5 Mistakes You're Making with Pinterest

Pinterest is my number one source of traffic across all of my websites. Once I started taking consistent and strategic action to grow my brands through Pinterest, my website traffic more than tripled in just one month of getting serious with my business account.

When I speak with clients or readers on social media, they always ask me the same thing: How!?

They usually follow up this question with asking me one or all of the following: Why do I need to use a business account? Can’t I just pin from my personal profile? Is this going to take a lot of extra time? How long will it be until I start seeing the growth I’m after?

Luckily, I have quite a few blog posts already written addressing some of these questions — and I have a top secret project currently in the works that will help you learn more about maximizing Pinterest to grow your brand — but before you dive into those other resources, it’s important to double check your current usage on Pinterest to make sure you’re not making these 5 common mistakes:

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You don’t have a business account

This is the first thing I do for my clients when they hire me as their Pinterest Assistant. Creating a new business account, or converting your personal account, grants you access to a whole new world on Pinterest (and it’s free). Setting up or converting to a business account will not only allow you to create viral-worthy pins that link your audience back to your website, but it will allow you to monitor your Pinterest analytics. You’ll be able to see how your pins are performing and which ones are being saved and how many people are clicking on them to go to their original source (your website). These analytics will give you exclusive access to the behaviors of your current and target audience. Having access to this information may not seem like a huge deal, but if you want to learn how to truly grow your brand on Pinterest it’s important to pay attention to what the data tells you.

A lot of people will ask me if they can just pin images directly from their blog or website to their personal Pinterest, rather than setting up a business account. Of course that’s certainly one way to go about it, but resisting a business account isn’t going to do you much good, plus it literally takes just a few minutes to set up. If you want to learn more about why and how to set up your business account you can take a look at this post here where I get into the details, or you can have me set up your account for you.

You’re pinning images that aren’t relevant to your niche

If you’re a health and wellness blogger, does it make sense for your audience to see your “Dream Wedding” board when they visit your profile? I think the answer is obvious there, yet I see so many clients making this mistake! You have a target audience that you want to attract — whether you want them to read your blog, buy your products, or utilize your services — so you need to create boards and pin images that will bring forth your target audience. If I’m browsing Pinterest and stumble upon a health and wellness profile, I expect to see boards filled with content related to their brand.

If you are going to be converting your personal profile to a business account, you can easily turn some of your off-brand boards into “secret” boards so you don’t lose all the content you’ve pinned over the years. I have plenty of secret boards on my business accounts that I still pin to often, but I don’t want my audience seeing them because they don’t pertain to my niche and will attract the wrong audience. Save the dream wedding and hair color inspo boards for your personal profile or secret boards, and keep your business account specific to your niche.

You’re treating it like social media

Raise your hand if you’ve ever felt personally victimized by the ridiculous algorithms on social media ::raises hand::

I think Instagram and Facebook are secretly run by Regina George (if you don’t get the Mean Girls reference you can ignore that first sentence), because it feels like they’re always working against us. I lost faith in Instagram when they got rid of the chronological feed and made it harder for people to be seen unless you spent countless hours posting, engaging and paying for ads. Don’t get me wrong, social media is still a useful tool, but I’ve seen so much more growth and conversions by utilizing Pinterest, and it all started happening within that first month I got serious with my business account.

A lot of people have what I call social media syndrome when they start working on their Pinterest account — they think that followers are the end all and be all, and have this belief engrained in their minds that if their follower count isn’t going up on Pinterest they aren’t growing. Well my friends, lucky for us, that couldn’t be further from the truth! What matters most on Pinterest is that people are seeing your pins, saving them to their own boards, and clicking on them to land on your website. Those are the numbers that matter. Your audience doesn’t have to be following you to see your content — they just have to see it in a search or on their feed. Sure, it’s nice to see your follower count increase but it’s not a critical measurement of success. Pinterest is not a social media platform: it’s a visual search engine.

This leads me to the next mistake:

You’re not optimizing your board and pin descriptions

Think of Pinterest like Google, but with pictures. When you go to Google you enter certain terms into the search bar and Google pulls up a ridiculous amount of resources that are relevant to your search. Pinterest does the same exact thing but with pretty images. How and why do those images show up in your search? It’s all in the descriptions.

This is another huge reason why you don’t want to just use your personal account to pin images from your website. Those images may very well be pinned without any type of relevant or searchable descriptions, which means your audience could be missing out on finding your content. Every time you upload your own image to Pinterest, you have the opportunity to craft a description that will hopefully show up in your target audience’s search results. This requires a little strategy on your part, so let’s take a look at some examples.

Here’s a somewhat-recent pin I created that has specific, searchable terms (keywords) in the description. I’ve included a few hashtags (no need to go crazy like on IG), but notice some of the words I’m using:

Even looking back at that description there are some things I would change to make it even more searchable, but you get the idea. You want to imagine what your ideal reader, customer, or client would search for when coming to Pinterest (or Google), and try to include some of those keywords in the descriptions of your pins and your boards. This is how your content can end up on the screens of your target audience.

Please, please, please promise me though, you won’t just jam a bunch of keywords into your descriptions. Write out a couple sentences, put some effort into it, then end with just a couple hashtags if you feel so inclined, but don’t just type out random terms or hashtags and throw them in the box.

If you’re stuck on what to say in your description and aren’t sure how to really optimize your pins or boards, think about who your target audience is and what they might be searching for to arrive at your profile. Think about your brand, your content, your products, or services. Once you get used to writing descriptions, you’ll get the hang of it.

You’re not utilizing Tailwind

This last mistake is a BIG one. I’ve talked about Tailwind before and how much I love it for running my Pinterest and Instagram on autopilot. It’s also a huge reason why I was able to triple my website traffic in just one month of consistent and strategic use in conjunction with Pinterest.

If you haven’t seen the post I mentioned above, Tailwind is a Pinterest-approved scheduling tool that allows you to create and schedule pins that will automatically pin to Pinterest at the most optimal times. You can literally schedule out weeks worth of content and save SO much time since you won’t be stuck pinning aimlessly at odd hours. You can even join Tailwind tribes (general or niche-specific groups within the tool), to share your content in order to help get re-shares, drive traffic, and add additional content from other users to your boards. I use Tailwind for all of my clients and it just makes everyone’s lives so much easier.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. I receive a small commission if you sign up or purchase through my link at no additional cost to you. Thank you so much for your support!

You can learn more about Tailwind by checking out this post, or if you’re ready to dive in and see what it’s all about you can sign up for your account and get started using it today.

Final thoughts

If you find that you’re making any (or all) of these mistakes with your Pinterest, don’t stress! They are relatively simple fixes that make a massive difference. If you’re still struggling after making some adjustments, you can check out my Pinterest services here and I’ll be more than happy to help you out! Stay tuned for my special project announcement that will provide you with even MORE Pinterest help!

xxElizabeth

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    My Favorite Communities for Creative Entrepreneurs

    One of my biggest tips for you if you’re starting a blog or a business is to find support. I am a one woman show over here, but I wouldn’t be able to take on all of these responsibilities and challenges without a solid support group. I am lucky to have a family, a handful of friends, and a significant other who support my mission to pursue my passions. As much as they support me though (and as much as I appreciate it), not all of them understand exactly what it’s like to live the lifestyle of an entrepreneur and blogger.

    Read More

    how to start making money as a blogger

    If you’re a new blogger I’m sure you’ve wondered how you can start making money with your blog. It was a question I asked myself often back when I first started blogging many years ago, but I usually got too frustrated to really dive deep into figuring out what I could do to earn some extra income.

    Now with Pinterest and so many other incredible resources out there, it’s a little easier to learn how you can start monetizing your blog. You may not see an immediate return in the beginning, but with consistency and the proper strategies, your hard work will pay off.

    Assuming you are already producing consistent and quality content, you have a few options when it comes to monetizing your blog. I’ll briefly mention some of your options, but I’m going to focus on one specific area for today’s post:

    • Ads — specifically Google Adsense, although there are other banners and images you can incorporate from other companies in addition to Google Adsense

    • Sponsored Posts — brand collaborations in the form of promoting free/discounted products or paid posts

    • Digital Products — think ebooks, courses, webinars, other digital products that readers can purchase and download instantly

    • Affiliate Marketing — this is the area we’ll be focusing on today. Affiliate marketing is a way to earn a commission by posting a special link to a particular product(s). A reader clicks on your link, purchases the item, and you earn a commission based on the sale. It’s a pretty efficient way to start generating some income through your blog.

    Where to Find Affiliate Links

    Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. I receive a small commission if you sign up or purchase through my link at no additional cost to you. Thank you so much for your support!

    There are several affiliate marketing companies you can sign up with even if you’re a new blogger. My personal favorites are:

    ShareASale was the first affiliate marketing company I ever joined, so it made sense for me to return to it when I started this new blog. They have over 4,500 programs you can apply for to start advertising on your blog. It’s super quick and easy to navigate and get started. You can sign up to become an affiliate here.

    Flex Offers came highly recommended from other bloggers, and it was easy to get approved and start using. They currently have over 12,000 different advertisers in their network, ranging from popular, well known companies like Macy’s, Target, Walmart, etc. to small “mom and pop” businesses. You’ll have to apply individually to each advertiser, but the approval process is fairly quick and you’ll be able to start adding your links as soon as you’re approved. You can sign up and apply for Flex Offers here.

    CJ Affiliate (formerly Commission Junction) also offers a wide variety of popular companies to link back to and is another highly blogger-recommended company. Some of their advertisers include Trip Advisor, Forever 21, Walgreens, TJ Maxx, and so many more! Similar to the other affiliate marketing companies, you’ll need to apply and be approved by each individual advertiser you’d like to work with. The approval process doesn’t take long, just know you could be waiting up to two business days at most.

    Amazon has been great for recommending specific products, like the ones you see in my Amazon Favorites tab. I love Amazon for it’s quick approval process and how easy it is to find what you’re looking for. Like many of the other affiliate networks, you can choose how you want to advertise what you’re promoting, through a banner/graphic or solely a text link.

    In addition to these companies, there are plenty of bloggers, creative entrepreneurs, companies and smaller business owners who offer their own affiliate programs. If you’ve previously purchased a product, ebook, course, or a digital download of some sort, check to see if the creator offers an affiliate program. If they do, you can apply and start promoting the products you’ve used and loved.

    How to Start Using Affiliate Links

    There are so many easy ways to start incorporating affiliate links into your posts — even posts that you’ve already published. Any time you mention a specific product or company, it’s an opportunity to include an affiliate link if they have one available. For example, if you’re doing a round up of favorite products for the holiday season, you can search for affiliate links in one of your networks, and even find companies you love that are currently running sales to share with your readers. Once you determine the link you want to include, a unique affiliate link will be generated for you, and you’ll simple copy and paste it into your post for your readers to click on.

    A word of caution: you need to be fully transparent with your readers when including affiliate links. Even if you are including just one link in your post, you must inform your readers that you are using affiliate links, and that it is clearly visible — either at the beginning of your post, immediately before you share the link(s), or right next to the link itself. It can be as simple as the disclaimer I posted above. Whatever you do, do not forget this important step!

    The Course That Helped Me Start Affiliate Marketing

    There is one particular course I have my eye on — I’m just waiting until I have the funds to enroll. I’m hoping to sign up before the end of the year (I’ll share with you when I do), but in the meantime I found another incredibly helpful course that was more within my current budget.

    Elise from The House of Brazen has a course on How to Make Your First Affiliate Sale in 24 Hours. I absolutely adore her blog and she has so many amazing resources for bloggers and business owners. I honestly find myself on her page almost daily!

    Not only was her course insanely helpful, but it was short, simple and to the point. It was so easy to apply what she taught me in her course. Plus I was able to gain access to some of her bonus resources and her Facebook group! If you are starting to dip your toes into affiliate marketing, aren’t sure where to start, and can’t quite afford some of the more expensive courses — I highly recommend signing up for hers. You can get access to the course by signing up here. I’ll be posting a full review on her course in the coming days.

    Final Thoughts

    If you want to start making money with your new blog, I highly, highly recommend purchasing Elise’s course and checking out the affiliate marketing companies above. Spend some time exploring each of the companies after you’re approved, and get a sense for the advertisers you’d like to link back to in your posts. There is one thing you have to promise me though — please do not ever throw in an affiliate link for the sake of linking. This tactic isn’t going to benefit you, and will completely turn off your readers. Only include links when it’s appropriate and will provide something of value to your readers. It is so obvious when bloggers post affiliate links for the sole purpose of hoping someone clicks on it. When you include an affiliate link, it has to relate to what you’re talking about in your post. It’s even better when you can include a link to something you know, use and love and can speak about why you love it so much.

    As my knowledge on affiliate marketing increases, I’ll be sure to update you. Let me know if you’ve tried any of these companies or if you have any companies you like to work with! If you have any questions, feel free to leave them below!

    xxElizabeth

    five things to do after you publish a new blog post

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    Back when I had other blogs I used to publish a new post and just let it float out in internet land without doing anything to let people know it was there. I was always disappointed when I didn’t see my traffic increasing, but it wasn’t until I started this new blog that I realized I had to put a decent amount of effort into “advertising” my posts to increase traffic. To follow up my recent post on how I tripled my blog traffic in one month, I’m sharing with you the 5 things you NEED to do after you publish a new blog post:

    Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links, which means I  make a commission at no extra cost to you should you click through and make a purchase. Thank you so much for your support!

    proofread one last time

    Although I proofread my posts before I hit publish, I always read them over again as a “reader.” Something about seeing the post through a reader’s eyes allows me to catch any mistakes or formatting issues. I keep a separate tab open that I can go to and edit right away, so once I’ve made any necessary changes I save the post again. Make sure you have any relevant links, images, videos, etc. placed and ready to go. I usually proofread once or twice after publishing just to be sure!

    create your pins

    In my last post I talked about how Pinterest has helped me triple my blog traffic in just one month of blogging. The way I use Pinterest to increase traffic is by creating pins that link back to specific posts or other content on my blog. I typically create 3-5 different pins per post using Canva and stock photos from Unsplash, Ivory Mix or other stock photo sites. For my favorite free stock photo sites you can see the full list by taking a look at this post.

    Canva makes it so easy to create Pinterest graphics. You can start completely from scratch or you can use some of their pre-made templates to help get you started. I recently updated my tutorial on how to create pins in Canva, so if you’d like to learn how to DIY your graphics, you can watch the quick tutorial I recorded below. If you want to completely outsource your Pinterest work, you can check out my Pinterest Management services here.

    Once you’ve created your pins you can upload them straight to Pinterest, or you can use a scheduling tool like Tailwind. Tailwind is incredibly helpful for ensuring your scheduled pins are posted at optimal times, but it’s also great for increasing traffic to both your Pinterest account and your blog. You can join Tailwind Tribes relevant to your niche and add your new pins to those groups in hopes that your pin will be seen and re-pinned by the other members of your tribe. I’ll be doing a full post on Pinterest and Tailwind soon, but in the mean time you can start using Tailwind today by signing up here.

    promote on social media

    I am a huge believer in “less is more” when it comes to social media platforms. I like to stick to Pinterest and Instagram for the most part. If you try to focus on Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube all at the same time — especially as a new blogger — you’re going to get super overwhelmed super fast. Pick one or two and start there. All the links for my blog are included in my Instagram bio, and I usually hop on stories to let my followers know when I have a new post up. If I post a new photo that day too, I might mention it in the caption as well. Regardless of your preferred platform, make sure you’re telling your followers about your new post, and make it easy for them to view it when it goes live.

    check your facebook groups

    Joining Facebook groups for bloggers was another huge reason I saw such a large spike in traffic last month. You can join general blogging groups, niche groups, or groups for new bloggers. Most of these groups post consistent threads that will allow you to link a specific blog post a couple times a week (or sometimes daily), so be sure to keep an eye on your groups for these opportunities. Two of my favorite groups are Boss Girl Bloggers and Grow Your Blog. I’ve seen a lot of growth since I joined the two groups, but I’ve also made so many great connections with other bloggers, and have learned a lot about blogging in general!

    email your subscribers

    I’ve been working quite a bit on growing my email list lately, so I don’t have a TON of information to share with you just yet, but your new blog posts can absolutely be used as content in e-mails to your subscribers. If you send weekly or monthly e-mails, you can let your subscribers know about your latest updates, and even share short excerpts of new content with links to their original posts. This is a great way to keep driving traffic back to your blog and keep your subscribers in the loop.

    While this all certainly DOES take a bit of time, it is doable and 100% worth it. Once you get used to setting up your post-publishing routine, it becomes much quicker and easier to put the finishing touches on your newly published content. If you need help getting started with creating pins, finding groups, or any of the above don’t hesitate to ask! Let me know if you have any additional tasks you take care of after publishing a post!

    xxElizabeth

    how I tripled my blog traffic in one month as a new blogger

    how I tripled my blog traffic in one month.png

    Throughout the years I’ve had several blogs about various topics, but none of them stuck for very long. I never posted consistently, and would go months in between posts. This time around I knew I wanted to write about things I was passionate about and focus on actually growing my blog.

    I’ve been blogging here consistently for a little over a month; while I’m certainly not an expert I wanted to share with you what’s been working for me in driving traffic to my site. While my views aren’t insanely impressive, they’ve grown drastically in a short period of time and I want to show you all the real process of growing this new blog. If you’re wondering how I tripled my blog traffic, here is a list of exactly what I’ve been doing:

    Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links, which means I will make a commission at no extra cost to you should you click through and make a purchase. Thank you so much for your support!

    Posting consistently

    I can’t stress this enough. Whether you decide to post once a week, twice a week, or three times a week, it’s important to remain consistent. Going weeks or months without posting anything certainly isn’t going to help increase traffic. The other piece to this, though, is providing quality content and not just posting for the sake of posting. You want to make sure you are providing your readers with well written, thoughtful content that isn’t just being slapped together — really take the time to write your posts and produce something of quality.

    Utilizing Pinterest

    Being active on Pinterest has been a total GAME CHANGER. Once I figured out what my domain name would be here, I made sure to sign up for a business account with Pinterest (if you haven’t done this yet, go do it right now!). This allows you to set up rich pins, link back to your blog or website, and see how many people are viewing and pinning your content. My monthly views on Pinterest continue to increase (more on that later), as I stay active uploading my own pins and re-pinning relevant content onto my boards. I sign in to my Pinterest to do this all the time but I also use Tailwind to schedule pins and post to a few different tribes. This saves me SO much time and is such a helpful tool for growing your Pinterest. I’m working on a post all about Pinterest and Tailwind, but for now you can sign up for Tailwind here. You can also learn more about my Pinterest Management services if you want to learn how I can help you with your Pinterest

    Staying Active On Social Media

    A lot of what I read about growing your blog tells you to focus on one or two social media platforms so you don’t overwhelm yourself. I personally focus on Pinterest and Instagram. While my Instagram is still a work in progress (figuring out a cohesive feed can be soo frustrating), I post there daily, use my stories and comments to connect and engage with my followers, and make sure my blog is linked in my profile. I get a decent amount of traffic to my blog from Instagram, and make sure to let my followers know when a new post is up.

    Connecting with Your Readers

    Don’t ignore your readers! After all, they are supporting your work when they visit your blog and read your posts. When someone comments on a post I always make sure I take the time to respond. I’ve also recently set up an account through MailChimp so I can start building an e-mail list to connect with my subscribers and let them know about new posts, updates to my design shop, and share more content. I use MailChimp for my business and find it easy to navigate and schedule emails to customers, clients and readers.

    Joining Facebook Groups

    Besides Pinterest, this has been a huge reason I’ve seen growth here. I’ve joined a handful of Facebook groups for bloggers and it’s not only helped increase traffic on my blog, but it’s helped grow my Instagram too (I’m not a fan of Instagram pods, so Facebook groups are my preferred option). I’ve gotten to connect with so many other amazing bloggers and have learned so much about blogging through these groups. You can search on Facebook for “new blogger” groups or blogging groups pertaining to your niche. A lot of them post threads daily or weekly that will allow you link back to your blog, Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, etc. You usually have to engage with others who post their links as well, but this is a great way to find other blogs and accounts. Not only does it help your blog, but you help others grow their blogs as well!

    My Actual Stats

    One thing I wish I would’ve done right off the bat when I started my blog was link to Google Analytics. I did that recently, but it would’ve been so helpful to have done that in the first place.  Squarespace does have an analytics tab, though, so I’m still able to track my traffic from there every day too. The first image below is a screenshot of my analytics from September and the image below it is from October. You can see below how my blog has grown from the beginning of September to the end of October. While I realize these numbers are small in comparison to some other bloggers who have numbers into the thousands and ten thousands, I’m excited that I was able to more than triple my traffic over the course of a month! I’m planning on sharing my analytics every month so you can see how what I’m doing is effecting my traffic.

    If you have some great suggestions for how you’ve increased your blog traffic, I’d love to hear them! I’m looking forward to seeing how my blog grows this month and sharing that with you!

    xxElizabeth