Driving Traffic with Pinterest

It seems sometimes that there is a new social networking or social bookmarking service starting up every week, and in some cases this is true.

Pinterest is a little different, however, as it works as a visual medium, as opposed to something like Twitter which is almost exclusively text-based. If you’ve found Twitter lacking as a means of spreading the word about your blog, Pinterest offers an interesting alternative.

While this might not be suitable for everyone (most will notice that using Pinterest alongside Twitter is the best option) it should be ideal for you if your blog is a largely visual project (you might be an illustrator, for example) or if you create guides and how-to articles.

Because Pinterest embraces the two largest social networks, Facebook and Twitter, its users can share what they have pinned through status updates and wall posts. Its reach, therefore, is potentially larger than those services.

What Is Pinterest?

With Pinterest you can create a profile, create labelled boards for your areas of “interest” and then “pin” links to the appropriate boards thanks to a browser-based button.

What this means is that those friends and contacts that are following your activity on Pinterest can see the same favored links. They might share or comment on them, generating vital links and conversation.

Ultimately, Pinterest is like a large online scrapbook or cork pinboard to which you can stick or pin any useful links you have found around the web. Given how easy it is to forget that you saw something interesting when reading perhaps 50+ pages per day – not to mention the time it takes to check them when you do remember to make a note of the URL, perhaps as a browser favourite – it is obvious how Pinterest is drawing users to its service.

So how do you pin? It’s very simple, actually. Once you sign up, the service offers a button that you drag to your browser toolbar. This is basically a small script that is activated when you click the button, causing the web page currently being viewed to be pinned to a Pinterest board.

Using Pinterest to Promote Your Blog

As a blogger or a business running a blog, you’ll be interested in reaching new readers and these can be acquired using Pinterest intelligently. Just as importantly, however, the service – which in January 2012 experienced more referral traffic than Google+ and YouTube – can be used to help you identify trends that are suitable for your blog to key into.

Visual artists can use Pinterest to showcase work on dedicated boards, attracting links for users to share with their friends via Facebook or Twitter.

You don’t have to be an artist to use Pinterest, however. Looking at a picture – which has been claimed to be worth 10,000 words – is certainly quicker than reading. An appropriate image accompanying an article on your blog that is then pinned can yield excellent results. If your blog is about inspiration than suitably inspiring images should accompany the posts, and these can be selected to display on Pinterest when the article is pinned.

Pinterest Profiles and Buzz

A Pinterest profile can display your blog’s URL, enabling people who stumble across your account to find more about who you are. While items that you pin from your blog will lead back there, anything of interest that others users have pinned that you subsequently repin will not. Therefore having a URL on your profile and perhaps linking to a similar item on your own blog in the comment space is recommended.

Meanwhile, if you are planning on utilizing Pinterest as a method of reaching out to new readers (or even existing readers who don’t use Facebook or Twitter) there are a number of useful plugins for WordPress that you can take advantage of. Most interesting is the Pinterest Badge which adds a widget to your sidebar with a count of how many Pinterest followers you have and tile-like images of your recent pins.

Another Weapon in Your Arsenal

With so much information available every day, it can be difficult for the average web user to come to terms with what they are reading, whether they understand it and if they like it.

Pinterest offers an excellent way for readers to curate material, collecting it quickly and sharing it on their boards for others to see. One particularly useful side effect of Pinterest is that anyone can appear to be a trendsetter, thought leader or early adopter among their peers simply by pinning the right piece of information.

Keeping an eye on these trends can help you develop tailored content on your blog that taps into these trends and attracts new readers.

About Christian

Christian is a professional freelance writer, blogger and website manager with 8 years' experience producing copy, developing content and collaborating with designers. You can find him on Twitter and Google+.

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