We’re so excited to introduce a new, reoccurring series here on BFK and we think you’re going to like it too. We’ll be posting a new #BFKChallenge every so often focusing on a specific area of blogging. There’s so much information out there and it can be hard to know what to focus on, right?! I find myself jumping from goal to goal, and idea to idea without actually getting anything done. I feel like I’m doing work, but at the end of the week, I realize that I haven’t actually accomplished anything. We’re hoping that our BFK Challenges give you focus, direction and actionable steps that you can actually do. By the end of the month you’ll have made major changes and set yourself up for further success down the line—sounds good, right?!
Our very first challenge is all about Pinterest, and here’s why…
Have you looked at your Google Analytics lately? Where do most of your traffic referrals come from? For Jess and I both, Pinterest is our number one referrer of traffic and for good reason. It’s not really a social media platform—nope, it’s a search engine, and a very visual one at that. Ever since it emerged, it’s been one of my favorite places to find inspiration for recipes, style, gift ideas, home decor and so much more. I can spend hours on Pinterest and you better believe that lots of people are doing the same. That’s what makes this platform so incredibly valuable to your blog and business.
Pinterest is really good about delivering its users the content they’re interested in, which is usually stuff in the lifestyle arena. Just think about this…when you’re wondering what to cook for dinner, are you more likely to search for recipes on Google, which will give you a bunch of listings, or Pinterest, which will provide you with mouth-watering photos and recipes. For me, it’s Pinterest—that visual aspect is key! That’s why I think Pinterest is so great for bloggers. We’re always creating such gorgeous, visual content, and that beautiful photo of your bathroom renovation is far more likely to get pulled higher in search results on Pinterest than it is on Google.
So, how do you make Pinterest work harder for you? I’m going to let you in on a little secret. It’s not about how many followers you have. What?! When has anyone said that about social media?! Never, I know, but it’s true. Because Pinterest functions as a search engine, having thousands and thousands of followers doesn’t necessarily mean more traffic. As long as you have high-quality pins and curated boards, you can still get a ton of traffic directed to your blog! I know people with relatively small Pinterest followings that get tens of thousands of hits each month from this platform. It’s all about paring down and tailoring your content to your audience. The first step? Cleaning up your boards and profile to attract the right kind of people!
Last month, I spent nearly a week (not all day everyday) cleaning up my pins, renaming and combining my boards and updating my profile to be a better reflection of my brand. I won’t lie, it was a major time commitment, but it’s been almost a month and I’m telling you, it was 100% worth it!
Where I Started
I was skeptical that any of this would work, so I wrote down my numbers so I could gauge whether or not it worked. Here’s what I started with on April 14, 2017:
After implementing Tailwind many months ago, my account did grow steadily, but for the past few months, the growth had really slowed down. I had gone from gaining around 500 followers a month to around 200. Again, it’s not all about the followers, but they don’t hurt either! I was hoping that by doing this clean out, I’d start appealing to more of the right people and that traffic would increase because of it. I’m sharing everything I did below!
1. Remove Pins with Less than 5 Repins
If you don’t have a lot of pins or repins, you might want to lower this number to anything with less than 2. As you saw above, I had over 36,000 pins, so I actually removed all pins with less than 10 repins. Which was a lot, but well worth it. Deleting these tells Pinterest’s algorithm that you are pinning high quality stuff that other people also like (because people have repinned it). It’ll also make you more likely to show up in future searches, which will lead to more traffic over time! Thankfully, this is a pretty mindless task. I listened to one of my favorite podcasts, Courage and Clarity while doing it! Sidenote, Pinterest has changed the way they measure engagement now. Instead of repins, it’s a combination of closeups, which means someone clicked on the pin to learn more, clicks through to your site and saves, or repins to their board. Closeups and clicks are also really good, so I wouldn’t focus only on repins!
To delete pins in bulk, click on a board you want to clean, click on the ‘Move Tool’ (it’s the middle icon above your board title) at the top and you’ll be able to go through and select pins you want to delete.
Another thing to pay attention to is that your most recent pins will not have as much engagement yet, but that doesn’t mean you should delete them. I scrolled past the things I pinned within the past two weeks to give them a chance to be seen before removing them.
Note! Pinterest only allows you to delete 50 pins at a time, so make sure you’re paying attention to that number. If you go over it and hit delete, I found out that it actually doesn’t delete anything, so make sure you stick to 50, otherwise, you’ll have to do it again!
2. Combine, Delete & Add Boards
This really goes back to branding. Think about your blog’s niche, the type of content you’re producing and who you’re producing it for. Then make sure that your boards are serving that audience only! You might be obsessed with French Bull Dog memes, but if you’re not blogging about them, that board shouldn’t exist. If you don’t want to delete it, make it a Secret Board that only you can see. Any public boards should cater to your audience, not your personal taste.
When going through my boards, I noticed that I had 5 different boards for food, and 5 for different boards for interiors, but only 2 for style. I blog about style far more frequently than food or interiors, so having those extra boards didn’t make sense. To better serve my readers, I combined all of the food boards into one Healthy Eats board (and cleaned out most junk food) and one board for Decor & Interiors. By making that one small change, I’m now making my boards more relevant to my audience.
To move pins to different boards, follow the same instructions as above, but hit ‘Move’ instead of ‘Delete’ when you’ve selected your 50 pins!
There were also a few boards that simply didn’t make sense at all. One was completely dedicated to calligraphy! I don’t blog about calligraphy, nor do I practice it. I’d made it back when we were planning our wedding and hadn’t looked at it since! I wasn’t actively pinning to them anymore either, so I deleted the whole board. For any other boards that fell into this category, I either deleted them or made them private.
Lastly, I renamed some boards to better describe their content and added one called Health & Wellness since it’s become a regular topic on my blog. After doing this, I’d gone from 37 boards to 20! Far more manageable!
3. Delete Off-Brand Pins & Boards
I had so many random pins that weren’t a good fit with my aesthetic and stuck out like a sore thumb! If I didn’t like them at all, it’s likely that they won’t be my audience’s style either, so they got the boot!
4. Remove Duplicates
I can’t tell you how many duplicates I had, yuck! You might be thinking, how on earth did you go through and search for duplicates. The answer is that I didn’t. BoardBooster is a great tool and especially helpful for cleaning up your boards. After I logged in, I navigated to the ‘Maintenance Tools’ section and set all of my boards to move duplicate pins to a temporary board that I created. Once they were all moved (be patient, it can take a while if you have lots of pins) and I received an email that the order was complete, I went in and deleted that temporary board for good. You might still find a few duplicates though. I found that I had some pins that I had pinned multiple times, but they had different sources, that’s why BoardBooster didn’t pick up on them. In this case, delete the one with fewer repins or engagement!
BoardBooster is not free, but it’s incredibly affordable and costs just a penny to move a pin!
5. Update Your Profile & Descriptions
Who else wrote up their profile and dropped in a picture ages ago and never touched it again?! Me!!! I went ahead and updated my image with one that I felt was more on brand and current (the last one was from winter and I had bangs). I also updated my bio to explain what my site is all about and where I’m located. Don’t forget to include a link back to your blog in your profile!
I also updated my profile from ‘The Fox & She’ to ‘Blair Staky | Outfit Ideas & Wellness Tips’. My username is thefoxandshe, so you can still search and find me with either my blog name or first name, but adding a little description after my name lets people know immediately what they should expect from my boards and my blog.
6. Pin Less
This one is really up to you, but I’ve done a fair amount of testing over the years. I used to think that pinning more was better, but lately I’m finding the opposite to be true. Pinning less, but higher quality, and more relevant pins has helped grow my following and traffic back to my blog. Right now I pin about 20 pins a day through Tailwind and use a mix of pins from Pinterest and my pins from my blog.
7. Loop Pins
You can also set this in BoardBooster under Pinning Tools. I set it to loop pins on some of my most popular boards. You can set your own specifics, but what it does is repin old pins to the top of your board to get them new exposure. It’s a great way to keep old content alive and fresh!
What to Expect
You WILL lose followers, but don’t fret. Pinterest isn’t like other social media platforms where the only people that see your posts are followers. It’s a search engine, so the better a source you can be, the more you’ll show up. And, the more you show up, the more traffic you’ll get. Your follower count will eventually catch up to your old number, and it’ll most likely happen faster than you expect!
You’ll run into errors every once in a while where Pinterest thinks you’re spamming, so just be aware that you might have to take breaks here and there. Which is probably good for your eyes!
It’s been about three months month since my clean out, and I’ve noticed a bump in my traffic! I’ve also noticed that my followers are growing at a faster rate now! Pinning less has made my days easier too because I don’t have to spend nearly as much time finding new things to pin. I plan on continuing to clean out my boards a little each month so that they stay fresh and on brand.
As of July 12, 2017 here are my new numbers:
Pins: 22,000 (huge improvement!)
Want more on Pinterest? Check out this post that outlines 8 ways to skyrocket your Pinterest traffic! It’s one you don’t want to miss!
Have you done a Pinterest clean out before? What tips and tricks do you have to share about growing your Pinterest traffic and following?1