It’s the fastest-growing social media channel by overall member growth. Its popularity is totally surpassing Twitter and it brings in 3X the traffic of Twitter, LinkedIn, and Reddit combined.
So, what is this marketing wizard?
It’s Pinterest, of course!
It used to be that the only way to pull in traffic to your website was through paid ads. Not only are those days long gone, but often you’ll now find that PPC ads are a big turn-off to your potential readers.
Nowadays, it’s all about the power of social media referrals.
Believe me: I am the biggest advocate for the use of Pinterest as a marketing tool.
In fact, I’ve been generating 30K unique visits per month from Pinterest alone, and it’s time for you to do the same.
The Pinterest 411
Before we get started, it’s important we set out the basics. There are a few things you ought to know about Pinterest before diving in.
- Understand your target audience. That way you’ll reach more of the right people. Put yourself in your target audience’s shoes: what would they be searching? Design your title and captions accordingly.
- Don’t focus on followers. Pinterest is the only social network where followers really don’t matter. It’s all about re-pins, likes, and comments: basically, it’s about the engagement.
- Pinterest is a powerful search engine. Especially with new updates such as Smart Feed, Pinterest tailors the way pins are viewed on a user’s feed to help provide more relevant content based on their Likes, Interests, and Boards they follow.
Got it? Awesome. Now let’s get your Pinterest pumping!
#1 – Amp Up Your Pinterest Profile
It’s simple, really: the better designed your Pinterest profile, the higher your number of referrals. By optimizing your profile in every way possible for your visitors, you’ll receive more engagement on your posts and, consequently, more jumps over to your website.
Sounds good, right?
So let’s start at the beginning. Some of these are going to sound simple. Yet, you’d be surprised at how often they are overlooked.
And as Pinterest continues to expand, these starter steps will become more and more crucial.
- If you have a personal account, convert it to a business one. It’s free and easy to do, makes you look more professional, and opens you up to many more services than you’d receive on a personal account (just like Pinterest Analytics, where you can track your performance).
- Add keywords beside your name. For example, instead of writing your name, add a keyword you’re known for. Take a look at how I did mine: Pauline Cabrera – Web Designer. Whenever people search for the word “Web Designer” my profile shows up in the “Pinners” list.
- Look Savvy. Build trust by completing your profile. Make sure to include links to social networks, verify your website URL, create a custom URL, and upload a profile picture relevant to your industry.
- Add important keywords to your bio. This can help boost you up in Google search rankings for people searching for those keywords, as well as pinners using the Pinterest search engine. Every little bit helps!
- Add your location. This will help you boost local traffic, if that is a priority for your brand.
- Turn off your “Search Privacy” settings. You want your boards and profile to appear in search engine results, right? Then you need to make sure you turn off this setting within your Account Settings.
- Don’t abuse keywords. You’ll just look spammy. Make sure your keywords flow naturally through your profile.
- Put your best boards in the top row. As a general rule, you should always keep your most attractive or important content “above the fold” on your website (the part of the screen that is first visible to visitors). That way, visitors are more likely to stay on the page and scroll down to see more. These could be your most popular or updated boards, or those relevant to current events.
#2 – Create and Optimize Your Boards
Next, it’s time to get creative and boost your visibility. Having a visually appealing and powerfully communicative set of boards will grab your visitor’s attention, hold it, and drive visitors towards your website. You’ll need to optimize your boards to make sure you reach your target audience.
Now we’re getting to the fun part.
- Prettify your boards. Clear, organized boards with gorgeous cover photos make for a Pinterest account that is irresistible to follow.
- Use descriptive titles with keywords. Your Pinterest board could show up in the first pages of Google’s search result if it’s optimized for the search. So, make your boards as descriptive as possible. The more specific, the better.
When you search for “30th Birthday Ideas,” a Pinterest board shows up in the first page of the search results. Amazing, right? So when people click that, the owner would send traffic to the pins added in it.
- Create more relevant boards using targeted keywords. For example, I’ve created a general board called “Social Media Marketing,” but will also create targeted ones such as “Pinterest Marketing for Bloggers” and “Facebook Marketing for Small Businesses.”
Create a spreadsheet where you can brainstorm keywords that are relevant to each other and refer back to it for inspiration. You can even use the Pinterest search suggestions to find the keywords that regularly crop up together! (For an even more advanced approach, give these tools a try: http://keywordtool.io/ or https://ads.google.com/intl/en_uk/home/tools/keyword-planner/
#3 – Pin Like a PRO
Building on this, you’re now ready to get pinning. And remember: it isn’t as easy as just pinning images here, there, and everywhere. You need to be on your A-game if you truly want to harness the marketing potential of Pinterest.
- Use large, tall, eye-catching images. All your images should be 735 pixels wide by 1102 pixels long: if your images are smaller than this, they’ll be overlooked by a Pinner’s home feed. I use Photoshop to resize, or Canva if I’m in a hurry (a great resource for non-graphic designers!).
- Write a detailed and thoughtful description with your main keywords.Avoid stuffy descriptions. Use keywords that make sense alongside genuinely interesting content.
- Add the correct URL’s. Always use the actual URL rather than the main one. Pinterest doesn’t allow URL shorteners like bit.ly, so avoid using those.
- Use search-friendly file names for images. Google can’t read images. What it can read is your image file names. When you’re saving the images you want to upload, use file names with one or two keywords. Basically, don’t save with the default numbering from your camera: change it to something like “chocolate-wedding-cake.jpg,” or whatever it is your image features.
- Implement rich pins. Rich pins are gold for businesses: these “super” pins allow you to include additional information (such as price, availability, and location) about the image, pulled directly from your website. So they automatically update as your site does, standing out and make shopping and finding information far easier. Find out how to add your own here.
- Use a catchy title. Pins that feature “How-To’s,” checklists, and infographics always work well for me. The key is to not give all the information away in the image, to help you get more click-throughs.
- Avoid hashtags in the pin description. Pinterest has officially announced that if you use too many hashtags in your pin description, it could demote your pin’s search ranking. Why? Because they see it as spammy. So, avoid it like the plague.
- Use different images and titles. It’s important to find out which works best. For me, I like to experiment with various visuals to see if one outperforms the other. It’s paramount for your own market research to find out what your audience finds most attractive. Here are some examples. Based on Pinterest Analytics, the left one sends me more traffic than the right one.
#4 – Pin Strategically
You wouldn’t implement a business plan without a strategy, so why should your Pinterest marketing be any different? A strong strategy for your Pinterest activity will enable you to maximize your return by attracting a higher percentage of viewers and, as a result, more traffic to your website.
But how do you do that?
- Pin regularly. As with all social media, an active and consistent presence will increase your chance of generating traffic and make you a trustworthy source. Courtney from Bufferapp found that between 5 and 30 pins per day is optimal. The best times to post are 2:00 – 4:00am and evening hours every day, as well as 5:00pm on a Friday and 8:00 – 11:00pm on Saturdays. It’s also worth making use of Pinterest scheduling tools such as Tailwind or Viraltag. They’ll help you figure out the best times to post throughout the day.
- Schedule your pins. It helps you avoid flooding your followers’ feeds, spacing out your content and keeping it fresh and continuously updated. Again, use Tailwind or ViralTag to schedule your pins.
- Pin multiple types of content. I’m talking infographics, GIFs, and videos, as well as straight-up images. Show variety and keep your page exciting and dynamic.
- Re-pin your best pins to different boards or group boards. Maybe some new pinners haven’t seen your best content yet? This is a great way to bring it to their attention. You may use the Pinterest Analytics or Tailwind analytics (if you have one) to find out your top pins.
- Track your performance. Use Pinterest Analytics to see how people are describing your pins and what they are pinning alongside your content. This can be useful in knowing how to arrange your boards. You can also track the demographic of your audience and that can be useful in planning the type of content to post in the future.
- Avoid self promotion. Pinterest has said that it is “…designed to share content you love, so don’t use it purely for self promotion.” And that means no selfies.
- Don’t just pin the same content on two boards at the same time. At least give a few hours’ delay between the two.
- Fix broken or dead links. Pinterest focuses on the quality of user experience, so if you’re not managing dead links or expired pages, expect consequences. You can use tools like Board Booster or Pin4Ever for help with this.
- Share pins related to current trends and events. It’s been reported that pins based on trending topics receive a 94% click-through rate… so it’s worth staying current.
Still not sure what’s the best content to be pinning? Check out these interesting stats on how to determine what to pin:
- Over 80% of pins are re-pins. Be that extra 20% that gets re-pinned daily. Pin as much directly from your website as possible, or upload images on their own.
- Different days of the week have varied “most popular” topics. Mondays are best for fitness, Tuesdays for tech, Wednesdays for quotes, Thursdays for fashion, Fridays for humor, Saturdays for travel, and Sundays for food and DIY crafts.
- Tutorials, guides, DIY, and recipe pins receive a 42% higher click-through rate than other pins.
- Medium-light images receive 20 times more re-pins than those that are dark.
- Images without faces get re-pinned 23% more than those that contain faces.
#5 – Delete or Optimize Underperforming Pins
This is a tricky one. While it’s important to only hold onto boards and pins with high engagement (as this helps your profile scores–and hence your website traffic–shoot up), it can be difficult to know when to cut the ties. Why? Because there’s always the risk that you’ll delete a pin too soon and lose out on sudden traffic.
It’s a marathon, not a sprint. It can take time for your pin to make its way around, due to Smart Feed.
So how do you get around this?
For me, I always try to optimize my pins with low engagement (think those with 1 – 2 pins or comments). Then, get promoting.
One way to do this is by joining some “pinning” trains on social media (Facebook and Google+ groups) where admins post threads encouraging members to pin other people’s pins. Give it a few weeks and see if you gain any response.
If your pins are very old and outdated with really low engagement, delete them. And if they look spammy, get rid of them!
Here’s another handy method for you to quickly get rid of your low level content using Board Booster:
- Create a temporary public board in your Pinterest account. This will be the new home of your low-engagement pins.
- Using Board Booster’s Pin Mover, set the query to move all pins with less than 2 re-pins to the temporary board. Set tool to search multiple boards and duplicates (this could take any anything up to a few hours!)
- Run the search. Keep in mind that Board Booster will charge 1 cent for each moved pin.
- You’ll now see that all the pins in your temporary board have less than 2 re-pins. Delete the board and the pins in them.
#6 – Make Your Website Pinterest-Friendly
What’s the use in making your Pinterest the most superbly optimized network ever for your brand if your website isn’t doing its bit?
You need to make sure that your site is perfectly geared-up to complement your Pinterest. The two need to work hand-in-hand.
- Use Pin It hover buttons on your content. Remember: the higher engagement on your pins, the more visible you are to Pinterest. This is down to Pinterest Smart Feed, which shows the “higher quality” pins (AKA, those with larger levels of engagement) at the start of a search. Drive engagement on every platform. Take a look at the featured image on this blog post; see how I have the “pin” button? That shows up when people hover over my images. I’m using SumoMe for this.
- Add a follow button. The more followers, the more chance you’ll receive new re-pins.
- Include “pinnable” images in every blog post. You know the drill: visually enticing, tall, and with text.
- Fill out the ALT tag on your images. This is the information that Pinterest pulls in for the Pin description. It needs to be short, interesting, and keyword-rich. Don’t bother repeating the post name. Instead, give an engaging introduction or ask a question to your viewers. Here’s a tutorial on how you can do this. See the ALT text part?
#7 – Get Social
As with all digital marketing, community management is vital in raising engagement and boosting traffic. You need to keep it as social as possible and really put the time in to spread the word about your brand.
- Be responsive. Reply to your comments and like pins of people who have re-pinned your content. Remember to tag their names when responding to comments. Just dedicate about 10 minutes to this per day. It’s totally worth it.
- Follow people in your niche. In particular, influencers and those who post quality pins.
#8 – Link Up with Established Pinners
It’s a foolproof Pinterest tactic. By collaborating, you’ll find it easier to not only curate boards, but also grow your own followers.
You can do this by:
- Creating your own collaborative boards and getting others to join you.
- Joining high-value group boards. Check out pingroupie.com to find some cool ones!
#9 – Use Promoted Pins
Promoted pins bring attention to your most important content and helps you to create traffic and engagement campaigns. But if you’re investing money in those pins, you need to make sure you are amplifying their effectiveness.
Ready for the good news? It’s easy as pie!
- Use your most compelling images with a text overlay.
- Include detailed descriptions with a call to action.
- Promote images with the vertical aspect ratio – the bigger and more dominant, the more noticeable they will be on pinner feeds. The result? More click-throughs.
#10 – Keep Up With Changes
We all know that the Internet is constantly changing, and nowhere moreso than in the world of social media. Now you’ve put in all the leg work, it’s important that you keep on top of it. Be sure to track any changes in Pinterest by monitoring the Pinterest blog. That way, you’ll always be able to react and keep your content fresh and relevant.
And, hey, presto! You’re now ready to truly harness the power of Pinterest in bringing traffic to your website. With these simple tools, you can now maximize the benefits of this up-and-coming social channel.
And don’t forget to let me know how you get on in the comments below!
7 Reasons Why Its Important to Have a Niche
A niche is a focused, targetable segment of the market. You are a specialist providing a product or service that focuses on the specific needs of an identified client group, which cannot or are not being addressed in such detail by the dominant providers in your industry.
But it is important to understand that there is, in fact, a difference between your identified niche and your target market.
Your target market is a specific identifiable group of people you work with, e.g. women in the city, technology start-ups, creative agency owners, small and medium businesses in a particular revenue range.
Your niche is the service you specialise in offering to your target market.
For example, standing desks are aimed at professionals who work in front of a computer for long periods of time. This is a well-defined niche.
Here are 7 reasons why it is important to have a niche:
To avoid spreading yourself too thin
Instead of the risk of spreading yourself too thin in saying that ‘everyone’ is your potential client, niche marketing will help you to focus on a specific grouping of people, and particularly on what their needs and wants are.
You will unlikely to be able to serve everybody, so it is important to focus on what you do best and aim it at a specific group of people who will likely buy what you offer.
It is important to find out what is important to them, what blogs they read, their beliefs and attitudes, who the main influencers in that network are.
Having these insights means that you can develop products or services specifically aimed at this group, based on your thorough knowledge and understanding of what they are interested in.
It’s easier to identify and target potential clients and partners to work with
As the pool of people that exists for a niche is smaller than its mainstream equivalent, it will be easier to identify potential clients and partners to work with, as you can be much more targeted and laser-focused with your marketing efforts.
It’s easier to become an expert and well known in your niche
Niching means it will be much easier for others to understand ‘what you do’ and ‘for whom’, which will make it easier to position you as an expert in your field. As this group is more targeted and of a smaller size, you can rapidly become well known within this group of people.
Your profile and overall visibility will increase within this group. It is a small world after all!
More and better referrals
Since it will be easier for others to understand what you do and for whom, it, in turn, becomes much easier for them to refer more and better quality clients to you that fit the profile of your ideal client, as you have built up trust, credibility, visibility, and it is very clear as to what your specialism is.
The more unique you are, the less competition you will have
There will be less competition, as you will provide the specific services or create the specific products for the specific people you are seeking to help in a specific way that meets their needs. The BIG advantage of becoming more unique is that usually it can’t be easily replicated by your competition!
Marketing becomes much easier
Effective niche marketing should really help with your marketing, positioning and branding as you will attract the ‘right people’ much more easily and quickly. People with similar interests tend to behave and are attracted to similar things. This means that many of your clients will do all the hard work for you as they will refer you more and more because your profile, credibility and influence are readily apparent within your tribe.
More repeat business
As you are able to provide an increasingly better service or product, based on your specific client’s needs, it is likely that you will get more repeat business – people will come back for more, and as an added benefit will often start spending more with you as your relationship grows with them.
How to Increase the Loading Speed of Your Website
Imagine this: your e-commerce site is losing visitors on Black Friday or the recent record-setting Cyber Monday – traditionally the two biggest shopping days of the year.
What’s worse is that this situation is totally unnecessary. You could have kept those visitors if you had just reduced your website’s load time.
By neglecting something so important, you are losing a significant amount of money and will continue to lose revenue until you tackle this problem.
Why Speed Matters
Speed matters first because it is one aspect of an efficient, high-functioning website. Nowadays, when most people access the Internet on the go from mobile devices, site speed has become especially important.
But site speed also matters because people’s attention spans are getting increasingly shorter. Data shows that almost half of all internet users expect website pages to load in less than two seconds. If your site takes longer than three seconds to load, 40% of users will move on. And speed matters to Google.
Ever since the introduction of Google’s Mobile-First Index, site speed is Google’s official ranking factor. This means slow load time means decreased rankings, hence poor site visibility.
Site speed has a huge effect on usability and conversions. If people are leaving because your site is too slow, they are not converting.
No wonder many companies are focusing on improving site speed nowadays. Pathwwway, a product design and development growth-oriented company, names load time any business’s top priority.
For these reasons, web developers say that increasing site speed is “an essential skill for any website owner.”
Here’s an extensive list of strategies for speeding up WordPress (WP) websites in particular.
Evaluate Your Site
First, you should objectively test the speed of your site. To do so, you can use GTmetrix or Pingdom, both of which provide a detailed analysis of what (if anything) is causing your site to lag.
These tools measure if your site is too slow and you can also use them to continually monitor its performance. Remember that your goal should be for your pages to load in under two seconds. Faster than that is even better.
Have a Good Foundation
Make sure that you have a good hosting provider. Most likely your best bet is to opt for a virtual private server (VPS).
Shared hosting will slow you down too much, and a dedicated server probably has more power than you need and is too expensive.
You should also consider managed WordPress hosting created especially for WP sites. With managed hosting, you won’t have to be responsible for the technical aspects of your site.
Keep this same mentality when selecting your theme.
Choose one that only has what you need, keeping it as lightweight as possible. One strategy is to opt for a minimal theme and then add plug-ins to add additional functionality.
You might also consider utilizing a content delivery network (CDN).
The closer a server is to a user, the faster the loading time will be. A CDN takes your static files and distributes them on various servers across the world so that your site is closer to people than it would have been otherwise.
There are even solutions that will allow you to host parts of your site through a CDN. Some CDN resources you can check out are:
- Amazon Cloudfront
- Jetpack (a plugin)
- WOT Cache
Updates and Maintenance
It should go without saying that you should keep all of the elements of your site as up to date as possible.
This includes everything from HTML and PHP to your theme and plug-ins.
Your hosting provider is responsible for your site’s primary updates, but you should still keep an eye on them.
The more up to date your technology is, the more secure your site will be and the more efficiently it will run.
Clean up your database as it gets bloated with data you aren’t actually using. You should eliminate anything you aren’t using (plug-ins, widgets, etc.).
Other Tactics for Decreasing Loading Time
Speeding up your site is about enabling it to do as little as possible. With this principle in mind, consider doing the following:
- Don’t host videos on your site – auto-embed them
- Compress your images and your website files
- Reduce server requests (e.g., limit how many posts you show on each page, break comments and posts into pages, implement lazy loading for images)
- Allow caching, WP Rocket is a great WP Caching plugin.
- Concatenate files (i.e., combine them into one larger file)
- Minify files
- Limit what you can (such as post revisions, buttons, and widgets)
- Deactivate pingbacks and trackbacks
- Include an expires header in your static resources (this determines the length of time a visitor’s browser caches content)
- Optimize CSS delivery
- Prioritize above the fold content
Use a Web Design Platform Made for Site Speed
If your current content management system or theme is giving you a bad time, speed-wise, switch as soon as possible. Don’t try to fix or adjust. Use a website builder that gets it.
Duda is a solid example of an agency-friendly website building platform built from the ground up to minimize load times. Duda CTO Amir Glatt even published a detailed article describing what they have done to get Duda’s infrastructure as aligned as possible with Google’s best practices for page speed, achieving better scores than Wix, Weebly and even the mighty WordPress.
Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)
It’s old news that people are using mobile more and more for all of their online activities. Not only does your site need to load quickly but it also needs to load quickly on smartphones. Because of the widespread use of mobile, Google has released Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), which is “a whole new way of creating web pages and effectively changes the mobile web.”
AMP is open-source software designed to boost loading speeds on mobile devices. Even before AMP, Google took steps to favour mobile-friendly sites. So the better your site’s mobile-friendliness, the better it’s ranking.
Test, Audit, Fix
Testing, monitoring and auditing how your site performs should be done on a continuous basis. Your site might be generating errors any minute due to redesign, new features, new sections/products being added, seasonal traffic spikes, suddenly social media success, etc.
Serpstat is an advanced SEO platform that can help with auditing your website and alerting you of errors on a regular basis. It will break loading speed issues into two groups for you to easily prioritize:
- High priority
- Middle priority
It will also provide explanations for each item they are checking for you to better understand any issue and easily delegate the task to a non-SEO team member.
Everyone Benefits from Fast Loading Speed
No matter what area of life we’re talking about, people appreciate having experiences that are orderly, seamless, and fast.
Optimizing your site for speed will set you ahead of the majority of websites on the internet. The result will be that you lose fewer visitors and increase your revenue.
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