professional + legit!
Examples of how rich pins show up in your feed…they have a bold title!
7. Didn’t encourage people to share my images
Listen. You have a great opportunity to get your own readers sharing your content…right after they read it! This is a called a *call to action.* I used to assume people would pin my stuff if they wanted to…but to be honest, most people aren’t even thinking about Pinterest when they come to your blog–they’re thinking about your blog post!
At the end of your post ask your readers to share your post on Pinterest to help others or to even help YOU out! Your readers want what’s best for you, so they will listen!
8. Didn’t post in group boards
I joined my first group boards back in February, but they were all fashion ones. That was a fun time. Also didn’t really get me anywhere…mostly because my images weren’t pin-worthy or had good descriptions!
I think that one of the biggest steps you need to prioritize is to join group boards. If you overlook all these other things…just do this one thing. Why?
Because when you post your content to a group board you’re increasing the chances of more virtual eyes seeing your pin. Which means more chances for it to get re-pinned, clicked on, a follow, and the opportunity to get a new reader
9. My profile was NOT optimized
An optimized profile should have a few things…things mine did not have.
- branded headshot
- bio that tells people who you + and your blog are and why it will help them
- key words related to your blog
I’m going to get more in-depth with what exactly needs to go into a profile that turns viewers into followers, gets your stuff shared and gets more clicks to your website.
10. NO SEO
One thing you need to understand about Pinterest is that it’s a VISUAL SEARCH ENGINE. It acts just like Google…except it’s a lot more concentrated so you have more chances of actually getting found by people searching for certain things!
WHICH MEANS you need to use keywords related to your niche/focus/target reader in:
- your bio
- your name
- your pin descriptions
- your board descriptions
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