I’ve missed months three and four of the traffic report, but I’m back with month 5. The blog did very well this month, mostly due in part to Pinterest! What a magical site.
Pinterest Strategy (16,000+ pageviews from Pinterest this month!)
I spend about an hour each week creating pins now and an extra 2 hours scheduling those pins via Tailwind.
The first time I created pins I just slapped text on already existing templates in Canva and hoped it would work. It barely got any hits compared to now and I can see why. They were pretty bad quality and it’s no wonder people wouldn’t click on them much. There was a time I would spend 30 minutes on each pin, trying out a ton of fonts and colors and backgrounds. I’ve gotten it down to much less time now. Keep at it, you should only get better.
Reasons I had for not doing Pinterest well from the beginning:
- I thought my pins would look super ugly. They did. But I look back and see pins from just a month ago are super ugly in comparison with now. You have to just keep going and improving upon each iteration. Try new things and see if they work.
- What if it didn’t work and just wasted my time? Well, so many other blog posts have flopped, a few hours a week shouldn’t be a big commitment.
- Tailwind costs money — $10 a month if you get their annual plan. But if you have ads on your website, then if you do well with Tailwind you can subsidize your Tailwind subscription with your ad revenue. Since I get more than 14,000 sessions in May from Pinterest, with a RPM of $5 from my ad service, my Tailwind subscription more than made up for it. Sometimes spending money is needed to grow.
Summarized Pinterest Strategy
1). Apply to group boards. However, I’ve noticed small personal boards are performing better than large group boards since the Pinterest update in the last few months.
2). Apply to Tailwind Tribes (you can apply once you get a subscription. Here’s a free trial so you can see if Tribes is worth it). Tailwind Tribes is better than group boards because the mod can see how many pins you add to the tribe and how many you repin. It’s also a better group of pins to choose from when you are repinning other people’s content — you want to be repinning pins that get many repins/clicks so Pinterest sees your account is a good curator of content and then shows your repins to more people.
3). Pin to Tribes, group boards, and personal boards. Make sure to share other people’s content as well so Pinterest does not think you are a spammer. Since most Tailwind Tribes require that every pin you share, you also pin someone else’s, most people’s own pin to their pin ratio is 50:50.
4). Once you have a bunch of followers, you can use Boardbooster (free first 500 pins) to automatically loop your existing pins on your personal boards. They have a free 500 pin trial (which I just signed up for this week), so I’ll let you know how this goes next month.
If you aren’t doing well in Pinterest, here are a few things that you may be doing wrong:
- The #1 issue is probably ugly pins. Take a look at your Pinterest feed. Can you identify which ones are amazing in either the title or graphics? If so, create a secret board with them, and study what makes them so awesome. If you can’t tell which ones are pretty (and there is always a mix of ugly and pretty pins in a feed), then you’ll need someone else to pick for you so you can study it.
- Know your market. Pinterest seems to be 80 percent female and definitely caters to those who like pretty, well-designed things. So even if you are trying to target men, the pin still has to be well-designed.
- You didn’t join enough group boards.
- You joined the wrong group boards. If you join a board that is “All pins!” or “All Bloggers” it probably will not do very well. Just like Google likes niche topics, Pinterest likes niche boards, which is a mistake I learned early on.
- If you don’t get many followers, try making some pretty board covers. I noticed my follower count shot up when I did so. I don’t do the follow/unfollow game on Pinterest, it doesn’t seem to work very well. Followers currently seem to be somewhat important, but Pinterest keeps changing its algorithm. Let your followers grow organically with nice board covers.
- You’re not sharing other people’s pins. Pinterest takes into account your sharing ratio. Also, if you share pins from other people, they are more likely to share from you.
- In Tailwind, there is a flame in the top right corner to tell you how popular a pin is. If that number is above 100, that’s a good sign it could potentially go viral. You want every pin you share to go viral, even if it is someone else’s because it shows Pinterest you are good at curating content.
Common Myths I Hate About Pinterest That Aren’t True
1). You need a ton of followers!
I have less than 300 followers and my account got 16,000 pageviews last month, my first real month of taking Pinterest seriously. You don’t need a ton of followers, that’s just a myth now since Pinterest updated its algorithm.
2). You need to join a million group boards!
No. You need to join quality group boards. Every month, you should prune your group boards by checking their stats in Tailwind.
3). You need to pin so many times a day for it to work!
No. I know people who are pinning 200-300 times a day but don’t get as many views. I pin around 100 pins a day. Even this is going to be a problem as Pinterest only allows 200,000 pins per account (unless you are a big time news outlet, I see Popsugar has more than 200k pins — but even a giant blogger probably won’t get this exception). At 100 pins a day, you’ll run out of pins in around 5.5 years. At 200 pins that runs out in 2.7 years.
Quality over quantity. The Pareto principle applies to everything. 20 percent of your pins (I’d say it was more like 5-10 percent actually) will drive the majority of your traffic.
That being said, you should pin everyday so Pinterest knows you are consistent. Just like Google likes blogs that produce content on a consistent basis, Pinterest likes accounts that pin consistently. They don’t want you to dump 50 pins at one time, but rather pin in intervals throughout the day. So if you have 50 pins, a good thing to do would be to pin every 30 minutes. That’s impossible if you’re a human, but Tailwind has a schedule tool that can do that for you easily.
4). You need to pay for promoted pins in order to get traffic.
I don’t do any promoted pins. Neither do a ton of other bloggers. Why pay for traffic when you can get it for free?
Ad Revene RPM at $5.57 Via Sovrn Meridian and Google Adsense
I also went and calculated my RPM ($ per 1,000 pageviews) for ads this month to see how it stacked up. I know Mediavine ranges somewhere between $15-$30 RPM (they responded to my question on Twitter), but they require 25,000 sessions, so I’m not eligible for that just yet.
I use a waterfall system, where I specify a floor CPM with Sovrn, then all ads get passed to Google Adsense. This allows for a much higher RPM than if I just used Google Adsense or Sovrn individually. For the month of May, my RPM was $5.57, which is pretty sweet. It’s definitely a lot better than when I just had Adsense on the site.
If you can’t get into Mediavine due to the sessions requirement, I’d recommend checking out Sovrn. Their RPM is higher than anything else I’ve heard of or tried if you’re below 25,000 sessions and their ad tech is pretty nice – they have unified reporting so you can see your Adsense and Sovrn revenues separately. Obviously, everyone’s RPM will be different, but they’ve done very nicely for me.
Sovrn offers sticky ads for the sidebar, so the ad follows as the person scrolls. I believe the ads on the sidebar and the footer also change every 30 seconds, so if you have really long articles and people spend a lot of time on your site, you’ll probably get a higher RPM than I do since each change at 30 seconds will be another impression.
Working On Opt-Ins For Emails Lists
A few months ago I signed up for ConvertKit’s free trial so I could grow my email list. I made a mistake at the beginning. Instead of offering tiny freebies like everyone else I decided to offer a giant course for free. The small freebies performed better because no one wants another ebook or super long course. The world wants bite-sized freebies and cheatsheets more.
It was kind of a lightbulb moment when someone explained why it was so valuable (thanks Pete from DYEB). Most visitors will leave your site and never come back. They might come by through Google search, Pinterest, or Twitter for an interesting article, but might not subscribe. If you offer them a small freebie or opt-in, they’re more likely to subscribe, and they’ll know when you write future posts.
Why would you want to send someone emails? If you’re trying to grow pageviews, revenue, or anything else, sending a group of people who already like you an email is the best way to grow that. If you blog 3x a week and can send an email about each post to people on your email list, you can see how that would lead you to your goals. The people on your email list are warm subscribers, they already know you and trust you. That’s why they handed over their email. Treat them like gold, because they are.
Blueprint For Getting Subscribers Via Pinterest/Google
Create awesome pins -> Get traffic to blog post -> % of traffic decides to opt-in
Do SEO -> Get ranked on the 1st page and get traffic -> % of traffic decides to opt-in
So why do I pay for Convertkit over just using the free version of Mailchimp? Same reason why I use Tailwind instead of just manually pinning, because I want to easily grow my blog without wasting time. The Mailchimp opt-in forms and landing pages don’t look as good in my opinon, and people are more likely to opt-in to more well designed things. They also have live customer service that is based in the US. They’re really knowledgeable and trained well, even when I ask super obscure questions.
If you aren’t trying to get subscribers via opt-ins and other freebie incentives, I’d recommend you stay with Mailchimp. If you have time to create those opt-ins, you should try out ConvertKit’s free trial with this link, and cancel if you don’t like it.
ConvertKit is what I use on the blog currently, and my subscriber list has grown to over 600 in just 3 months.
I think next month I will switch to another host. My current one is not cutting it and has the majority of its customer service based overseas. I’m totally ok with outsourcing but not when the people you have outsourced it to do not know what the heck they are talking about. For about a week or two my website went down for 30 minutes a day. Each time I would get an outsourced person and they would make excuses like “server maintenance is going on” -> oh, really? In the middle of the day? Hmmm…
Until I got someone based in the US who finally told me what the issue was. He noticed my plugins were using too much memory and causing the server to kick me off each day. I deactivated a bunch I wasn’t using and installed an optimizer he recommended. The site stopped going down. He was awesome.
Their server is also incredibly slow, because which is something that Google hates.
Next month I’ll be focusing more heavily on SEO, since Pinterest is doing well for now (hopefully no one changes that algorithm for a bit…). I hear SEO takes a few weeks/months to see results, so I will measure my SEO results in July for the things I do in June. Currently I’m getting 10-40 hits a day from organic search, which is a nice increase from last month percentage wise. Again, the Pareto principle is really obvious because the traffic seems to be hitting 5 percent of all blog posts. Perhaps I’m not very good at SEO right now, but that’s ok! That means there is room for lots and lots of improvement :).
Overall blogging has been quite fun for the past few months.
Here are their guest posts:
I’m behind on a few guest posts/interviews on other blogs I still need to finish, so those will come up next month!
I’ve made quite a few blogging friends via Twitter and love the camaraderie. They really make blogging worthwhile:). Excited to continue this fun hobby!