A bloggers guide to Pinterest

detail of embroidered hair
Gracies Garden Bazaar - Detail of Embroidered Hair

Are you pinning or being pinned yet? If that sounds painful then you need to read this post - think healing and restorative acupuncture rather than torture!

 At the end of this post are some top tips for using Pinterest to build up traffic to your craft blog AND an invitation to become a part of a huge community board I want to create called Craft Life. If you are already using Pinterest and loving it, but just want to know how it can be used to build traffic to your blog posts, then skip over the introduction and head straight to the juicy pinterest tips!

New to Pinterest?

If you haven't yet fallen down the Pinterest rabbit hole then it's time to tackle this social network - you don't want to be one of the last ones to get on board do you?  Pun intended!

Pinterest is like an online manifestation of the traditional pile of coffee table books we like to have on display in our homes. They are books that look gorgeous inside and out, filled with amazing images, projects we are working on, or would be if we had the time, or the skills, destinations we are planning to visit...  Books and magazines that make us and our friends go ooooh and spark up a conversation and give us aspirations to work towards.  Or maybe it's just stuff we love!

pinning 101

Work your way through the Pinning 101 contents on their help page, they explain how to use the site very clearly. Then come back here and find out how to use Pinterest to build blog traffic (be sure to come back - it's pretty addictive!)

butterfly rainbow handmade

Why do you need Pinterest? 

You have twitter, you're getting along nicely on Facebook (having read all the Facebook tips on Craft Blog UK of course ;)

So is Pinterest worth your attention too?

pin pin pin pinterest

Images are more compelling than words 

I joined Pinterest back in 2010 when I was working with the team at Folksy - I love Flickr and Tumblr and this seemed like a beautiful marriage of the two.  I remember writing up a post introducing the site to the Folksy community, Ben Silbermann, the founder of Pinterest was really hands on at that point, personally responding to emails and keen to get involved with the UK creative community.  He was kind enough to create an invite code for the Folksy blog readers - The Folksy community (hello!) of course loved it and embraced the opportunity of promoting each others shops and boosting referral traffic for Folksy en masse.

Bookmarking Resources

Pinterest allows us to bookmark and share images and websites onto 'boards' - just like having a series of pinboards full of memos and magazine clippings.  Our Pinterest boards not only project our tastes and passions but can also be a useful way of filing great resources we have found to read later - just like a traditional bookmarking site like stumble upon, digg or delicious.  This is great news for bloggers wanting to promote their pillar posts.

Pinterest (as I'm sure you have heard) has now blossomed into an 11 million user website and according to Mashable it’s been showing up Twitter and Facebook in terms of referral traffic. Quite frankly, they just aren’t as beautiful as Pinterest and that’s why it’s getting people pinning and clicking away.  Did I say people...  I meant women, and for craft bloggers they are our audience (no denying that! sorry chaps)

Also it's piggybacking on twitter and Facebook as all Pins are instantly shareable to your existing networks - drawing more people to the site every day - creating a real buzzzzzzzz ;)

Bees Original Linocut Print

How to use Pinterest to get more people to read your craft blog

Creating boards and pinning lots of interesting stuff is a brilliant way to help with brand identity.  You can give off a wonderful brand image and spend ages preening your boards to perfection...    but the real traffic you can draw from Pinterest comes not from your activity on Pinterest (particularly if you are new to it) but the activity of your blog readers when they share images from your blog.

Find out if you have already been pinned


Replace my address 'ukcraftblog.com' with yours and see whether or not people are already pinning your images.

Add a 'Pin It' Button beside your images

pin it button for blogs

Make it easy for people to pin your images by adding the 'pin it' button beside any images you want to encourage pinning of.  This has made a huge difference to my posts and it's worth the extra effort.

 Even if your blog readers have added the easy share pinterest bookmarklet to their tool bars, this reminds them to pin (like a call to action) and importantly it enables you to add your own text suggestion (more on what to put in the description box next)

You need to add a little code to your blogs template, you do this just once.  Then a little code next to each image when in the 'html' view of your post.

The code creator is available on Pinterest at the foot of the 'goodies' section - it's FREE.  If I get a few comments asking for it I'll create a super simple tutorial for using it and the steps you need to go through to add it.

pinning an image

Pin Descriptions and Using Keywords

You have to add a description to every pin as it's not allowed to leave this part blank.  When adding suggested descriptions to your pin it buttons or on your own pins, don't make the cardinal sin of adding a full stop to save time.

Use relevant keywords and hash tags, but don't write too much - anything longer than a tweet is too much.  Hash tags become hyper links to a search of the word tagged - just like with twitter.  

Looking at the above, it's probably over hash tagged - but hopefully you get the idea. One hashtag per pin should be plenty - I wanted to give pinners an idea of what sort of boards it would suit, and hash tags also work well when you share to twitter.

It can be a real time saver when promoting your blog as you only need to write the update once and then auto share to twitter.

Keywords will enable users to find your boards and pins from internal and external searches - as with all content think hard about the sort of search terms people will be using to find info on the web.  If you are uploading images, ensure they are named files again with highly relevant keywords rather than numbers.

Does Pinterest help with SEO then?

pinterest no follow code

Not in terms of creating back links - As with Flickr, the site uses the 'no follow' attribute to external links in order to avoid spammers having a link fest (urggh!). The no follow attribute tells google not to see the link as a recommendation and not to pass on any kudos / votes.   (if this is all geek speak to you read up about SEO in my 'how to get on page one of Google' post) 

My advice would be to concentrate on optimising your sites images to encourage pinning and referral traffic and ensuring the descriptions you add to pins and boards contain your relevant keyword phrases. This will boost traffic to the pins themselves and ultimately sharing on other formats which will be beneficial to your sites search ranking for particular keywords.

Top quality images - VITAL

You need to optimise you blog post images for Pinterest users - it's easy to do, you just have to add great images, they need to be in sharp focus and be really bright.  I have a huge list of photography tips here on the Craft Blog UK Gallery pages which will help you get your photography up to scratch.

Having quality, beautiful images to go alongside your content could find your posts being picked up and shared on Pinterest by it’s army of social media loving users. That could potentially see your post spread across facebook and twitter too - so it’s worth spending time choosing the right images to accompany your text.

Take care if you are using images that belong to others - from Flickr for example, I always credit images I use from other sites immediately beneath and make them 'clickable' to the image source.

DIY Lace Cement Votive - Say yes to Hoboken

Add some click me, click me, click me, text

When you add text it should be enough to make people realise that if they click they are getting something like a tutorial or a collection or some top tips.  As with the above image, just the word DIY is enough to pique my interest in these votives  - "What I can make these MYSELF" I would have probably repinned and not clicked had it not been for the very subtle but clear text.

Remember that Pinterest users love beautiful things, ensure the picture is lovely enough to carry the text and that you choose your fonts and font sizes carefully to fit neatly to your brand image.  Try using the same treatment to your leading images with every post - people will begin to recognise your unique style. (aka brand identity!)  When they are presented with the choice of which image to pin they will naturally be drawn to the image with text as it also saves them time describing the pin.

There's a fabulous Infographic full of tips to make your images Pinteresting and Pinnable - click here to read the entire graphic Pinterest Image Optimisation!

pio pin image optimisation infographic

Using pinterest as an 'and there's more'

This is something I'm really getting on board with (pun intended again he he ;)

Write a post for your blog and link it to a Pinterest board.  In a way this is like sharing your research or 'workings out' if you like.  It works because it connects your board to your blog and also your blog to your board and credits all the sources you may have used to write up the post, so you are building a board that is optimised for search, that includes your perfect post! This means 2 way traffic, increasing followers to both your Pinterest board and your blog.  You need to ensure you pin your blog post images throughout the board and also you could mention it in the description of the board.

Getting involved with Community / Group Boards

Group boards have much more potential reach than individual boards. I couldn't find anwhere where group boards are listed to search through - so it's a case of when you see one you want to be a part of - take action!  Or get together with your existing networks and start your own niche board.  It may help boost your follower numbers.

If you find a group board get in touch with the owner of the board, most people have a web / facebook / twitter link on their profiles

Just as an example I noticed my friend Janet has a lovely Casual Cottage Style board with 4 or 5 contributers.  I could ask her directly through Pinterest, something like this using an @ mention tag (just like on facebook and twitter) in order to ensure she sees the comment.  I wouldn't be offended if someone says no however because boards can be very precious things and it may belong to a particularly niche professional group, or a group of pals.  You won't know if you don't ask (politely) if they need more pinners to join them.

@ tags on pinterest

Running Competitions and Giveaways Using Pinterest

There is a great deal of scope to using Pinterest to create competitions - but if the prize is right, you could bring a great deal of traffic to your site.  You can ask people

  • to repin  a pin you have created to enter
  • to comment on a pin to enter
  • to pin something off your website or blog and add a hash tag
  • to create a board on a certain theme to be judged
  • to create a wishlist within a certain budget

... loads of ideas, but when you are thinking up your competition remember.
  • It needs to be fairly straightforward to enter - the prize has to be worth the time it takes.
  • You need to be able to track entries, repinning, hash tags or naming a board for example
  • You need to make sure that the entry requirements lead to increased traffic or sharing of one of your products / or lead to more followers of your Pinterest boards.  
  • Be very clear about the goal of the competition to help you decide what approach to take.
Take a look at this awesome Pinner who has so usefully collected up lots of competitions that people have hosted on Pinterest into one place - Pinterest Competitions Board.

Measuring your Success

Pinterest is addictive - so it's easy to forget the time you are spending on there and just go mad building up beautiful boards. (trust me, I have to ration my time on there!)

measuring pinterest reach

Measure your 'Pin Reach' using - http://www.pinreach.com
Look at your blog anaytics and check how mush traffic you have generated through Pinterest, compare this with how often your images have been pinned using the 'source' method as shown above.  This will give you insight into your images 'clickability' - it may be you need to tweak / improve them.

Pinterest Tips Board

I've put together a board full of all the latest Pinterest tips and news - so now you have read this one, you can head over and find out even more from all the social media experts as well as craft bloggers who are loving Pinterest and want to share their tips for success. I'll keep adding to it as I find new and more up to date Pinterest tips and tools.  Please let me know if you have a post to add to the Pinterest tips board I have created :)

Your Invite to Join the Craft Life Board

I am opening up one of my new boards called Craft Life - it already has 700 followers but only 9 pins, so it needs some help making it all beautiful and full of crafts and craft bloggers and lovely crafty stuff to make an amazing board that lots of people will want to follow and also pin to - great for promotion of your latest craft blog posts!

 Just leave me a comment with your Pinterest link below and a little bit about your 'pinning style' and I'll add you as a contributer (as long as you look like a genuine crafty type no spamsters allowed!) You are welcome of course to pin your latest blog posts to the board once you are added. I have to follow one of your boards at least to add you, so it's one more follower for you  too :)

Happy Pinning and Blogging :) x

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