It’s no secret that I LOVE using Pinterest to drive traffic to my blog. If you aren’t using Pinterest as part of your online marketing strategy, you are seriously missing out. If you already do count on Pinterest traffic for your blog, there are right ways and wrong ways to do so. There are many Pinterest mistakes bloggers make all the time. These mistakes can cost you major traffic.
Today I’d like to examine some of the most common Pinterest mistakes I see beginner bloggers make.
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When thinking about Pinterest mistakes, some instantly wonder if they’re making mistakes big enough to get their Pinterest account flagged for spam or banned completely! Let’s look at some common pinning mistakes that can impact the success of your account and how to avoid them to keep Pinterest happy with you.
Pinterest Mistake #1
Not Using Keywords
I can’t exaggerate this enough. You NEED to use keywords. Pinterest is a search engine (with a visual aspect to it). We have to use keywords so the Pinterest algorithm can find us/our pins/our content when users execute a search.
Where to use keywords?
• Profile name/bio
• Pin descriptions
• Board names
• Board descriptions
Start with your profile. Be sure to include some keywords in your name so it’s obvious what your account is about. You want Pinterest and it’s users to know right away what your niche is.
You also get a few lines of text to write a short bio. Try to include what you do/what your area of expertise is. Include keywords here to help Pinterest find you.
Pin Descriptions and Titles
Next, make sure you fill out ALL your pin descriptions and titles. Pinterest needs those perfectly keyworded pin descriptions to determine what your pin is about and to help you get found by readers searching for a solution to their problem.
Include keywords and hashtags others may be searching for. Or, if you want to take it to the next level, check out the Tasty Pins Plugin to optimize your descriptions directly within your blog posts. This can help with your blog’s SEO as well as your Pinterest reach. Learn more about Tasty Pins here.
Board Names and Descriptions
Another important place for keywords is your board names and descriptions. You need to make it absolutely clear to Pinterest what your board is about. The board and the pins that live there will have a far greater chance of getting found in searches if it’s obvious what they’re about.
Avoid using cute, slang words and short-form words in your board title. Again, make it super obvious what the board is about. See example below: Instead of simply naming the board “Pinterest”, I’ve called it “Pinterest Tips for Bloggers”. I avoided trying to make it sound cute (“Pintastic” or “Pin Fun”, for example) and just made it very clear what the board is and who the board is for.
Treat the board description like a pin. Fill it out with as much detail as possible so there’s no question what type of pins will be found there.
Pinterest Mistake #2
Using Square Pins
I know this is a no brainer for a lot of you. BUT I still see this big Pinterest mistake All. The. Time.
So, for anyone still using square or horizontal pins…it’s vertical pins with a 2:3 ratio or nothing! Not only does Pinterest favours vertical pins, but they’re also more eye-catching to potential readers who are scrolling through Pinterest for inspiration.
A square or horizontal pin will easily get lost in a sea of long, vertical pins. They also allow far less room for highly readable text and engaging photos or graphics. The smaller your pin, the smaller your canvas. This often means your pin titles will be smaller and harder to read. You’ll also make your blog post less shareable.
So, create vertical pins only. A good pin size is 600 x 900 pixels. If you use Canva to create your pins, you can also use their Pinterest Pin template of 735 x 1102 pixels. Both sizes are Pinterest friendly and can be quite effective.
Next, be sure to include one of those new, vertical pin images into your blog post. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wanted to pin something from a post only to find no vertical image. So I leave the site without pinning anything at all.
Pinterest Mistake #3
Using free stock photo websites for Pinterest pins
There are plenty of blog posts out there promoting free stock photos for bloggers. Pixabay, Pexels, Unsplash, to name a few. And as a beginner, I totally fell for this. I used them all. And I thought I was choosing great photos for my pin design.
But as time went on, I began to notice I was seeing the same images I had chosen were also being used on a LOT of other pins. Suddenly my pin designs were feeling stale and amateurish.
Pinterest prefers original photos. You can take your own photos, even if they aren’t amazing. In fact, there is more and more evidence to show that Pinterest puts more pins into the Smartfeed with original photos than the overused, free stock photos.
Read more about how these free stock photo sites can hurt your Pinterest reach and blog traffic here: Why I Stopped Using Free Stock Photo Websites
If you aren’t comfortable taking your own photos, I highly suggest you use paid stock photo sites. They really are one of those wise blogging purchases you won’t regret. You’ll get far better reach and engagement with beautiful, professional, not overly used images. And the price per photo isn’t drastic.
Pinterest Mistake #4
Unattractive Pin Design
Having high-quality, attractive pins is more important than you may think. Your pin will be plunked in the middle of people’s home feeds among an endless supply of others. If your pin doesn’t stand out and catch their attention, it will get lost almost instantly. And lost with it will be the opportunity to get traffic to your blog.
Always remember that your pin needs to “Stop the Scroll”. It needs to stand out from the crowd in order to make the average Pinterest user stop scrolling and click that pin.
If you need some inspiration, scroll through your own home feed and take note of the pins that catch your eye. Study them and note exactly what elements attracted you to them. A cool way to do this is to actually squint as you scroll. Only the best pins will stand out to you that way.
P.S. Try my Free Pinterest Pin Design Templates HERE.
Pinterest Mistake #5
Not Making Enough New Pins
Pinterest is always trying to provide new and exciting info to its users. Emphasis on the word “NEW”. The algorithm loves new. Preferably new content. But it’s hard to churn out new blog posts constantly.
It’s far easier to give Pinterest new pins. They don’t want to keep showing the average Pinterest user the same pins over and over again. People would get bored and stop using the platform.
So if you don’t have time to create new content, make some new pins for your older posts. This way Pinterest will circulate those new pins and you’ll potentially bring new traffic to those old blog posts.
Great pin design is not everyone’s jam. And that’s okay! We all have our strong suits. If designing pins is really not your thing, don’t stress. You can always purchase some professional, predesigned pin templates.
I use these professional Pinterest templates and they are a real time saver when I’m feeling uninspired. Here’s an example below of what you get (along with a private Facebook group and coaching calls).
IF pin templates aren’t within your budget, my advice would be to just keep churning out new pins.
They don’t have to be drastically different every time. Change or tweak your photo, change fonts or pick new font colours. That’s really all it takes to make Pinterest think it’s a new pin.
To get a better idea of what constitutes a NEW pin, read this post where I go into greater detail and provide visual examples: Save Time With Pinterest Pin Templates.
Pinterest Mistake #6
Not Using Hashtags
Hashtags work much like keywords do. Using hashtags helps Pinterest have a clear idea of what your boards and pins are about.
Have a look at this pin description below. I’ve included a few relevant hashtags. As soon as I published this pin, those hashtags turned blue and are now clickable! If I click on one of these hashtags I’m taken to a feed with other pins with the same hashtags. This tells us that Pinterest is using hashtags to categorize pins and get a better idea of what they’re about.
*Update* – Sigh…as always, the Pinterest algorithm has changed again since I wrote this post. Hashtags are still clickable. But I’m not sure they’re helping our descriptions the way they once were. They aren’t hurting anything though.
This one might be worth experimenting with. I’m seeing some bloggers say hashtags are still working well for their strategy. Others feel they are having better luck adding another sentence with great keywords instead of hashtags.
Currently, I’m doing a little bit of both but it’s too early to say what’s working better.
Pinterest Mistake #7
Pinning Without a Strategy
If you’re just pinning with no strategy you likely won’t see fantastic results. To get the most out of Pinterest it’s important you have a plan.
You have to truly understand how the Pinterest algorithm works. There is a LOT to it and it never stops changing. For example, if you pin the same URL too many times to the same board, you could get flagged for spam and end up with a suspended account. If you pin the same image too many times your reach and engagement will plummet. Complicated, right?
There are some great, proven pinning strategies out there. Take time to learn what’s working right NOW on Pinterest and invest in some education for yourself.
A few great Pinterest course options:
Pinterest From P to T – by Marina at Blogging For New Bloggers
Pinfinite Traffic Bootcamp – by Jen at Digital SheEO (Use Coupon Code BIZHELP10 for $10 off)
Pinteresting Strategies – by Carly at Mommy On Purpose (Use Coupon Code PINNING5 for $5 off)
My personal favourite is Pinteresting Strategies (read my full review HERE). I owe my full understanding of the Pinterest algorithm to this course. Now, over 80% of my blog traffic comes from Pinterest! I love that the course is continually updated as the platform changes (since it changes constantly)!
So, are you guilty of making these Pinterest mistakes? Don’t sweat it! They are easy to correct.
It’s also important to remember that Pinterest is not a one size fits all platform. What works for one user might not work for another. There are always exceptions to every rule. If you’ve got a square pin that brings you loads of traffic, that’s awesome! Keep doing what’s working for YOU.
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