This content may contain affiliate links. If you purchase through these links I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you. However, I only recommend products or services that I genuinely like and trust.
If you’ve read any blog posts about traffic these days, you know Pinterest can be a HUGE traffic source for your online business. But you have to have a strategy in place to create a high-performing Pinterest profile. For example, only pinning your own content won’t do it for you. Randomly repinning other people’s content won’t do it either. I know, because I went through both of those stages 🙂
The key is not to see Pinterest as a social media channel but as a search engine. Because people actually use it as a search engine. I don’t know anyone who goes on Pinterest to look up the new pins of a blog they’re interested in. Instead, they dig through Pinterest to find interior inspiration, new recipes, interesting articles they could learn from… They open Pinterest, type in a keyword and start looking for something.
If that’s the way people are using Pinterest, the one goal you need to have for each pin is to make it appear in search results for a keyword that relates to your pin. So do some SEO, basically. Make sense? Now how do you create a profile & pins that will show up in those searches? That’s not an easy answer. There’s a reason people are creating courses, ebooks, guides… all about Pinterest alone.
The very first thing you need to worry about is to set up the basics right. Yes, there’s a right way to set up your Pinterest profile and optimize your website. You can design your profile in such a way that whatever you do after, you’ll get better results. I’ll show you. But first, you have created a Pinterest account. We’ll go from there.
1. CREATE A BUSINESS ACCOUNT
This is simply converting your personal account to a business account. No need to create anything new. The reason you do that is to get access to Pinterest analytics (very important to assess your strategy!) and ads manager (if you ever want start creating promoted pins). Click on the image below (credit: Pinterest.com) to find out how.
When you convert to a business account, you will have to verify your website. This means putting an HTML code on your website so that Pinterest can see that it’s actually yours. If you have a WordPress website you can do this by downloading a plugin called “Head Meta Data” that allows you to insert code in your <head> element on your site. If you use hosted platforms like Squarespace, Weebly, Wix… they will have a specific place where you can put these codes. You can quickly find tutorials on the internet to do this, depending on your platform.
2. APPLY FOR RICH PINS
Pinterest has two different kinds of pins: normal pins and rich pins. As the name states, rich pins have more information. Pins that include more information, will have a higher probability of ranking higher in search results. Read this quick & easy tutorial to get rich pins.
Here’s an example of a normal pin versus a rich pin. You can see that the rich pin has a title, a description, the publish date and the author. A lot more info containing keywords!
3. YOUR NAME, BIO & PHOTO
Name & Photo
Let’s start off with the easy part. Your photo. A quick rule to determine if you should put a logo or a photo is: if you’re a personal brand, (meaning your brand would lose its value if you weren’t running it anymore) then take a photo of yourself. A professional one! Not you and your dog for instance. A clear and professional photo of your face would be great. If you’re not a personal brand, go with the logo of your company.
Your name should include keywords. I know it sounds strange, but the keywords in your name actually count when it comes to search results, and it doesn’t hurt the Pinterest user either. It’s actually pretty handy to know immediately what the profile is all about.
The description should show people who you are, what you do and who you target. Not sure what to write? Check out my blog post about pitching yourself as a blogger. And it’s always useful to add a call-to-action, like enticing them with a freebie for instance so they subscribe to your email list.
As an example, this is my name & photo on my Pinterest profile:
And this is the description of my Pinterest profile:
Belgium / Online Entrepreneur / Helping bloggers go pro & build successful online businesses! FREE: 7 Tweaks to make your Blog look Professional: http://bit.ly/2zgguhn
4. YOUR BOARDS
Number of boards
If you want to start pinning, you need boards to store your pins in your Pinterest profile. I would recommend starting off with 5-15 boards related to your brand. You don’t want a Pinterest profile that looks empty.
The general rule pinners follow is to have the first board with only your content, and continue with boards that are about topics related to your brand, in which you include your own pins next to pins from other people’s content. These will mostly be repins, pins you “repinned” from another profile.
Over time, you can create more boards. It takes time to fill up a board, so start with an amount you can process first. Again you want your boards to be filled with pins, so they don’t look empty. I’d say have at least 30 pins on each board to start with.
Of course, boards also have descriptions. You can fill these up with keywords, and you don’t need a pretty text in there. Here’s an example of one of my boards about starting a blog:
A collection of tips on how to start a blog > start a blog for free – start a blog for money – start a blog for beginners – blogging for beginners – starting a blog – starting a blog WordPress – starting a blog checklist – start a blog WordPress – new blogger tips – new blogger – niche ideas – find your niche
You can find these keywords intuitively because you know what your topic is about, but you can also type something in the search bar on Pinterest to see what comes up. The coloured squares have keywords that would follow your keyword, so in this example that would be “start a blog to make money”, “start a blog WordPress”…
Finally, don’t forget to add board covers. These are images (pins actually) that show what the board is all about. That way you have a clean overview of boards in your profile and people have a great first impression of your brand, so they will not be confused in any way. You have to pin the cover to your board as a normal pin, and then in the settings of your board, you can assign that pin as the cover.
Here you can see a couple of my boards with the corresponding covers:
What about the pins on the boards? They can be optimized too. You need to have both your own pins as well as other people’s pins. Make sure to create long pins, they perform better on Pinterest than shorter images. There is no one perfect design, but the title needs to be clear & catchy and it needs to look beautiful. Because no one wants to repin ugly pins! 🙂
You can pin your own content by pinning it directly from your website, that way it grabs the metadata so you have more information available on your pins. Repinning other pins is possible from within Pinterest, or with a scheduling tool such as Tailwind or Boardbooster.
There’s a lot more to pin designs, but I’ll break that down in another post. Here’s an article you can start with for now. Try to experiment a little and see what kind of designs you are able to create that appeal to you. You can use Canva or Picmonkey to create those designs.
You’ll probably change the basic design a little in the beginning because you need to discover your personal perfect design. Better to experiment now, and then stick with one final design! It is important to be consistent with all your pins towards the future, so people are able to recognize your brand when they see your pins.
Don’t forget to add keywords and hashtags to your pin description before you pin your content. I already explained the importance of keywords, they’re literally everywhere: in your name, your bio, your board descriptions and even your pin descriptions.
Hashtags, on the other hand, are new to Pinterest and currently only picked up in pins themselves. They will get more popular over time so make sure to add them to the description now already. You’ll enter a zone of low competition (for now), so take advantage of it!
Other People’s Pins
You shouldn’t add keywords & hashtags only to your own pins. There’s a reason why you should put keywords & hashtags in repins as well. If all your pins rank higher, your Pinterest profile will have more authority, which in turn will give your own pins a boost. So don’t forget to add them to your repins as well, if there are none yet.
We talked all about your Pinterest profile, but we haven’t discussed your website yet! For every blog post you create, you should create at least one pin and include it in the blog post.
Then there is one more thing you should focus on your website. You want to make it EASY for people to PIN!
You need sharing buttons that allow people to pin your image right from your site. Social Warfare is a great plugin to use (you can see it with this post, the buttons on top) with free & pro plan that has clear and beautiful share buttons.
Next to sharing buttons, it’s best you add a “pin it” button that’s shown on the image itself. Here’s the plugin I use for this.
Setting up your Pinterest profile the right way from the start will save you a lot of headaches in the future. Your profile will serve as a great base so your future efforts will generate even better results!
What’s happening with your Pinterest profile? Have you optimized your profile yet?