If you are trying to grow your blog, you probably know that having a good Pinterest strategy is one of the best ways to get visitors quickly and for free!
In order to attract tons of Pinterest traffic, you want to optimize your Pinterest Profile and join Pinterest group boards in your niche.
A lot of people think that you also have to pay for a Pinterest scheduler in order to grow your blog, but is it really necessary?
This page contains affiliate links meaning I earn a commission if you use those links. Please see my disclosure for more details.
*** This post was updated in January 2021 to reflect the changes to Pinterest in the last 6 months***
I started Seaside Sundays in March 2017 and since then I’ve experienced fantastic growth which I put down to discovering a good Pinterest strategy early on which helped me attract the right readers quickly.
Before you do anything on Pinterest, you need to set yourself up with rich pins and get some boards on your profile. You’ll want to join group boards and create personal boards to put your pins on.
These two posts will help with those initial stages:
How To Find & Join The Best Pinterest Group Boards
9 Simple Ways To Improve Your Pinterest Game Quickly
Now you are ready to work out a Pinterest strategy to get your pins out there.
The Perfect Pinterest Strategy includes the following:
- Pinning your content to your own boards (By far the most important)
- Pinning your content to group boards
- Saving 3rd party (other pins) to your boards
Many people think group boards are not as good as they once were but I think they are essential for new bloggers to get exposure.
Why? Well, Pinterest is essentially a numbers game.
How Group Boards Work
Let’s say you have 500 followers.
If you pin your best pin “Cleaning tips for busy Moms” to your board “cleaning” then you have the potential for 500 people to see it. However, if you pin it to two group boards, each with 10,000 followers, then potentially 20,000 people will see your pin.
This is a simplified explanation as Pinterest has a smart feed that doesn’t show everything to everyone but the premise holds true.
More exposure = More repins = More Blog Page views
RELATED POST: 8 Pinterest Group Boards For Mom Bloggers
A Pinterest strategy for your own boards
While I still think that group boards are awesome for new bloggers to get some traction, there definitely is a real shift to personal boards. I’ve been really working on my boards and updating them recently:
A few things I’ve been doing:
Adding more personal boards.
Try and have 4-5 personal board options that each pin could go to. Make sure to fill the boards with lots of relevant 3rd part pins too, not just your own stuff. For example – I used to just have a “saving money” board. Now I’ve added in Frugal living, budgeting, personal finance and making money. Most of my pins can go to all those boards which gives them more exposure.
Optimizing my personal boards
I add keyword-rich descriptions and titles to my boards.
Creating new pins every day
Yes, I said every day. One of my friends has had great success with pinning new pins only to her personal boards at 1 day intervals so I’ve been trying that out. I pin each new pin to one personal board each day for 5 days.
Need some help with creating pins? Check out my FREE guide to creating pins that get noticed
I have been experimenting with hashtags but am still not a fan. Someone suggested adding hashtags into board descriptions which I may try at some point.
Evaluating group boards
And leaving them where it makes sense. I share how I evaluate group boards in this post. I know it’s scary to leave group boards when you have worked so hard to get into them but if they are hurting you, there is no point!
Doubling down on Tailwind Communities
Tailwind Communities are the new group boards in my opinion. Some people say they don’t work for them but I get a steady 10,000 page views a month from tribes so I’m happy. If you aren’t getting good results, look for new tribes to join.
You can read how I use Tailwind Communities here.
What about pinning other people’s pins?
Pinterest seems to “reward” active users so you want to repin quality pins to your boards as much or more than you pin your own stuff.
You used to be able to see the number of repins so you could purposely save popular pins to your boards but Pinterest got rid of that in order to make pinning more organic.
RELATED POST: From 0-90K PageViews in 9 Months
How to choose the best pins for your personal boards
Make sure the pins you save to your personal boards are relevant and keyworded to fit your board description and title. This will help Pinterest get a feel for what your board is about. You then have more chance of being shown in the search feed.
How many pins should I pin a day?
There are so many opinions on this that I’m not sure anyone really knows the answer. I try and aim to pin to most of my boards at least once a day.
Some of my slower group boards get pinned to once or twice a week. Definitely try and hit each of your boards at least once every 7 days.
Now obviously, if you are in a lot of group boards (I think I am in about 70) then it will take a while to pin to all those boards without a really good pinning strategy.
You have two options when it comes to pinning, you can manually (live) pin or use a scheduler such as Tailwind
RELATED POST: 9 Simple Ways To Improve Your Pinterest Game Quickly
How does a Pinterest Scheduler work?
Tailwind is the most popular scheduler as it is approved by Pinterest and it is relatively easy to use.
Its goal is to take the work out of pinning for you. Once or twice a month you go to the Tailwind site and schedule all your pins for the month. You can then sit back and let them do the work for you all month long while you work on other things.
Tailwind will pin to your own and group boards throughout the day, as many times as you wish.
If you want to see exactly how I schedule my pins to Pinterest using Tailwind, you can read all about it here >> How To Loop Pins Using Tailwind (in just 15 minutes a month)
I have a 1-year unlimited membership to Tailwind as I think their reporting and analytics are amazing.
You can use this referral link for 100 free pins scheduled out via Tailwind if you would like to check it out.
Many bloggers have found great success with these Pinterest schedulers and have seen their traffic grow in leaps and bounds.
Pros of Pinterest Schedulers
- They free up your time to work on other projects
- They have great reporting tools
- The optimized “smart schedule” in the case of Tailwind allows you to pin at the best times for your audience
Cons of Pinterest Schedulers
- Extremely time-consuming to set up (but quick after that with my Tailwind method.)
- Can make you seem spammy if not used correctly. Tailwind needs a feature that will adhere to board rules such as “not more than 3 a day” otherwise you risk being kicked out of the group.
- Some bloggers believe that only using a Pinterest scheduler hurts reach. You do still need to pin manually it seems, so you have to do some extra work on top of scheduling your pins.
- Can be expensive – over $100 a year for unlimited pins, this can be difficult to swallow when you are just starting out as a blogger
What about manual pinning?
When I first started blogging, I tried using Tailwind for about a month (April 2017), I came across a book about manual pinning that piqued my interest.
I had read over and over that manual pinning is really good for attracting traffic to your blog as Pinterest seems to like active users who are on the site instead of using a scheduler.
Please note that Pinterest does not say this and even has said the opposite but it still “seems” to be true for a lot of people .
I had tried manually pinning a few times but it became overwhelming juggling so many Pinterest boards and remembering when to pin and what pins I had already done.
The issue I found with manually pinning was I wasn’t really sure how to do it:
- Should I pin directly from my website or repin from my Pinterest boards? (both)
- How often should I be pinning to each group board? (every day!)
- How on Earth can I keep track of which boards I have pinned to? (I use plain old paper and pen)
- How long is this going to take me every day? (up to an hour)
What is manual pinning?
Sometimes called “live” pinning, this is when you do not use a Pinterest scheduler and instead, do all your pinning yourself throughout the day, just like you would if you weren’t a blogger and were just suing Pinterest recreationally.
It seems like a lot of work?!!
I am not going to lie, manual pinning takes up a fair bit of time.
I used to spend 45-60 minutes a day pinning my stuff to my boards using the Pinteresting Strategies ebook method.
As you will see in my stats below, I find the amazing results are worth the time investment.
Now that I have been blogging for over a year, I don’t spend as much time a day on manual pinning because I know my boards quite well and I do a combination of using Tailwind and manual pinning.
My results with manual pinning
Despite the time it took, I credit manual pinning with getting me so much traffic early on it and helped me really get to know Pinterest.
The Pinterest Strategies book taught me the following:
- Using Google Analytics to see which pins are doing well on Pinterest
- How to clean up my Pinterest profile to improve my standing and get my pins more exposure
- Managing a manual pinning schedule
- How to maintain the momentum of a popular pin
Carly, the author of the book, is honestly a genius when it comes to looking at Pinterest algorithms and search engines features. She did a lot of research and developed a strategy that grew her Pinterest from 0-100K page views in her first 6 months of blogging.
Tons of other bloggers have followed her ideas and seen awesome results too, including me!
Below you can see the Google analytics for my first 3 months of blogging. You can almost exactly pinpoint where I started using the Pinterest Strategies manual method on May 9. I doubled my blog traffic from April to May and doubled it again in June.
My page views have gone from 7000 in April to over 30,000 in June! The hours of manual pinning are worth it!
Updated June 2018
If you are interesting in seeing my progress as the year went on, here are some more of my blog income and traffic reports:
From 0-70K Page Views in 4 Months – July Income Report
From 0-90K PageViews in 9 Months
How much does it really cost to start a blog? Expenses for the first year
The increased page views have opened up a ton of doors for me and allowed me to apply for an ad agency that pays a lot better than Google Adsense.
I’ve even had a few awesome moments where I look at Google Analytics and see this:
That was during the big peak you see on the graph, I had my first viral pin! I give 100% of the credit to Pinteresting Strategies for helping my pins gain that kind of viewership.
Pros of Manually Pinning
- It’s free! (although I do really recommend buying Carly’s book, I promise, it will blow your mind).
- You control your pins so you don’t pin too many pins to the wrong board and get into trouble.
- You end up spending a lot of time on Pinterest and get to know what pins work and what group boards have the most engagement.
I love the free aspect of manual pinning as blogging can get really expensive (see everything I spent in my first year here.)
If you want to find even more ways to save money blogging, this list of 25 Fantastic Places to Promote Your Blog For Free will help you.
Cons of Manually Pinning
- Time-consuming. As I mentioned, I spend almost an hour a day living pinning. That being said, my blog income has grown so much since starting to manually pin that I think it has been worth it.
If you are interested in checking out the manual pinning plan for yourself, you can see all the details about the book here.
What Pinterest strategy is right for you?
If you are short on time, using a scheduler might be the best thing. An hour or so a month will set your pins to go out automatically.
If you are short on cash, then manual pinning using is worth trying. I have had amazing results and would now only use a scheduling tool to cover my vacation time. I truly think the time spent is worth it.
More Tips To Grow Your Blog:
The Best Freebies For Bloggers
26 Awesome Free Sites That Offer Free Stock Photos
9 Simple Ways To Improve Your Pinterest Game Quickly
25 Fantastic Places to Promote Your Blog For Free
Create The Perfect Pin In Minutes!
Subscribe to get my FREE ebook on creating a pin that gets noticed and brings you traffic.
Monday 20th of December 2021
Really helpful Pinterest tips for bloggers. Thanks a lot.
Michelle At BlogbyMichelle
Tuesday 4th of December 2018
Pinterest has been as a challenge for me, I have read like 100 posts on tips etc and I have applied, test, tweak etc and I only get 10 - 20 view to my blog daily. I cannot seem to figure out Pinterest, I just end up getting overwhelmed and wondering what I am doing incorrectly.
Sunday 9th of December 2018
Hi Michelle, honestly, I think there is no guaranteed way to get Pinterest to like you. I switch things up a lot to try and get more traffic, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. I do think Tailwind Tribes and group boards are essential when starting out though. Good luck!
Friday 10th of August 2018
Totally digging this breakdown SS. I Pin little but doing research tonight, many Pinners stress scheduling is the way to go versus manual. I love your viewpoint though and feel manual Pinning actually is easier for me. Quick and simple, a Pin after reading and commenting and RTing a post. I need to get going on Pinning more as it lends itself to all of my travel pictures. Rocking post!
Friday 28th of September 2018
Thanks so much for your comment, Ryan, and sorry for the late reply as it was caught in my spam filter and I didn't see it. Travel photos do amazing on Pinterest so I'm sure you will do great! Good Luck!
Monday 14th of August 2017
Amazing results! When you do manual pinning, Do you pin from your best of board directly or do you manually pin only your best performing pins from GA? I got the ebook but still a little confused
Monday 14th of August 2017
Hi Sherril, I do both. Mainly from my best of board because it's quicker but I try and pin from GA a few times a week. I read a theory on a fb group about creating a new pin from your post but I haven't tried that.
Friday 28th of July 2017
This was such a good post and helpful as I'm just starting out and want to make an income. It doesn't even have to be the $5k that Carly makes a month, if I could make half of that it would means everything!
Friday 28th of July 2017
Hi Rose, thank you so much! I definitely have found manually pinning has worked for me, I will have to update this post at the end of the month but my page views have doubled in July again... and my income too! I have purchased many blogging courses and I think this one might one of the best in terms of return on investment. Good luck with your blog!