Working online is all about generating traffic, getting eyeballs on your page. Without traffic it really doesn’t matter how awesome your content is. You could write Shakespearean prose or reveal all the secrets of the universe but without traffic no one will know how brilliant you are.

Of course, stellar content is also a key ingredient in the mix. When people do make it to your page you want them to stay there and read what you have to say. You also want them to keep coming back for more, and it would be nice if they’d bring their friends along on the next visit, too.

Still, you have to find a way to get them to the page first.

Over the last few years there have been tremendous changes in the way people view the Internet. There’s so much information on the Web now and so much of it is junk. Internet users are spending less and less time surfing the Web for information, turning instead to their friends in the Social Networks for content recommendations.

You can turn to your own Facebook news feed and see hundreds of examples on any given day. One of your friends posts a link to an article and because it’s someone whose opinion you value you click the link to see what the article says. Another friend posts a link to a video she just watched and you go watch it, too.

Even better: Someone else says, “I just bought a new vacuum cleaner and I love it!” and you start thinking about replacing your vacuum cleaner – even though, up to this point, you thought your vacuum cleaner worked perfectly fine.

This is why Social Media Marketing is so powerful. The internal psychological connections created when you see a link posted by someone you know, someone whose opinion you respect, are much more powerful than some random links you see in an article or blog post you’re reading.

When the average Internet surfer stumbles upon your article or blog post you have approximately 2 to 3 seconds to grab their attention and keep them on the page.

There are billions of other pages out there and their finger is always on the clicker. People have very short attention spans these days so you really have to work to make them sit still and read.

However, that same user will spend hours each day scanning their Facebook and Twitter feeds for interesting links and content posted by their trusted friends. When they do follow those links they’re already pre-qualified, they’re already interested in what you have to say, simply because you were recommended by a friend.

Ask any Marketing executive what’s the best way to grab someone’s attention and they’ll tell you people respond best to visuals: A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words. And the Internet is a perfect example. If you’re not already using images in your content, try it. Add a few to your key articles and you’ll immediately start to see your bounce rate drop.

If pictures and images help keep your readers on your page, then it only makes sense that they’d also help attract traffic. How many times have you been driving down the highway and seen a billboard with those big McDonald’s golden arches and now, all of a sudden, you’re hungry so you take that next exit and go get a burger?

That billboard was a visual image used to psychologically stimulate a response

– and it worked. Even though you were driving down a very busy highway and not the least bit hungry, that billboard caught your eye and kept you focused just long enough to reel you in. Visual stimulation works the same way when applied to the Internet.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. You have enough to do as it is what with creating great content, sending out Tweets, posting to Facebook, setting up ad campaigns and all the other tasks that go along with creating an online empire, most of which you probably think is a huge waste of time. And maybe it is – but it won’t be for long.

Read on and I’ll tell you all about the Social Media site called Pinterest and how you can quickly and easily use it to boost your traffic higher than you ever thought possible. And you can do it all with pictures because, after all, a picture is worth a thousand words… which means it’s also worth thousands of eyeballs!

What Is Pinterest?

Pinterest is a social sharing community that lets you collect, organize and share all the beautiful images you find on the web, all from one location.

Think of Pinterest as a series of scrapbooks, all rolled into one, huge album. For example, a young woman might use Pinterest to collect images to help plan her wedding and she can create as many different albums, or pinboards, as she wants. One for wedding dresses, one for bridesmaid dresses, shoes, accessories, color palettes, unique table decorations, wedding cakes, menus for the reception and all the other things included in planning a wedding.

All of these pinboards are visible and accessible from the users homepage so, at a glance, she can see all of the ideas she’s gathered together in one place online. No more magazine and newspaper clippings scattered all over the table, no more sorting and organizing into binders. It’s all right there at her fingertips.

But brides aren’t the only people using Pinterest. People collect images of whatever they’re interested in: Interior decorating ideas, recipes, fashion, crafts, art, gardening, science, architecture and anything else you can think of.

So, at its core, Pinterest is an online website where people can store and share all those beautiful images they used to keep pasted in scrapbooks hidden under the bed.

What Makes Pinterest Different?

Pinterest differs from Facebook and Twitter and all of those other social networks in a number of ways but the most obvious is that ‘Billboard Effect’ we talked about earlier.

While Twitter allows the use of images and video, that’s not what pops up in the average user’s Twitter stream. First they see your 140-character Tweet – which means they have to actually read it before you can get their attention.

Facebook, on the other hand, allows you to post images but they’re just tiny little thumbnails. If you post a larger image and try to include a link with it, the link is buried under the image somewhere and it’s easy to miss, especially when it’s in the middle of all that other clutter on your wall.

Pinterest allows you to bypass all that contextual mumbo jumbo and focus on what really attracts the readers’ attention – a beautiful image.

Now, when a bride wants ideas for wedding cakes she doesn’t go to Google and start browsing the index, clicking here and there hoping to find some pictures. Instead she turns to Pinterest where she knows she’ll see nothing but pictures of wedding cakes and she can even sort them by flavor and color if she wants.

As she searches through images of wedding cakes that other people have already pinned, she pins the ones she likes to her own pinboard, her online scrapbook. And then, when she’s found the cake she wants, she can follow the link back to the decorator and place her order.

Pinboards, and their individual pins, are visible to anyone using Pinterest, which is where the sharing comes in. Many users find Pinterest quite addictive and spend hours at a time pinning and re-pinning images without ever leaving the site.

When you think about it, most of the decisions we make are based on visual appeal. That meatloaf recipe might sound good, but it’s even better if you can see a

picture of what it actually looks like. You can provide a spot-on description of a decorative wreath or an aromatic candle, but it’s the image that actually sells the product.

Think about your own Facebook wall and how you interact with all those postings. You may not even notice this message in the middle of all of that daily noise…

But if you were scanning the new Pins at Pinterest, this one would surely catch your eye…

If you weren’t hungry for pizza before you saw this picture you probably are now, and

you’re much more likely to click through to this blog so you can get the recipe. And that’s the power of Pinterest!

Pinterest Demographics

Shareaholic posted an interesting referral traffic report on January 31, 2012. Pinterest was already ranked number 5 out of the top 10 referral sites. With more than 11 million registered users in just over 2 years, Pinterest is also the fastest growing site ever, beating out even Facebook’s growth rate.

The Pinterest audience is approximately 80% female with an age range of 25 to 44, but don’t let that stop you. The number of men using the site continues to grow and even sports teams are setting up boards to attract an audience. You’ll find President Obama in the mix, too. And let’s not forget the fact that women make more than 75% of all purchasing decisions, regardless of what’s being bought.

Sixty-one percent of Pinterest users have at least some college education, and the average annual income level is from $25,000 to $75,000.

In terms of content, Tumblr is similar to Pinterest in that users go for the images over the textual content. It’s interesting to note however that the bounce rate at Tumblr is around 50% while Pinterest’s bounce rate ranges around 30%. It may be because Tumblr.com is a bit more confusing for users, and Pinterest is actually much more visually appealing, but all that really matters is that people seem to prefer Pinterest and they stay on the site for a longer period of time.

Pinterest and SEO

I’ll explain more about search engine optimization as we go along but I wanted to take a moment just to point out a few basic SEO opportunities:

1/ Your website link to your root domain in your profile is a do-follow link, 2/ Links that lead back to the origin of the pin are no-follow links,

3/ Each image is also a clickable link back to your website or your Pinterest profile, 4/ Keywords used in titles, descriptions and your profile are all searchable,

5/ All titles are coded with H3 tags for SEO, 6/ Image descriptions are turned into Alt tags.

51 Types of Websites That Can Benefit From Using Pinterest

1/ Photography 2/ Wedding

3/ Baby 4/ Recipe

5/ Fashion for Women 6/ Fashion for Men

7/ Makeup

8/ Home décor 9/ Christmas 10/ Halloween 11/ Easter

12/ Birthday 13/ Celebrity

14/ Architecture 15/ Art

16/ News

17/ Web design 18/ Crafts

19/ Movies 20/ Parenting 21/ Books 22/ Pets

23/ Posters 24/ Gardening

25/ Green Living 26/ Musicians

27/ Travel

28/ Event planning 29/ Science

30/ Nature 31/ Survival 32/ Gaming

33/ Technology 34/ Geek toys 35/ Kids’ Fashion

36/ Back to School 37/ Dating

38/ Cars

39/ Motorcycles 40/ Boats

41/ Politics 42/ Hair Care

43/ Nail Salons 44/ Beauty Salons 45/ Spas

46/ Home Repair/Remodeling 47/ Landscaping

48/ How-To ANYTHING

49/ Antiques and Collectibles 50/ Humor

51/ Society & Culture

Take any one of these websites and break it down into even smaller niches and you’ll see that just about any type of website will see an increase in traffic using Pinterest. And these 51 are only the tip of the iceberg. So if you think your niche is too specialized and using Pinterest would just be a waste of time, you’re wrong.

You just need to know how to use it right so it benefits YOUR business. Follow along and you’ll learn everything you need to know to Pin It and Win More Traffic!

How Does Pinning Send Traffic To Your Website?

Now, the big question is: How will all of this pinning get you more traffic? How does Pinterest work?

IMPORTANT TIP: The images you pin will automatically have an anchor text link that leads back to your website and the image itself will be linked to the page from which it was originally pinned. This is a no-follow link. So before you pin an image, post it on your blog or website so the link that appears leads back to your site, not someone else’s.

The above recipe was pinned from a blog post at Simply Recipes and the anchor text link leads back to the root domain. The image itself is clickable, if you included the link when you pinned it. Each time someone re-pins this image to their own recipe pinboard, those links will remain with that image.

So if Suzy repins from Jane who repinned from Charlotte who actually pinned it from the Simply Recipes website, the original Simply Recipes link will always remain on that image.

And in a nutshell, that’s how Pinterest works. Users surf the site looking for appealing images and then repin them to their own pinboards for future reference.

Obviously, there’s a lot more to it than that. So let’s quit talking in generalities and get down to the real Pinterest nitty-gritty.

Requesting an Invitation to Pinterest

To set up an account at Pinterest visit pinterest.com You’ll be requested to provide your email address so Pinterest can send you an invitation.

On the downside, it might take up to a week for that invitation to appear in your email box and you want to set up an account now so you can follow along with this guide.

Thankfully, once you have a Pinterest account you can invite other users and they can sign up instantly. So please take a moment to send me your email address and I’ll do just that. Just email me at bestitpoint@gmail.com and I’ll send you a Pinterest invitation which will allow you to set up your account and start pinning immediately while you follow along with this guide.

Setting Up Your Pinterest Account

When setting up your new Pinterest account you’ll be able to choose a username and provide a brief, 200-character description. As I said, keywords are searchable, so it’s helpful to use them in your profile. However, don’t over-do it.

Very few Pinterest users actually search for other users, they search for images first. When they find images they like, then they’ll look to see who pinned those images and decide if they want to follow you or just repin off your pinboard. For this reason, the About section of your profile should be less keyword-stuffed and more focused on being personable and inviting.

On your Pinterest profile you can also include a link to your website. This is a Do- Follow Link.

And don’t forget to upload a picture to show people you’re a real person and not just some Internet scammer.

With Pinterest you can not include any html in your About description but you can include a URL. It won’t be clickable but if someone wants to they can copy and paste it into their browser. It’s one more way for users to find their way to your website.

However, it’s not really that big of an issue. Pinterest users will be interacting with you through your pinned images, not your profile. In fact, you want them looking at your images first because that’s where your links are.

If you toggle the Twitter and Facebook applications to the ‘On‘ position, you’ll be able to log in with those profiles and your Pins will be automatically posted to your Facebook news feed, too. (When you pin an image you’ll also have the option of automatically posting to Twitter.)

And finally, if you want your Pinterest profile to be visible to the search engines, then toggle the switch next to “Hide” to the OFF position.

Don’t forget to save your profile information by clicking the ‘Save Profile’ button at the bottom of the page.

And you’re all set. Now you can start pinning!

Add the « Pin It » Button To Your Bookmarks Bar

Once you’ve set up an account, make it easy on yourself and install the Pinterest ‘Pin It’ Button to your bookmaks bar. This button makes it easy for you to pin any image you find on the Web – especially your own images on your website. It also automatically grabs the source link to include it with the image.

IMPORTANT TIP: Because of the very nature of the site, Pinterest responds to all copyright violation claims. Altering the source link on an image is a violation of copyright laws. That means you can’t go to XYZ website, pin their picture, and change the link so it points to your blog, or do it at your own risk.

You may pin images from other sites, so long as you don’t alter the source link. But if you want your pin to link back to your blog or website, then the image must be posted on your blog or website. This means you need to be using legal images on your site, too, if you don’t want to get slapped with a DMCA notification.

Remember, millions of people are going to see the images you pin to your Pinterest pinboards. Many artists and photographers now pay close attention to Pinterest, watching for violators. Make sure you’re using legal images, both on your site and on your pinboards.

Why not just use the Pin It button you have installed along with all your other Sharing buttons? That’s fine – if you remember to use it. I prefer having the ‘Pin It’ button in my bookmark bar because I share images from several sites, not just my own. Some of these sites don’t have a Pinterest button so it just makes it easier to have that Pin It button handy.

Make it Easy For Your Readers to Pin It, Too

Next, install a Pin It button on your website to make it as easy as possible for your readers to share your images. If you’re using WordPress there are several plug-ins available – WordPress Pin It Button is one that’s easy to install and set up. Pinterest Image Pin is another.

You can also get a javascript code at Pinterest to add to non-WordPress sites.

Make it Easy For Your Readers to Follow You on Pinterest

And finally, while you’re at it, add a “Follow Me on Pinterest” button to your blog or website. You can get the code on the Pinterest Goodies page. Just scroll until you see “Follow Button” for websites, click on the image you want, and then copy and past the code into your sidebar or wherever you’re using your other Follow Buttons.

Creating Content That Your Readers Want To Pin

Now the fun begins… creating content that your readers will rush to pin.

If you spend even just a few minutes surfing Pinterest you’ll get an idea of the types of images people like to pin. In most cases they’re colorful, high-quality images, something you might find in a magazine.

Right away you’ll notice that these are not the type of images you throw together by copying and pasting bits and pieces into your standard issue Paint program.

Just as important is the content attached to the image. For example, if you’re going to pin that image of the delicious looking pizza then the content of the post should have something to do with a pizza – either a recipe to make one or a review of the restaurant where you purchased it or some other type of relevant content.

The last thing you want to do is play a game of bait and switch with Pinterest users. Some will be pinning your images simply because they like the way they look, but most will be pinning because they also like the content.

And those are the people who will be sharing their pins with their friends and followers on Twitter and Facebook, too.

Use eye-catching, professional quality images that are relevant to your blog or website.

Optimum Image Size for Pinterest

Pinterest resizes all images down to 192-pixels wide for the thumbnail image when you’re looking at the board. When the viewer clicks on the thumbnail Pinterest displays the full size image up to 600 pixels wide. The height dimension is unlimited. Note: Pinterest does not resize up to 600-pixels, it simply displays the full size image UP TO 600 pixels.

Using an image that’s 600 pixels wide might not work on your blog or website but it does look better on Pinterest. The solution then is to use html to resize the image on your blog, that way, when your readers pin your images, they’ll still get that full size image. Most WordPress blogs will allow you to reduce image size while you’re uploading to your blog.

Where Do You Find Pinterest- Worthy Images?

I can’t stress enough how important it is to only use images you have a legal right to use. However, I’m 100% sure that some of you will go the easy way and simply rip off images from other websites. It will most likely bring you some traffic, but if you start getting too much attention, it might get you into legal trouble. With that in mind, you have a number of options for finding images:

1/ You can take your own pictures if you’re good with a camera,

2/ Look for Public Domain and Creative Commons images at Wikimedia.org, 3/ Check PublicDomainImages.net for lots of professional quality photos,

4/ Use Creative Commons Meta Search to search several search engines all at the same time (this one is not really known but it’s a goldmine!),

5/ Buy images at stock photo sites like iStockPhoto.com,

6/ Trade services with an artist, designer or photographer: I recently tripped over an artist who’s trying to break into the film design business. He lets me use his images in exchange for promotion;

7/ Use manufacturer’s images: This only works if you’re actually promoting that manufacturer’s item. Otherwise, it’s a definite copyright violation. But most manufacturers will look the other way when you use their images, as long as you’re promoting that product.

The Image Description and SEO

When you pin your own images using the Pin It Button in your bookmark toolbar this is what you’ll see:

You have the option to decide which of your pinboards you want to assign this image to, and we’ll get to that in a minute. But also, notice the description.

The description automatically defaults to the title of your blog post. If you have several images on the post, they’ll all have the same description.

Before you pin this image to your board you should add some more information to the description, including searchable keywords. You want people to see this image and then feel compelled to click through and read your blog post or article, so give them a reason to do just that and include a call to action.

Like a lot of other social networks, Pinterest also recognizes hashtags (#). I typically pin my images as soon as I publish my post and because my pin is the first pin I add in all the keywords, hashtags and links. That way, when people start repinning off of my original pin, all of that information stays with the image as they pass it around.

Even more important, I know my image is also going to pop up in searches on Twitter and Facebook because I’ve already done all the work.

You can also upload images to Pinterest directly from your hard drive or from a URL. When you click the “Add +” button in the navigation bar you’ll see this:

The “Add a Pin” button allows you to add a pin using a URL and “Upload a Pin” allows you to upload directly from your computer.

IMPORTANT TIP: When you pin an image using the URL, the link in the top right corner will lead to the web address of the image. Always remember to include a URL link in the image description. Both links will be live and clickable.

When you upload an image the link in the top right corner simply says “Uploaded by user” and it leads to the new pinterest URL. Again, remember to include a URL link in the image description to lead viewers to your blog or website.

PRO TIP: If you use the dollar sign ($) or the pound sign (£) followed by the price you’ll see a flag appear on your pin that shows the price of the item.

IMPORTANT TIP: As of this writing, Pinterest is stripping almost all html anchor text links from the description, including and especially affiliate links. But you can still include a URL link back to your blog or website. And shortened links (not affiliate links) are also acceptable.

What Happens When Your Readers Pin Your Images?

When your readers visit your blog and decide to pin one of your images they’re going to see that same image I showed earlier. Chances are they’re not going to make any changes to the description, and if they do, they’ll be adding personal information – like “This is my first choice for wedding invitations” or “Make this meatloaf for Dad’s birthday.”

In any case, if they do change the description it’s not going to do much for your SEO. And that doesn’t matter anyway because your link will always be on that image.

However, you can help things along a little by using relevant, attention grabbing, keyword rich article titles, which you should be doing anyway.

What Should You Pin to Start With?

Let’s assume you have nothing but text on your blog or website. No images whatsoever.

Rather than go back through dozens, or perhaps hundreds, of pages of content and try to find just the right image for each page, choose your top 20 posts to start with.

If necessary, clean up the content of these 20 posts to make them even stronger, pillar posts which you can use to link out to other posts on your blog.

Make sure these 20 posts are of the highest quality possibly and filled with great relevant content.

Find or create one or more high quality images for each of these 20 posts. Images that are eye-catching, exciting and colorful.

Now, pin those first 20 images, paying special attention to the descriptions.

Create Multiple Pinboards

When you first register with Pinterest you’ll have 3 or 4 default pinboards. You’ll probably want to delete these and create your own and you can create an unlimited number.

IMPORTANT TIP: The titles of your pinboards will have H3 tags so be sure to use keywords to improve your SEO.

Now, how many pinboards should you have? That’s entirely up to you. Keep in mind that Pinterest users have the option of either following your account as a whole or they can select individual boards to follow.

Some users have as few as 5 or 6 boards and others have dozens. You can pin the same image to multiple boards if you like, so if it benefits your business to have dozens of niche pinboards then do for it – so long as you can make them look full and attractive.

Here are some different ideas for naming your pinboards:

1/ Give them titles that correspond with the different categories on your blog,

2/ Look at your analytics and pick the top keywords people are using to find your content,

3/ If your blog appeals to a wide age range, break your pinboards down into age groups,

4/ If you have a recipe blog break you pingboards down into menu items: Desserts, breakfast, salads, etc.

5/ Name each pinboard for a different color,

6/ For fashion blogs you can have pinboards for shoes, dresses, slacks, blouses, etc.

7/ Break book review blogs down to authors or genre or categories like easy reading, summer fun, etc.

8/ For music blogs name each pinboard for a different year or decade or type of music.

The possibilities are limitless!

In the beginning you might not be quite sure what to name your boards and that’s fine. Just get a few set up and get started pinning. It’s very easy to go in and rearrange boards, moving images from one board to another, or even to delete boards completely. So don’t worry about making mistakes. Just get started pinning.

Setting Up Your Pinboards

By all means, set up a few boards and play around for a few minutes, that’s really all it will take for you to see just how easy it is to use Pinterest.

Go ahead! I’ll wait…….

Now that you have a few boards created, it’s time to go to your blog and pin those first few images we talked about – the images you set up on some of your stellar content. And here are some more tips to help get started. Use these tips and you’ll start seeing traffic from Pinterest right from the very first day.

Get Busy Pinning!

In the image above you can see I’ve set up 10 different pinboards and this is what your visitor sees when he comes to your Pinterest page.

IMPORTANT TIP: The five pinboards above the dashed red line are completely visible above the fold so these will be the first thing your visitor sees when he hits your page. Pay special attention to these five boards.

Each pinboard can hold an unlimited number of images and your visitors know this. But only five images per board are previewed from this home page.

Each pinboard has a cover image, which is the larger image on top, and then a row of 4 smaller images underneath. If you have at least 5 images pinned on the board then all of those boxes are filled and your visitors will be tempted to click through to view the whole board to see what else you have inside.

However, if you set up 10 pinboards to start with and you only pin one image to each board your visitors aren’t going to click through because they can already see everything you have pinned, right from your home page. No to mention the fact that they’ll think you’re not really a serious pinner and they won’t want to be bothered.

So the key is to set up just a few boards in the beginning. If you only have a few images to pin to start with only set up one board for each 4 or 5 images. For example, if you have 10 images set up 2 boards, if you have 14 images set up 3 boards, etc. You can always add more boards and rearrange images as you add more pins.

Now, the first image you pin becomes the pinboard cover and all other images fall in line underneath. However, to make your homepage more inviting you want to control that pinboard cover. Make it an image that just begs visitors to give it a click.

That’s easy enough to do. All you have to do is edit the pinboard cover. Simply hover your cursor over the board you want to edit and click on the “Edit Board Cover” icon that pops up. Now just choose which image you want for the cover and click “Save.

You might also want to reorganize the order of you pinboards and that’s easy, too. Just click on the Rearrange Boards icon next to “Edit Profile” at the top of the boards and you can drag and drop board into whatever arrangement you choose.

If you want to move an image from one board to another, that’s easy, too. Simply click on the pinboard that contains the image you want to move and then hove your cursor over the image you’re moving. Click on the edit button that appears at the top of the image and use the drop down menu to select the new board. Don’t forget to click “Save” when you’re done.

You can also edit image descriptions and links using this same routing. Remember, though: You can only legally edit links that are your own. That’s why it’s so important that you first upload the images to your own blog or website so the links are all pointing back to you.

It’s Time for Intermission

Whew! I’m glad that’s all out of the way. Pinterest is very easy to use but spelling it all out took a little longer than I thought it would. I highly recommend that you set up your account and just go tour the site for a while to see some of the creative ways people use Pinterest. Then, try pinning 3 or 4 images yourself so you can see how things work.

Here’s a few Pinterest users you might like to visit while you’re sipping that soft drink:

Jane Wang: Jane isn’t a celebrity or the owner of a big corporation. She’s a very nice woman who just happens to be the mother of Ben Silbermann, one of the co- founders of Pinterest. And, with more than 3.2 million followers, she’s also the most popular user on Pinterest.

The Perfect Palette: The Perfect Palette is a wedding blog and when you look at their Pinterest boards you’ll see that make great use of color and they have hundreds of exciting images. You’re immediately tempted to start clicking their boards whether you’re planning a wedding or not. They also have more than 264,000 followers.

Kate Spade: Kate Spade is a world-famous fashion design house in New York yet, while browsing their pinboards you’ll notice that most of their pins are just fun, colorful images. They realize that it takes much more than sales hype to build a community and they have more than 72,000 followers to prove it.

Wall Street Journal: For a unique twist, check out the Wall Street Journal’s quotes page. If your blog isn’t conducive to images maybe you could pin some of the best clips from your content.

According to an article at Business Insider in July of 2012, “Given Pinterest’s female- to-male ratio, almost all of the most-followed brands target women, a lot of them almost exclusively. In general, accounts that do well post high quality, colorful, and artsy pictures of: Weddings, Fashion, Food and Cupcakes.

However, like I said earlier, don’t let that scare you. One of the biggest reasons female-type categories seem to do better at Pinterest is because women were the first to jump on the bandwagon and run with it.

Men, and male-oriented content, are becoming increasingly popular on the site. All it takes is some creativity and a little online marketing know-how to develop a following regardless of what type of site you’re promoting.

And that’s what’s coming up next – the fun stuff!

How to Use Pinterest to Get More Traffic To Your Blog

Even with just 15 to 20 pins, if you follow my advices, you’ll start seeing traffic coming to your blog from Pinterest and, like all the other social networks, the more effort you put in the better your results. Earlier I discussed how Pinterest differs from Twitter and Facebook and the other social sites. Now, let’s take a look at their similarities.

Today’s Internet users are much more savvy than they were just a few short years ago. They recognize spammy sales links and they’re no longer foolish enough to follow them. Not only that, they won’t follow you either once the see that’s what you’re doing.

To be successful in any of the social networks you have to become part of the community and it’s even more important at Pinterest. The fact that the site is based on image sharing means most users are already on guard against copyright violations, which also means they’re less tolerant of any kind of online spam and abuse.

Pinteret is an open network, like Twitter. You can follow anyone you want and they do not have to follow you back. A few years ago it was considered good manners to automatically follow back someone who followed you, but these days, again, users are a lot more wary. More often than not they’re going to check you out first before they just start following.

One of your first goals with Pinterest is to pin your own images, from your own blog. If you choose great images chances are you’ll get a few repins right off the bat, and that’s what you’re really interested in- those repins. That means your link is spread throughout the Pinterest community.

Now, to encourage more repins you need to get involved in the community. Search the site for relevant images pinned by other users and repin them to your own

boards. It’s like re-Tweeting a Tweet or Sharing a Facebook link. You’re participating in the community and it doesn’t take any time at all.

Some bloggers have a difficult time sharing links from other blogs, thinking they’re sending traffic to the competition. All I can say is, you have to stop thinking like that. Other users notice when you’re sharing links and pins and soon they start thinking of you as part of the community.

Once that happens, everyone starts clicking your links and repinning your pins. They visit your blog, they share your pins and your links with their friends on Twitter and Facebook. And before you know it, you have a ton of traffic coming into your blog.

But don’t take my word for it. Take a look at this Pinterest account: Sherry @ Young House Love and visit the corresponding blog at YoungHouseLove.com. You don’t get almost 850,000 followers by focusing solely on sales and promotion. You have to become a member of the community first if you want to generate more than a couple dozen followers.

And those are real followers, I’m talking about. Followers who actually click the links on your pins and come and visit your blog. You might have a million Twitter and Facebook followers and if they’re visiting you blog, too, then you’re doing something right.

But if they’re not visiting your blog then it doesn’t really matter how many followers you have, does it? So quit focusing on sales and traffic for a while and instead focus on just becoming a member of the community. You’ll see. In just a few short weeks you’ll really start seeing an increase in traffic.

OK. Enough of the lecture. Let’s get on with it!

Actionable Tips To Supercharge Your Pinterest Traffic

Tip #1 – Connect with Relevant Users

You have two groups of people to connect with. First, your targeted audience, the people who would most benefit from what you’re offering on your blog or website.

The second group is other bloggers in relevant niches who can help share your pins. (Assuming, of course, that you return the favor.)

If appropriate, repin images to your own pinboards. If you link an image but it’s not relevant to your website, don’t just ignore it. Show your appreciation by giving it a Like and leaving a comment. Engage with the community and the community will engage with you.

Tip #2 – Focus on Targeted Pins

Just like your blog you don’t want to confuse your target audience by pinning images that aren’t relevant, especially when it comes to repins. Remember, you’re using this Pinterest account to help promote your business. If you want to collect images of cute puppies and apple pie recipes, set up a personal Pinterest account for your own use.

While you can’t alter the source link on a repin it’s perfectly acceptable to alter the description, adding in your own keywords and hashtags (#). And don’t forget to include a URL back to your own website. Use a site like Bit.ly to shorten your links so they don’t look so ugly in your descriptions.

Tip #4 – Become the “Go-To” Source

Think of Pinterest like a bookmarking service with images, because that’s basically how people use it. Set up a pinboard or two where you pin content from other people and set yourself up as the Go-To Source for information in your niche. Never be afraid to share information from other sources. You’ve seen me do it right here in this guide. Sometimes it’s better to send your followers right to the source rather than try to explain it yourself. Plus, your readers appreciate that you’re willing to point them in the right direction.

Tip #5 – Generate Activity

The more active pins appear at the top of the category pages and on the Active page. An “Active” pin is one with repins, likes and comments. Ask questions in your pin descriptions to get people to comment. Share your pins on Twitter and Facebook to encourage likes and repins. Make sure you have a Pin It button in a prominent location on your blog so users can instantly and easily pin your content.

Tip #6 – Use the Gift Category

The Gift Category is one of the most popular categories on Pinterest. Searchers looking for gift ideas can sort by price. For your pin to appear in this category all you have to do is use either the dollar ($) or pound (£) sign along with the price.

One word of caution: Don’t overdo it here. Remember, while other social sites might tell you they don’t like Spam, Pinterest users really mean it!

Tip #7 – Focus on Your Followers

Pinterest is almost totally transparent. You can easily see who your followers are, who they’re following, and what they’re pinning. Spend some time analyzing this information to see what kind of images is attracting the most repins and followers.

Which images are getting comments? How many followers do your followers have? In short – get in there and start learning about the community.

Tip #8 – Mention Your Followers on Your Pins

Everybody loves a little extra special attention. Pinterest uses the @ attribute just like Twitter. Give a shout out to your followers just like you do on Twitter. In fact, you might be the first to start Follow Friday on Pinterest!

Tip #9 – Use Pinterest as an Extension of Your Blog

All of your pins don’t have to be posted on your blog. Use your Pinterest boards as an extension of your blog. Throughout the day I often find myself saying, “Oh! I should write a blog post about this. My readers would love this information.” But we don’t always have time to sit down and write out a full blown blog post, do we?

Share those little tidbits on Pinterest. It’s quick and easy to pin an image. Just add a few words of content – and don’t forget a URL – and add it to a board.

PRO TIP: Pay attention to how many of these images are being repinned. If you notice there’s a lot of repinning happening, then it’s time to sit down and write that full blown blog post! And don’t forget to edit that image to include the link!

Tip #10 – Use Pinterest RSS Feeds for Blog Content

Each of your pinboards has its own RSS feed and you can also pull a feed for your entire account. Your User Feed looks like this:

http://pinterest.com/username/feed.rss

and your pinboard feed looks like this:

http://pinterest.com/username/board/rss

Set up a board, or two or three, for those extra images you’re pinning that aren’t directly connected to one of your blog posts. Then use the feed from those boards to pull them onto your blog. WordPress blogs have an RSS widget you can just pull into the sidebar and there are several very nice plug-ins you can use if you want to use your pins as blog posts.

PRO TIP: If you use Squidoo lenses, Weebly blogs, Blogger blogs or various other Web 2.0 properties to promote your blog or website, most of these sites also allow the use of RSS feeds. Add your Pinterest feeds wherever you can for extra exposure.

PRO TIP: Promote Your Pinboard Feeds. You’d be surprised at how many bloggers use RSS feeds to populate their own blogs. In fact, if you’re not already promoting RSS subscriptions to your blog, you should be.

Most bloggers think that RSS subscribers are average readers who just want to get an email notification about new blog posts. But start paying closer attention to some of the blogs you read. Over in the sidebar or in some of the categories they’re using content they’re pulling from other blogs.

Place a banner or link on your bar to promote your Pinterest feed, not only to your readers but to other bloggers who need content, as well.

Tip #11 – Send Your Pins to Facebook

Unfortunately, at this time, Pinterest doesn’t allow you to send your pins to your news stream or your Fan page. Your pins will only post to your timeline. I don’t know about you but I rarely visit someone’s timeline or fan page. If it doesn’t appear in my news stream I don’t see it.

So always remember to manually post a few of your pins in your Status bar and on your Fan Page.

PRO TIP: There are several software programs on the market that allow you to use your Pinterest RSS feeds to automatically send all your new pins to Twitter, Facebook and other online locations. I’m not going to recommend a specific program because I haven’t tried any. But I do recommend TwitterFeed.com. This is a free service that allows you to simply enter an unlimited number of RSS feeds and have the content automatically posted to your Twitter stream and/or your Facebook news stream.

I use TwitterFeed.com to promote my blog posts, my pins, my articles that I’ve published at various directories and even content from fellow bloggers I network with. And you can post to multiple Twitter accounts and multiple Facebook accounts or pages.

If you’re going to go full-throttle with your pinning, you might even want to consider setting up a separate Twitter account just to promote your pins!

You probably have buttons and links to your Twitter and Facebook accounts posted everywhere you turn. Don’t forget to add a button or link to your Pinterest account, too.

Tip #13 – Pin Frequently and Regularly

You’ve probably already seen this with your blog. The more you post the better your traffic. Slack off for a week or two and your traffic takes a huge dive. Unfortunately, that’s the way life is on the Internet. People have a very short attention span and if they visit your blog a few times and see that you haven’t posted anything new they just start drifting away.

That’s also how it works with Pinterest. While having a large number of followers isn’t quite as important because of the way people use the site, you do want to keep the followers you have. Pin regularly and frequently to keep people coming back for more. Remember, all of your pins don’t have to come from your blog. So pin, pin, pin!

Tip #14 – Spend Time On Your Images

Not every image you pin has to be an amazing work of art but you’ll see a big difference in the traffic you generate if you spend time choosing your images. Mix it up a little, too. Throw in quotes, jokes and motivational messages. And don’t forget tips, too. Some of the most popular pins are nothing but a nice background image with some text printed on it.

PRO TIP: Don’t forget that you can change the cover image on each board. If you notice a particular image is getting a lot of repins, make it one of your board covers to attract more attention.

Tip #15 – Don’t Forget About Videos

There’s no doubt about it – people love videos. And you can pin YouTube videos on any of your pinboards. If you rely heavily on how-to videos then set up a pinboard and start pinning! And if you’re not already using videos then it’s time to get started.

Tip #16 – Collaborate with Other Bloggers

There’s been a huge shift in attitude among bloggers lately and they’re realizing that they can accomplish more and drive more traffic when they work together as a team. I work with several other bloggers in complimentary niches and we all send traffic back and forth between our sites. Over the past two years, instead of losing followers we’ve all developed an even larger base of loyal readers who appreciate the fact that one of us will always be able to answer their questions.

With Pinterest you can allow other bloggers access to specific boards, allowing you to collaborate on different projects. Either create a new board or go to an existing board and click on the “Edit” button underneath and you’ll see a space at the bottom of the other page where you can allow other Pinners.

Now, what do I mean by “collaborate on projects?” Let’s say you have a book review blog focused on the Vampire genre. Some of your blog followers probably also read Zombie books or romance novels or horror, too. If you collaborated with several other book review bloggers you could each send your traffic from blog to blog to blog, widening each of your circles of influence.

So you could each set up pinboards and allow each other access, that way you wouldn’t have to worry about visiting all of those other blogs every day to pin their new content to your boards.

Tip #17 – Network All Your Social Media Sites

If you haven’t already done it you need to start networking all of your social media sites, wherever possible. Use Twitterfeed to automatically post your content to Facebook and Twitter. Link your Facebook account to Twitter so whatever you share to Facebook automatically goes out in a Tweet. Link Twitter to Facebook so your Tweets automatically go to your Facebook stream. Link both accounts to your LinkedIn account, etc.

In other words, link everything together and automate as much as possible. Most people shy away from using social media simply because of the time it takes to post everything everywhere it needs to be posted. But most of the social networks have built-in applications to let you automate the process.

Tip #18 – Track Pins Coming From Your Website

Want to see which of your pins are attracting the most interest?

Follow this link:

http://pinterest.com/source/ YOUR-URL/

PRO TIP: Now that you know which pins are most popular, go to the page they link to a give it a good housecleaning. Improve the content, if necessary. And, since you know you have eyeballs on that page, include a prominent call to action.

Tip #19 – Share It On Pinterest, Too

If you’re not already sharing relevant content from other blogs and websites with your Facebook and Twitter friends, you should be. It’s a great way to open discussions, encourage debate and engage your followers. Rather than sending your followers away, it actually increases their loyalty to you.

While you’re sharing those other blog posts with your friends and followers, share it with you Pinterest followers, too, and pin it to one of your boards. And don’t forget… What should you add to the description? Your own URL!

IMPORTANT TIP: If you have time, create a relevant blog post to go along with this pin and reference it in the description. For example, your description might read, “This Apple Pie Recipe is awesome, but follow this link and I’ll show you how to make it even better!”

Top Secret Tip: List Building With Pinterest

Instead of working your tail off to try to drive traffic to a squeeze page, look to your pins to see which are the most popular and add an opt-in form to the page those pins lead to.

You already know those posts are getting traffic from those pins. If an opt-in form wouldn’t be appropriate in the middle of that blog post, then get a call to action in there that leads to your squeeze page.

Take advantage of this Pinterest traffic to help build your email list with Aweber!

Pinterest For CPC and Affiliate Marketers

So far we’ve talked about how Pinterest can help increase traffic for your blog and a lot of that advice is applicable for CPC and Affiliate Marketers, too. However, we both know the rules are a little different in this arena. So let’s take a look at a fews tips applicable to this area of Internet Marketing, too.

Don’t even waste your time trying to get an affiliate link into your pins. Currently, Pinterest is stripping out almost every affiliate link they come across. Even if you manage to get one past the filters, eventually they’ll find it and strip it out, too.

Instead, you’re going to have to send your Pinterest traffic to one of your own squeeze pages, which isn’t such a bad idea anyway because then you can get them on your list.

Some marketers don’t use images on their squeeze pages or landing pages, and that’s fine. There are a lot of good reasons not to. However, this means the images you pin won’t have a direct link to your squeeze page. So don’t forget to include a URL link in your image description.

C/ Optimize Your Landing Pages for Conversions

Remember, people are going to be arriving on your squeeze pages and landing pages from Pinterest, a site that plays on the fact that people have a very short attention span. So you automatically know that everyone coming from your pins has their finger poised and ready to click away within mere seconds.

Optimize your landing page to grab their attention as soon as their eyeballs hit your page!

D/ Stay Relevant

If you’re working in the CPC and Affiliate arenas then you already know how important image relevancy is when it comes to your conversion rates. Pinterest is another opportunity for you to promote your offers and, while you don’t have to pay for this advertising space, it does cost you time.

Time, as we all know, equals money. Stay relevant with your images. Yes, images of beautiful, half-naked women will always get the best click through rates. But you want conversions once they hit your squeeze page. Of course, it doesn’t hurt to mix in a few of those images of beautiful, half-naked women so you can build your Pinterest following while you’re at it!

E/ Split Test Your Pins For Better Conversions

We all know about split testing and tweaking, split testing and tweaking. You’re looking at your incoming traffic to see which of your squeeze pages is getting the better conversion rate. But don’t forget to look at your pins to see which image is getting the best repin rate. Use Tip #18 to see which of your images are the most popular.

How To Get Even More Traffic From Pinterest

In the beginning you’re going to be concerned about pinboard titles and what images to pin and where your links are pointing and all the other things that go along with building a new marketing campaign. Eventually, though, once you see the benefits of Pinterest, you’re going to want to get a little creative. After all, you want more than your fair share of Pinterest traffic – you want it all!

One of the great features of Pinterest is that you when you’re ready to get creative you don’t need to delete everything and start all over again. You can simply create new pinboards and move things around, move old pinboards to the bottom or set them out to the curb if they’re no longer useful. Kind of like rearranging the furniture at home.

So don’t put off getting creative and having some Pinterst fun just because you think it’s going to be time consuming. Strike while the iron’s hot!

Bonus Tip #1 – Get Creative With Your Pinboards

1/ Use the cover images on your pinboards to create one huge, striking, overall design,

2/ Use different colors for backgrounds and give each board a big number,

3/ Chop one huge image into multiple pieces and use them in order to create one large image,

4/ Put a different relevant quote or tip on each pinboard cover,

5/ Link images in one pinboard to images in another so your followers end up seeing all your pins,

6/ Use clever, attention-grabbing names for your boards,

7/ Design a caricature or logo to add in the corner of each of your board covers.

Bonus Tip #2 – Make It Fun For People To Follow You

1/ Run a contest on your blog and have people go find a hidden image. Include a link and a password to a protected blog post. And tell them they’ll get a free download if they can find their way to the post.

2/ Encourage your readers to repin your images by offering a prize for the person who starts the longest chain of repins.

3/ Start a scavenger hunt and include clues in your image descriptions, sending your followers from one pin to the next. Make sure you have them repin a few along the way for extra points.

4/ Even better, send your followers on a scavenger hunt but have them repin all the images you send them to. Have them create a new pinboard on their own accounts and after they’ve found all the ‘treasure’ have them send you a link to their pinboard for confirmation. First one back wins a prize!

5/ Tell your readers to pin pictures of themselves holding your products or reading your blog and have them tag you with @username in the description. You’ll get a message that they mentioned you and then you can build a special board to promote your followers.

IMPORTANT TIP: Always remember – make sure you have URL links with your images and make sure the posts or pages they lead to contain some of your best content.

Bonus Tip #3- Focus On The Images And The Traffic Will Follow

1/ Pinterest is all about the images. And I can’t stress this enough: If you focus on the images the traffic will follow.

2/ If you’re having a hard time coming up with free images then don’t be afraid to check out sites like iStockPhoto.com. They even have a Bargain Bin where you can buy images for just a buck or two.

3/ Consider buying a good quality background image that you can use over and over again for tips, quotes and silly messages. That way you’ll get more bang for your buck. It might seem like an expense but think about this: What if that’s extra dollar or two results in an image that goes viral?

Bonus Tip #4 – Use Fiverr.com

For really original artwork to personalize your content and really make your brand stand out from the crowd, check out some of the great artists and designers at Fiverr.com.

For just $5 you can find someone to draw cartoons or caricatures, design a logo or background image, or take professional quality photos. You can even find people to make videos and upload them to YouTube for you. Then all you’ll have to do is go pin them to one of your boards.

The Real Power Of Pinterest

As stated earlier, Pinterest does carry a certain amount of cache in the SEO department. Your profile link is a do-follow link, leading directly back to the root domain of your blog or website and that link appears on every single one of your pins. You also have do-follow links within the image description which also lead to referral traffic.

But the real power of Pinterest is that it allows you to visually brand yourself or your company. If you choose the right images, very few words are necessary, because… A Picture is WORTH a Thousand Words.

By using Pinterest you can gain followers who have a real interest in your blog or website. They’see your images and the “Billboard Effect” takes over. They’re already sold on your brand before they even click that link. They share your images and their friends are already sold because they respect the source of the recommendation.

Throughout this guide I’ve reminded you a number of times to remember to always include a URL link in your pins. However, if your main reason for using Pinterest is just to generate links through repins then you’re missing the whole point. In fact, you’re missing the whole point of Social Media Marketing in general, not just with Pinterest.

Focus first on building a targeted community and developing a reputation as an authority in your niche. When you do, you’ll end up with more traffic than you ever thought possible!