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How to Make Your Pins Go Viral and Get TONS of Pinterest Traffic
There are over 100 billion pins on Pinterest. That is what you’re up against every time you send a new pin out into the world! It’s no wonder that sometimes it feels like your new content isn’t being seen — it might not be!
With billions and billions of individual pins out there, it’s easy for YOUR pins to get lost in the shuffle.
That is, unless you know what to do to make them stand out.
Even better, you can actually make people want to click on your pins. They won’t be able to resist!
It’s not luck (ok, there is always a little luck involved with viral content) — it is a proven system of creating viral pins.
Why You Must Use Pinterest as a Blogger
Even with the stiff competition, Pinterest is still a huge traffic source for bloggers. In fact, if you polled a group of professional bloggers, many (if not most) of them will tell you that Pinterest is their #1 traffic driver.
There are over 200 million active monthly users on Pinterest. So while there is a lot of competition, there are also a lot of people that are using the app and looking for specific content.
The key is to make sure that your content is what they are looking for, make sure they see it, and make sure they want to click it.
Sounds easy right?
It can be, but most bloggers are missing out on the true potential of Pinterest.
My First Viral Pin
When I first started blogging a few years ago, I didn’t understand Pinterest. However, my non-blogger friends convinced me that I needed to get onboard. So I did.
The first month using Pinterest, I tripled my blog’s traffic. TRIPLED!! And that wasn’t even with viral pins, but simply by using Pinterest.
I enjoyed creating pins for all of my blog posts, and within a couple months I had my first viral pin. SO MUCH BLOG TRAFFIC!! We’re talking tens of thousands of page views in ONE day for my blog that was less than a year old.
It was so exciting!
After that I was hooked and determined to figure out exactly what it took to make Pinterest drive steady traffic to my website.
So what did my first viral pin look like?
Here it is:
This blog post has gotten almost 1 1/2 million page views since it went live a couple years ago. Sometimes I still can’t believe over a million people have read that post!
It’s the post that showed me that blogging could be a legitimate business.
It’s also the post that showed me the power of Pinterest.
So what made this pin go viral?
- It’s vertical — This is one of the most basic aspects of creating a pin, but it is a crucial one. The majority of Pinterest users are on the phone app. Since phones have a vertical screen, a vertical pin image is the optimal orientation, and takes up the most “real estate” on screen. Pinterest recommends a pin size of 600px by 900px, though I also find that longer pins perform well too. Horizontal images look tiny on a phone screen, and can easily be overlooked as a user scrolls through their feed.
- There’s text — From my own experience, images with text overlays perform exponentially better than images alone. That’s because this extra snippet of text allows you to tell users what your pin is about, without them having to squint to read the description/title under the pin. It also gives you the ability to test out a catchier title than what you may have used for the actual blog post title. I liken this to a tabloid in the supermarket checkout, where there are a few snippets on the front of each magazine meant to grab your attention and get you to buy the issue.
- It Hits a “Pain Point” — By this I mean that the pin promises to help solve a common problem or provide a solution to an issue that many people share. Everyone wants to spend less money right? In my pin image, I made it very clear that the post tells how we saved a lot of money and implies that readers will be able to do the same.
- It’s Specific — You don’t want your pin image to give everything away, but you want people to know what the pin is about and if it could apply to them. If a pin is too vague, people won’t know what the post is about, they won’t know if it applies to them, and they likely won’t click on it.
- It’s Clear and Readable — This is one of my earlier pins, so it isn’t even one of my best designs. Like anything else in life, you get better at creating pins with practice. However, the photograph subject is easy to see (money, receipts, and a shopping list) and the text is easy to read. People know right away that this blog post is about how to save money…lots of money.
- It’s Bright — People are drawn towards bright colors. This pin has a lot of white space, which makes the black text and the image in the middle stand out. Avoid dark, dull colors for your pins.
- It is What it Says it Is — Don’t try to trick people into visiting your site. Your pin should describe what your blog post is actually about. If people visit your post and it isn’t what they expected, they won’t stick around long. Pinterest pays attention to how long people stay on your post, so if they exit right away, Pinterest will end up showing your pin to fewer people because they think it isn’t useful.
Should All Your Pins Look Alike?
You might have read some articles that suggest using a certain “style” for all of your pins, essentially creating a recognizable branding.
I don’t follow this strategy for my pins, but instead I create pins specific to each post. I don’t think that one single template works for ALL of my content types. A recipe post needs a different style pin than a blogging tips post. I find the most success by customizing my individual pins. You can always brand them by including your logo and/or blog name on the pin.
Or perhaps I just find it boring to keep doing the same “look” over and over.
In the big scheme of things, branding your pins is less important than creating pins that get clicks and bring traffic to your site.
How to Make YOUR Pins Go Viral
I showed you my first viral pin, but I’ve used the same steps over and over to create dozens of viral pins.
Some of my pins have been saved and re-pinned over 100,000 times each!
The best part is that this system can be applied to ANY topic. The essentials for a viral pin are virtually the same, regardless of topic.
I’ve created viral recipe pins, viral craft pins, viral parenting pins, and even viral video pins.
A good pin is a good pin.
Since I love creating Pinterest pins, I enjoy helping others do the same. I was also curious if my technique could be repeated with someone else’s content.
First, I sat down with my mom (also a pro blogger) and showed her the steps I used to create viral pins.
It worked right away, and it’s worked for her over and over again. Here is one of her most viral pins of all time:
This post brings thousands of page views every month and has inspired her to write multiple follow-up posts that also went viral on Pinterest!
Because the sad truth is, you could be writing truly amazing content, but no one will know if they’re not visiting your site!
One More Thing (and it’s pretty important!)
Before you create a viral pin, you want to make sure that your blog can handle viral levels of traffic! If your site goes down, a viral pin doesn’t do you any good!
In fact, one of my blogging friends had a post go massively viral just last week! And then her site crashed.
A solid, dependable hosting service is CRITICAL for your blog’s success.
Note: I’ve included affiliate links for your convenience in setting up your own blog with services I love and use myself; disclosure policy available here.
My Blog Hosting Recommendation:
Bluehost has a 99.9% uptime, so you can publish worry-free. Plus they offer 24/7/365 support (seriously, I’ve called at 3am when I noticed someone trying to attack my site), so they are there to help whenever you need it.
The Basic plans on Bluehost are only a few dollars per month — a tiny start-up cost if you think about it and well worth it. (Seriously, what other legit business can you start with such a small budget?)
If you’re already with another host, Bluehost can help guide you through the switch, or handle it for you for a small fee.
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One of these starter hosting plans will serve you just fine until you’re really hitting big numbers. I stayed with the Bluehost Basic plan until I was in the 150K page views/month range (which is serious web traffic)!
More blogging resources:
I’m so excited for you as you start your blogging journey!