An Introduction to Pinterest
In a world where every day it seems there is a new platform, new gadget, or new item to constantly update, it is important to know your strengths and put your time and attention into the tools that will really help to build your site.
In the last year and a half, I have watched Pinterest take over my Analytics. It is not the only site that sends a lot of traffic my way, but it is a force not to be ignored. After watching the numbers skyrocket for a while, I created an account and some boards, and now make Pinterest one of my daily stops in my normal blogging routine.
First, I check out the main page and re-pin things I find interesting. Next, I always add my own latest post. I find people who only pimp their own sites annoying, but I do need to get my own link in there. One pin can lead to hundreds. I have a specific board for my site that people can choose to follow, and won’t pin my own items onto many of my other boards unless I feel they are very specific to that board. Another bonus in setting up a separate board just for my blog? It’s really easy to see a collection of my images at a glance. Don’t be the pinner that only pins their own things though. That’s not fun for anyone.
I also always check to see what other people are pinning from my site. I am haunted by one or two recipes I almost regret posting, but other than those, the quick view of what others are posting are pinning is a great bit of information for a blogger. You quickly get to see what people are looking for, what they are saying, and the popular recipes and images on your site. The easiest way to see which items from your site are getting repinned is by typing http://www.pinterest.com/source/your-url.com into a browser, replacing “your-url.com” with your site’s web address.
Helpful Pinterest Plugins for WordPress
There are several WordPress plugins that you can install on your site to help direct a reader to pin a specific image within posts, as well as plugins that append the “Pin It” button to the top or bottom of every post like other social sharing tools. Check out Sharing is Caring, a great social sharing plug-in with Pinterest included. An active “pinner” is already going to pin the images they want, however, these extra reminders can really help.
I currently use Pin It on Pinterest, a plugin that adds the “Pin It” option to the bottom of my posts, as well as allows me to select which image I want to appear, along with text, when a reader clicks on that image. I include a specific image for every post, along with the title of the featured recipe. A reader can still select other images if they choose, but with a little bit of guidance from me, the blogger, I am more likely to see the pictures I want featured on Pinterest.
Some people feel strongly about their hard work being circulated around the internet without permission, taken, borrowed, or even used without credit given back. Pinterest can be perceived as a place where there’s no real need to click back to a page, a place where thousands of people can see your work and never once give you a single click back. For those of you who consider this a little too invasive, there are plugins to block images from being pinned, which can sometimes come in handy. Check out Pinterest Block, if there are specific images you are trying to keep off of Pinterest. Sometimes it’s as simple as family photos that you want to share with your returning readers and not the whole world, and some people don’t want a single image from their website on Pinterest. If you are one of the people who does not want any of your images on Pinterest, check out their help page for instructions on blocking your site’s content entirely from their site.
If you want to show off more of your pins and have some sidebar space, check out the Pinterest Pinboard plugin, to show off your recent pins in your blog’s sidebar.
For those of you who are hardcore into analytics, stats and other fun charts, I just discovered PinReach, a free analytic tracking tool for your Pinterest activity. After you sign up for a free account, PinReach starts to track everything from your most popular boards to your most repinned items. It will show you who is influential on Pinterest among the people you follow, as well as other trending Pinterest topics.
Remember to include your Pinterest information along with your other contact information. Adding a Pinterest button next to your RSS, Twitter, and Facebook gives readers one more easy way to follow you. A tip to remember with all social media platforms though, if you are going to offer it as a way to “follow,” make sure to give your followers fresh content.
Like all social media tools for your site, remember you are showing off your site’s “brand.” Depending on how you share your social life on your blog, you may want to set some personal filters on what you choose to pin or not. If it’s not language or content you would feel appropriate to share on your blog, you may choose to filter it, or have a separate account entirely for personal pins. Because I don’t edit myself often for my readers or “brand,” I have my account broken into boards that are food and non-food related, and trust my readers to follow those which they chose or follow me entirely. However, if you want to pin naughty little tidbits only meant for your inner circle or if you are hiding your secret embarrassingly large Hello Kitty obsession from your readers, an additional Pinterest account separate from the one your readers can follow would be recommended until they develop the option for private boards.
Check your Analytics; chances are, Pinterest is already sending tons of traffic your way. Harness those hard-earned blogging skills, and see if you can increase your slice of the Pinterest pie!