Is Your Blog Pinterest-Friendly? Do You Want It To Be?
Pinterest is huge right now, with both praise and controversy. Some blogs are getting huge traffic from Pinterest. Fortunately, it’s not that hard to make your blog Pinterest-friendly.
It comes down to one simple thing: have pinnable images.
The images on your blog post are what will show up on Pinterest. Design high quality images and they may be repinned over and over, driving amazing traffic.
That said, there are a few catches. Like most things, it’s really not as simple as it first sounds.
Respect Image Copyright
One problem basically comes down to copyright. Users are supposed to make sure they have the right to share the photos they pin, but not everyone does. It’s a part of the TOS that some ignore. This can cause legal issues.
You don’t want this to become an issue for your own pinboards. It’s not just that your pins can be removed for copyright infringement. It’s that you may have to pay serious money for copyright infringement. Legally, that can be anywhere from $200 – 150,000 per infringement.
It’s not that hard to respect image copyright. Get your images from the right resources, and it won’t be a problem at all. Consider these options:
Create Your Own Images
The absolute safest thing to do when it comes to image copyright is to create your own images. This way, you own the copyright. No worries about someone else.
For some kinds of sites, this is the only way to go anyhow. If you run a crafting blog or recipe blog, you need original photos. Stock photos won’t show what you need for such sites.
But you can create your own images for any kind of site. It’s not always easy, but it is possible.
Images don’t have to be photographs, of course. You can have text on a solid background if that’s what works for your post.
Use Paid Stock Photos
If you use stock photos on your site, you don’t own the copyright on them, and in time this may be an issue for people who use Pinterest. Some royalty-free photos you use don’t include a license to have them go onto sites you don’t own. You don’t want to pin them onto your own boards to market your site and you shouldn’t encourage pinning of that page either.
Fortunately, Pinterest allows you to block an image from being pinned from your site.
In WordPress, switch to the text editing tab of the visual editor. This allows you to view the HTML. Go to the image you want to block from being pinned. The HTML should look something like this: <img src=”yourimage.png”>
Add the nopin code like this: <img src=”yourimage.png” data-pin-nopin=”true”>
Blocking pinning is a very good idea if you don’t have the rights to spread the image around. It may not directly be your fault that someone has pinned the image from your site, but if you know there’s an issue, it’s not that hard to prevent it.
Use Creative Commons Zero Images
I have a great fondness for using Creative Commons Zero (CC0) images. These are images that theoretically allow you to use them however you would like.
You can modify them, use them commercially, whatever you want.
So what’s the risk?
The risk is that someone may have added them to a CC0 site without permission.
It’s a good idea to do a little research on your CC0 images, to see if there are any obvious problems with using it, especially if there’s anything that makes you doubt its CC0 status.
This can also help you decide if the image has been used too often by others. Some CC0 images get used so much that your use of that image won’t stand out.
This can especially be a problem on Pinterest. Having your adaptation of that image be one of many of that same image can impact its performance. Pinterest is very good at recognizing images.
There are ways you can make even these images more unique, however. I don’t mean adding text – that’s too small a difference. Everyone does that.
You can put two or more images together, for example. You can make a collage of relevant images.
Another way to combine images is to find or make an image with a transparent background that you can place on top of another image, to add something to it. You could place a cat in a field of flowers, for example, or do as I did in this post and place a pile of folded towels on a desk.
How much you can do depends on your skills and the image editing tools you use. I can do a fair bit with Gimp, and I don’t think of myself as that great an expert. There are lots of people who can do far more than I can with image editing.
Make Multiple Pinnable Images
Pinterest loves it when you provide multiple images for your content. They’re more of a search engine than a social site in many ways, and that’s a part of what you need to consider in creating content for Pinterest. I try for at least 3 pinnable images per post, even if I have to hide the extras.
Multiple pinnable images gives you a lot of advantages when pinning. It puts more variety in the pins you share on Pinterest.
Making multiple pinnable images doesn’t mean you have to have tons of huge images in your posts. You can control which images are pinnable on your site, and that includes telling Pinterest to use a particular image in the place of another. I’ve described this in more detail in my post on controlling which images can be pinned from your posts, but here’s that part again:
<img src="image.png" data-pin-media="image-you-want-pinned.png" alt="image description" />
Upload the image you designed for Pinterest to your WordPress media area, and use the image URL in the data-pin-media section.
Every image should have its own description for Pinterest. Pinterest loves unique content. You don’t want all your different images to have the same descriptions. Pop this into the img section of your HMTL, before or after the data-pin-media section:
data-pin-description="description you want on your pinned post"
Vary your descriptions, using keywords you believe are relevant to your post and that will drive traffic from Pinterest. Use relevant hashtags.
Pinners can change your descriptions to whatever they want when they pin your content, but that’s all to the good. You’ve given them a start so that those who just want to pin and move on still have a solid description on their pins, while those who want to say their own thing can do that as well.
Set Up Your Pinterest Business Account
While you don’t have to set up a Pinterest business account to use it for your business, I strongly recommend you do so. This is how you get access to Pinterest Analytics, which will give you information on how well your pins are performing.
It’s not hard to do. I’ve gone through the steps in this article.
It takes a little time to get set up, but it’s worth the effort. If you do things right, your pins should perform better, plus the information from analytics will help you figure out what works for you.
Once you’ve done that, consider taking a Pinterest marketing course so that you know what you’re doing. It will help you avoid some of the more common mistakes people make.
Use Social Media Sharing Plugins
A good social media sharing plugin will help make your site more Pinterest-friendly. This way people can easily pin off your site when they see something they like.
Ideally, you want a Pinterest link off to the side on your posts as well as a Pin It button on all of your images. You never know which of these buttons a visitor will want to use.
If you don’t have such buttons on your site, it is much harder for people to share your site on Pinterest. You’ll get less traffic from Pinterest if you don’t have people sharing from your site because they find it interesting.
I’m currently using the Shareaholic plugin, although I’m considering going to something else. I’ve used it for a long time, which means I’m overdue for checking to see if anyone does the job better. I’m considering Social Warfare, which looks quite affordable even on the Pro side of things. The features are more appealing to me.
My favorite tool for pinning from my site onto Pinterest is Tailwind. While your use of Tailwind has no impact on your users, it can be of tremendous benefit to you.
Scheduling your pins with Tailwind is incredibly easy. That’s what sold me on it.
I’ve done manual pinning. I’ve scheduled pins with Hootsuite. It doesn’t compare to how easy Tailwind is to use. Hootsuite is wonderful for other uses, but Tailwind is far superior for Pinterest.
If you have any doubts at all, sign up for Tailwind’s free trial and see for yourself with no risk at all. That’s what I did. I wasn’t far into the trial at all before I was sold on paying for a subscription.
Using Tailwind to get your pins onto Pinterest is one of the basic Pinterest marketing steps you should take. It’s fast and easy. You can get your pins scheduled out months in advance, rather than having to go back to your posts and remembering to pin every day.
Is Pinterest Worth It?
Some people feel that the traffic they get from Pinterest is not to their benefit, which is why some sites block pinning entirely. There are some good reasons to consider whether Pinterest is worth it for your site.
If you’re selling photographs or things you’ve made, for example, you need to balance the traffic you get from Pinterest with your concern that people are pinning your ideas to steal for later. Are you losing more than you’re gaining?
For the most part, I would consider the traffic from Pinterest worth those risks.
The people who only want to steal ideas from you won’t buy anyhow. But they might expose your work to others who will buy.
Thieves will find your work anyhow if that’s the kind of thing they’re looking for. Maybe not as easily, but they’ll find it.
If you’re still having doubt, I invite you to consider these success stories:
Most people won’t have this kind of success, especially right away. But you don’t need an extreme amount of success for Pinterest to be worth your while. You only need enough targeted traffic to come to be worth your while. Viral pins are an occasional side benefit you may get.
Will Pinterest Work For Your Niche?
I remember when I had my doubts about using Pinterest. I had them for a long time. It was hard to see how it would work in my niche. Recipe sites? Sure. Products for sale? Why not? But here?
Suffice to say I was wrong.
I’m still playing catch up with my Pinterest marketing, and I know that. I’d be getting a lot more traffic from there if I had started years ago. But do you know when the next best time to get started is?
Right now, of course!
Pinterest marketing is low risk. You’ll spend some time on it, but it works for many niches, and not just the ones that have to do with making things or being creative. It’s worth a try almost no matter your niche.
I strongly recommend using a tool such as Tailwind to make pinning easier as you try it. You can do manual pinning, but it will take up a lot of time, especially as you try to keep track of what you’ve pinned where and when.
Been there, done that. Should’ve bought Tailwind sooner.
At worst, you’ve spent some money and found something that doesn’t work for your site. If you’re serious about your business, these things will happen. It’s not that big a financial risk if your business is otherwise making money.