How Very Pinteresting! A Pinterest Guide for the Beginner and Advanced User

This session was captured by Melissa of Melissa Running It. Melissa is is a mid-life mother runner that’s all about chasing down progress, not perfection.


Steph Calvert is the work-at-home mom, graphic and web designer and illustrator behind Hearts and Laserbeams. She’s been blogging since 2002 and is also a graphic & web designer, artist, and pinner with close to 5,000 followers. Pinterest is the second largest traffic driver to her site (second to Google+) and her small group discussion to will show you how Pinterest is more than crafts, desserts, and nail art – it can be a game changing way of driving traffic to your site!

If you’re looking for things to blog about, you can go to Pinterest. Click on Popular (located on the Pinterest home page, top left drop down menu) and find what can drive traffic to your site. What’s been popular? [Discuss]

  • Body Weight Workouts
  • Recipes
  • Motivational Quotes
  • I still see lots of nail art (ha!)
  • Specific Workouts (i.e. 5 workouts that can be done in under 30 minutes)
  • Pictures of people (i.e. healthy people for inspiration)

These can help generate ideas for blog posts that you can create pinnable images to drive traffic back to your blog.

Side discussion:
Steph: I have been learning a lot about SEO and Google & Pinterest are the top two. Not every old blog post has pinnable images, but I can go back to old posts and pin images again.
Brandi: If you worry or care about SEO at all, it helps Google recrawl your site. Don’t change the URL or dates, just the content. For example, Diets in Review did a post on the hottest celebrity bodies in 2012. It was one of the highest performing posts. The URL/date is the same, but we updated the content for 2014 and is already getting high traffic.

People search and find your pins better if you put descriptions and if you create boards that are fine tuned.
Example:  Creating a board with cute shoes. I have cute shoes there, and I have descriptions of each of my cute shoes. That will show up better than full outfit boards. If you specialize a little bit, it’ll help your pins show up for the user.

Does anyone do affiliate links (on Pinterest)? No? Did you know you can? There are several out there (Share-a-Sale, LinkShare, Commission Junction – now CJ Affiliate by Conversant). The only problem with the specialized link they give you is that it pops up a warning that the link can lead to a sketchy site.  Amazon gives you an affiliate link that works well for monetizing and you can consider adding a banner over your image with a dollar sign ($)  to help it stand out & be an eye catcher.
Example: I do a montage of bathing suits on my blog. Here are the suits, all the text about the suits, then the individual suits with the links to buy them. Pin all those images onto a board in Pinterest. For the montage, have the link go directly to your blog. For the individual suits, use your affiliate link for each item.

Question: What type of Pinterest button should I have?
Steph: WordPress has a plugin that you can use, just remember that each plugin you use adds a bit of slowness to your blog. You can use a basic Pinterest button or find various widget builders to create your own.
Clarification: Is it better to have the Pinterest button hover over the image, or at the bottom to share on Pinterest?
Steph: It depends. I like both. The way I design, I design for as many audience members as possible.
Clarification: What plugin do you like best?
Steph: I have just the hover over button. That for me, the basic button is my preference.

Question: What’s the value in verifying your site?
It didn’t show the complete URL on your main pinterest profile page. [Crowd comment: It does now]. The really cool thing is you can see stats and what your biggest pins are. One of the biggest drivers is a 2 second sketch I put on my blog. I did a blogpost to promote a Disney CD and for every song that played, I did a little sketch of each and [one was] a weird parrot, that wasn’t good, not my best work, but one of the biggest pins driving traffic. People love DIY stuff. Homemade dry shampoo was a picture of baking soda next to oatmeal. Simple, but it’s bringing 400 people to my site every month.
You can go to www. and replace “” with your own website (leave off the www.) This shows you all the images being pinned from your site so you can give your readers what they want (i.e. more of that sort of content.) If you see they like stupid birds and dry shampoo, you can do a post about parrots using dry shampoo [laughter]. Verifying? This makes your full url visible in the header of your profile page, y
ou can see your stats to see which pins are driving the most traffic to your site, and you get a check mark to look legit.

Question: #Hashtags – are they anything on Pinterest?
It’s funny because hashtags have infiltrated everything. Sites that didn’t used to use them are now doing it. If they work now, they don’t hurt. If you have time, by all means, add some hashtags, but I wouldn’t lose sleep over it. Are they just more annoying or worth it? Generally, I don’t like to bombard with hashtags. Make it specific. Add a couple in the text where it’s appropriate, then come back and comment with your shitstorm of hashtags. That way when it posts to twitter/fb/other places, it looks more genuine  and less like a robot.

Ahalogy is your new best friend. It’s in beta right now, so they’re still working out some bugs, but it’s much faster than it was. Apply as a publisher, not a brand. It lets you schedule your pins which is ah-mazing. Their scheduling tools have really helped build my following. It’ll be a trickle, then an avalanche (but don’t take that as a guarantee).

People on the Ahalogy network install the plugin on your site, then do your pins through the Ahalogy network. They push your pin on Pinterest and when someone find it and goes to your blog, they come to your blog and get a popup box asking if they would like to follow you (Collective ooh, ahhh in the room). I hardly go to Pinterest anymore. I go to the (Ahalogy) content network, see what everyone is pinning, and you schedule things out from there. When you pin something from there, users will get the popup box to follow you (even though your pin originated from the network).

It auto schedules your pins. There are people online 24/7, and while we tend to pin all at once, Ahalogy will spread out for you throughout the day. This way you’re telling people, “Hey, I’m here.”

Question: Can you use Amazon affiliate links with Ahalogy? Yes. You want to pin pictures people are really interested in. Pinterest people are sophisticated. Look for Amazon photos that are scenes or a person in an outfit rather than a product with white background. if you have your own photo, even better. You still have to use #ad, though.

Rule of thumb: if it’s something you’re going to make money on, you have to disclose. Is it enough to put just “#ad”? Absolutely. You can reinforce it on your blog’s privacy/disclosure policy [you can find Steph’s here]. I have a footer on the bottom of my blog that some posts/links will get me money and things like that. It depends on the medium that you’re in. On places where you can write more, spell it out. For Pinterest? #ad is ok.

Question: Do you see value in creating pinnable images, or would you use the pictures from your blog as is?
I try to make an image that works across the board. Sometimes it’s 1000 pixels wide and it works across the board. I don’t always have time to create separate images, but for  Pinterest, vertical images stand out better. Pinterest has started truncating those a bit. General rule, the larger the better.

Side Discussion: Is it better to preview a recipe on Pinterest with an ingredient list and then have them click through for the rest of the recipe post? One thing to remember with the step by step/DIY is that you want them to go to your blog, so don’t give away tomuch. First 3 steps, then they need to click to get to my site and the rest of my recipe. [comments regarding whether full ingredient list should be included in the pin or not]

Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World is ah-mazing. It lays out Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest. That book was awesome and kind of changed my game plan for Facebook. Short and sweet, get them to your site. I’m much more aware of the call of action. What do you want them to do?

Group Boards: I think they can be really helpful. The cool thing is, if this group board has 20,000 followers, then there’s that potential for that many to see your pins. If you have projects you’re collaborating with, group boards are really helpful.

Question: How many boards do you have? Personal verses blogger/business?  [Jessica has boards that are all things running as well as personal boards, i.e. home decor.]
If you don’t start off with a private profile, you can’t go back. I pin things for my personal life. It adds more depth/persona to who you are verses just being a blogger persona. It’s not a bad thing. There are some times you want to separate your business from your personal life, but when it’s together, it just shows more facets of you.
Number of boards? 100 is a good number of boards. If you don’t have 100, you’re doing good. I have 20-30, so I think I’m  doing ok. If you go into some of my boards, a couple of them kind of need to be broken into a couple. I started it when I was doing t-shirts, then evolved into (and added) cool quotes and articles I’ve read (i.e. less cranky toddler). I need to organize this board. I need to change it to inspirational quotes and things I’ve read. There are some boards that could use your organizing, but you don’t need  to organize the board with 20,000 pins. Just move on and do it right from here on out.

Question: Is there a time you’d recommend for pinning?
I recommend Ahalog – ha! – I’m not here on behalf of them (comment: you should be!). You can spend a lot of time pinning today, but if so and so is on Pinterest tomorrow afternoon, they won’t see it. Ahalogy will trickle it out throughout the day because it’s not all in one chunk.

Tools/Resources to check out:
Ahalogy: Join the network and schedule your pins. It’s your new best friend!
Rich Pins: Add extra details to your pins to make them more useful
PicMonkey & Canva: Create overlays, infographics
IFTT (If This Then That) Connects one social media channel to another based on your actions
Over app: Add text and artwork to photos on your iPhone/iPad
Session Handout (pdf): How Very Pinteresting!

Connect with Steph from Hearts and Laserbeams
Web • Design • Illustration • Blog
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