social media how toAre you looking for creative ideas to drive Pinterest traffic to your site?

If you’re wondering just how effective a great image can be in driving traffic to your website, read on…

Since the launch of Pinterest, bloggers and website owners have been amazed to see just how much traffic this social photo-sharing platform can generate for a site or particular post.

The power of Pinterest comes IF the image on the page or post is a real attention-grabber; in other words, “pinnable.”

So how do you create images that tell a story and intrigue the viewer, all in the split second they take to glance at it?

pic worth a thousand words

The better the image the greater the pins.

#1: Send a Clear Message

If you spend lots of time writing your blog posts and structuring them for maximum search engine optimization, don’t stop short of including one of the most important traffic generators: the images.

Now that there’s Pinterest, a picture may be the ONLY thing someone sees, using it to decide whether to visit your site or not.

At least one of your images should convey the whole message of your post or page.

Images with easy-to-read, bold text do that particularly well. There are lots of easy and free image editors you can use to modify or create custom and compelling graphics for your posts. Pixlr is my personal fave for quick online editing.

Below are some great examples of eye-catching pics from Kid’s Activities Blog, Rhonna Designs, Six Sisters’ Stuff and Instructables.

Don’t these images just make you want to click through and learn more?

pic with clear message

A clear message on your image will demand attention.

 #2: Make Sure Your Photos are the Right Format

When people visit your site and like what they see, they’ll want to pin it to one of their relevant boards. So it’s important to know what people are pinning from your home page, your product pages, etc. You can find out by using this URL: (replace “” as appropriate).

Additionally, if you’ve installed the “Pin It” button in your browser, visit any page of your site and see what comes up when you use the Pin It button. Do all your pages have effective images, available for pinning?

pin it button

More images on a page will lead to more pinning of your content.

You may be as dismayed as I was when I realized that a flash slide show on the home page of my website featuring product images and selling points was NOT pinnable. (And I’ve seen countless other sites that have this problem too.)

Only images and videos (YouTube & Vimeo) are pinnable.

It’s ineffectual for your business (and frustrating for a reader) to love your site, go to pin it and find that nothing relevant comes up to save and share.

On my website, the only thing that was pinnable and even remotely interesting was my banner image, but it was much wider than the maximum width Pinterest will allow (554 pixels). People still pinned this banner image (resized by Pinterest and ultimately misshapen) but it looked awful, and therefore was not generating much traffic. So I quickly added a very clear and properly sized image to my home page. Here’s the difference:

before and after

Size your images to display without distortion.

In his very informative article and rich-with-tips infographic featured recently on Mashable, Jeremy Cablona points out, “A properly optimized pin can make all the difference between 50 repins or no repins.”

image optimization

Click this image for lots more great image optimizing tips.

#3: Reach Outside the Box

Not sure how to market yourself or your biz using images? If you think your business is not particularly “image-centric,” think again.

Just like everything in a successful social media campaign, it’s all about sharing things of value with your audience. You are selling to people. Even if your product only serves one particular niche, those people have lots of different interests outside of what you offer.

Think about them. What do they do in their spare time? Do they have families? Do they share common interests?

Find some of your customers’ pin boards and do some research. Get to know the things they like by looking at their boards. This will inspire you to create image boards that will have broad appeal to your market.

Just because you only sell blue widgets doesn’t mean you can only feature blue widgets on your pin boards. Two terrific articles with some creative, outside-the-box ideas for business pin boards can be found on Sprout Social and Copyblogger.

#4: Increase Traffic with Contest and Giveaway Entries

Lots of companies use contests and giveaways to increase traffic. Pinterest is a fabulous way to promote them! By creating a very clear image of the event and the prize, people can see at a glance what they can win.

If you do a search on Pinterest for “enter to win” or “giveaway,” you’ll come up with all kinds of images. Serious contest entrants are using Pinterest to search for contests to enter. Let them know you have one!

  • In the description field, be sure to include “contest,” “giveaway” and “enter to win.”
  • If you also include a dollar amount for your prize, Pinterest will add a banner in the upper left-hand corner of your pin with the prize amount. This can attract even more attention.

Below are a few examples of terrific contest graphics from Amy’s Daily Dose, Giveaway Bandit, Family Fresh Cooking and Kid’s Stuff World.


Pin your contests and don't forget to include the prize!

You can even have your entrants use Pinterest to enter your contest:

  • Ask your readers to create boards that include your keywords in the descriptions.
  • Have them repin your images to these boards.

Bold images promoting your giveaway will surely increase traffic. Fabulous, pin-worthy contest graphics, as well as other Pinterest marketing tips and ideas, can be found on Pin ‘n’ Tell:

call to action

These images include a strong call to action.

#5: Captivate Emotions

Though we may see things differently, all of us have emotional responses to the things around us, the things that touch us. A picture can tell a story. It can also convey intense emotion, or even a complete thought or feeling.

When you are searching for the right picture for your blog post, or creating images for your website, think of single words that convey the message you’re trying to get across.

For example, are you promoting opulence, professionalism or newness? Is your product yummy, affordable, hilarious, convenient, lifesaving, etc.? Use images that speak those words.

“When you think of a single word, your images will always be focused, and they’ll always convey a meaning that makes a real impact.” – Smashing Magazine.

emotinal image

Emotional and stirring will immediately draw a viewer in.

Pinterest is now the best social platform upon which to share “a picture worth a thousand words.”

With or without added text, if you use images that people can relate and respond to, you’ll increase the likelihood that they’ll find value in what you’re sharing. Growing your fan base via Pinterest can be fun, free and easier than you think.

What do you think? Is your business on board yet? A Pinterest board, that is… Share your biz pinning strategies in the comment box below.

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  • gusvdw45

    Thanks for Post! 

    I needed something like this to give my ideas a bit of a boost. Hopefully I can use it to launch a site and the brand behind it. Thanks a lot. Will share the results!!

  •  Really these suggestions are going to help me while deciding any image sharing on Pinterest. As I was waiting for someone who will talk about Pinterest. And finally I got this article.

  • joeflyde

    Great post, I really like the idea of holding a contest on pinterest.

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  • Kelly,

    I think #5 is really important (that image really captures emotion btw). There’s always a victory won when you can make someone feel a way (hopefully in a good way) about your business. So when it be joy, nostalgia, relieved, or whatever; making people feel will always make them remember and usually leads to them taking a desired action. 

    Thanks for the tips!

  • I’m just getting acclimated to Pinterest and really like #4.  I’ve used giveaways and contests very successfully on my blog to build my email list as well as interest surrounding upcoming posts, products, announcements, etc.  However, I didn’t realize how effective that same strategy would be on Pinterest.  Thanks for turning the light bulb on over my head!

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  • You’re welcome Dewane! I totally agree. Pictures certainly have a way of immediately drawing people in, one way or the other. Lol, When I spend even a little time on Pinterest, I generally feel overwhelmed with simply great ideas. Man! There is so much talent and wonderful information out there, and people are so generously sharing it there. You can’t help but be inspired. Love that!

  • Thanks Kelly for this great post. It adds a lot of new insights to my knowledge as blogger. I always use professional images on my sites. My go to resource is Lately I started to develop a real interest in black and white pics. Actually created a pinboard with amazing black and white pics all with a link to particular blog posts on my site. I’m certainly going to follow your advice and share your tips with my readers. Thanks again! You rock, as always 🙂

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  • Thanks Juan! Very cool idea to create a whole board with images that link back to one post if you’re  trying to generate lots of traffic to it. Great tip to use 🙂 You can also use to find images. A great image + great text = traffic.

  • Great post 🙂 I love me some Pinterest 

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  • Thank you for this valuable info on Pinterest!  

  • Paul

    Kelly- Thanks for your efforts on this post. My business ( actually created the PIO infographic you used. In your post you have an outdated screen grap of our infographic. If you look closely, you will see that our graphic artist misspelled optimization (he forgot the final “i”). However, if you follow your link to Mashable you will see that we quickly corrected that issue (and updated the graphic with more information). If you can, it would be great if you changed out your screen grab to represent the current infographic. Again, great post, and I look forward to reading more of your posts on Pinterest. 

  • Amy

    I especially love the link to the “How to Make Images Stand Out on Pinterest” very helpful, as is this entire post. Great ideas. Thank you!

  • We love this visual as opposed to verbal form of social media and the beauty of some peoples board is amazing.

  • Thanks for the article.  Pinterest has been a great tool in my business that will continue to grow with new users.  I have a recent pin widget on my site that works great.

  • Excellent post – sharing all around. I did try to use the Pin icon on this site for this post, and no image comes up…

  • Hi, I recently put myself on Pinterest and then invited myself to join Pinterest because I wanted to put my business on the site as well. However, when I click on the link within the invite email it goes to me as I already exist. Any suggestions as to how to start a fresh board? Thanks for the great article!

  • Thanks for the tips! 🙂

  • Bevcarlson

    re:  So it’s important to know what people are pinning from your home page, your product pages, etc. You can find out here. Link give you a 404 message.

  • Christine

    I have been trying to get an account with Pinterest and have submitted my info twice.  Still have not heard back from them.  Do you know if this is typical or am I doing something wrong?

  • I know this a bad idea for page-weight and markup, but pinterest notices hidden images. So rather than redesign your site and get rid of flash (which is probabaly a good idea ayway) you could have a hidden image kicked off the page with css: 

    .offpage { position: absolute;

    I bet there’s a javascript that could spoof pinterest to look in your images folder after seeing what’s on your page…

  • You have to log out of pinterest before clicking on the link in your email.

  • RuthAnn Deline

    Thank-you for this info, I have been studying different avenues and this helps out in a huge way….I love Pinterest and have for awhile…

  • Hi Phyllis – Thanks! I just tried my installed pin it button (I’m on Google Chrome) and it’s bringing up all the images for me. Maybe it’s a browser issue??

  • No. My installed button works too. I’m talking about the icon that SME has installed on this blog (like the other icons for Facebook, Twitter, G+. The icon to the left of the buffer app icon before the comments section. Try that one.

  • Sonia

    Great info on Pinterest images. I love Pinterest and these creative tips will help me with my pins and gaining traffic back to my online businesses. Thanks!

  • Thanks for pointing that out! Here’s the link: 
    Fill in the YOUR WEBSITE part with your domain. 🙂

  • Hi Christine. Send me an email to info AT easylunchboxes DOT com and I’ll send you an invite. It’s a lot faster that way 🙂

  • Hi, I have done that and it still takes me to my current incarnation. Hmmm.. I shall try again.

  • Thanks for this info,Pinterest has allowed me to meet great photographers and expand my horizons. I am developing a photographic project costs and position but with tools like pinterest can get good results.

  • Emilycbaker

    Be careful with contests –Pinterest and their users often mark these as spam, so you may have the opposite effect you want!

  • Emilycbaker

     Pinterest and their users often mark contests as spam, so you may have the opposite effect you want and get banned from Pinterest by pinning a contest!

  • Hello there is a mistake the maximum width image is 600 px.  Please have a look on this pin
    I have checked all the max width for image and max characters on Pinterest. Please have a look on my tutorial.

  • mymarketer

    Kelly did you receive my comment that I left about five hours ago? It said that it was being moderated (I signed in as a guest). I was pointing out an error in point 2. If not, I will resubmit my comment. 

  • I’ve used pinterest to optimize my site and the result was amazing my site was jumped from #234 to #9 in few weeks time. The trick is we must got our website pinned and repinned by many people this is the hardest part. Most of pinterest users won’t doing repin when they aren’t like what we pinned. I do simple thing to outsource it on fiverr and got my site pinned by more than 70 people, I don’t know how can he did it just search by typing pinterest on fiverr and you will find it. As I know currently pinterest is best for SEO for these reason:1. Once our website pinned it has 3 backlinks counts2. Google interest in social media signal so it will not tagged as links farm3. Currently pinterest links are dofollow even the image4. Also support anchor text, it’s perfect for placing our keywords5. Obama The President and Mark Zuckerberg now pinning on Pinterest lol.

  • Thanks for letting us know, Bev!  It’s fixed now.

  • Hi Paul – thank you. Someone pointed out a 404 error code on a link in point 2 but it’s been fixed. Please let us know if it was something else.

  • I could see how that would be possible Emily and I have seen numerous contests that REALLY look spammy – mostly because they are continually pinned by the same acct. Blech. But I think if you are running a legit contest with a nice prize, pinning once for your followers to be aware of it doesn’t strike me as any spammier than posting about it on your Facebook page…. 

  • Hey Phyllis – Thanks for bringing this to our attention.  We’re notifying the DIGG DIGG developers

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  • pinntell

    Thanks for the shout out!  

  • Love your blog Jen! So happy to share it here 🙂

  • Amazing article! The tips given are fantastic & I loved it how well the examples have a referral link that makes this article so comprehensive! Am surely going to make full use of the shared tips! Thank you for sharing the tips & kindly continue to do so! Good Job! 

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  • Contests are a great incentive for readers to opt in. This is a well crafted post.

  • mymarketer

    Kelly- It looks like my original comment was just approved. It is . Let me know if I can help with anything. 

  • mymarketer

    Kelly- It looks like my original comment was just approved (#comment-506972636). Hopefully it helps. Again, great article. Let me know if you ever want to guest post on our site =>. 

  • There’s good information out there on best times to Pin and also the height of the image can also effect how many repins you get. I have a whole pinboard dedicated to articles on marketing on Pinterest. I’ll be adding this one too. Thanks! 

  • mymarketer

    P.S. I tried to actually link to the original comment in my last comment but it looks like when I do it goes into moderation (due to the link, I am sure). My original comment is about a spelling error in the PIO infographic you use in point 2 (the infographic was created by my company and we have updated it). I was just hoping to have you update your screen shot on the infographic (which you can pull again from Mashable). 

  • Folksmarket

    Its wonderful article as Always and intersting too..Kelly you seriously brings the excitement factor with every Social it blogging, twitting,facebook or pinterest..
    Very nice stuff..!

  • Thank you!! Happy to have such good resources to draw from and share with you here 🙂

  • Thank you for that @8bb8bc223ee00b66f334ea5bfb01ad70:disqus ! …A little excitement is what keeps us all going 😉

  • Eeek. @twitter-818793:disqus so busy looking at your fabulous infographic, none of us noticed the typo! Let me see what I can do about having it replaced. Thanks for pointing that out. And thanks for the terrific infographic!

  • mymarketer

    Yeah, we were mortified that we completely overlooked the misspelling before it hit Mashable! A hard lesson to learn, but definitely one we won’t forget!

  • All fixed Paul! Have been looking through your new site and all you’re doing over at Wowee! Great resource I’ll be following now. Thank you!

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  • Kelly, thank you so much for the fab Pinterest image tips, have been scratching my head. “Reach Outside The Box”  & “Captivate Emotions” activated the sparks.

  • Kyle-Beth Hilfer

    Contests and sweepstakes on Pinterest are a great idea, but they need to be executed with attention to legal details. The key is authorizing use of images over which you have license or copyright rights as a brand. Of course, there are myriad other legal issues involved as well as sweepstakes and contests are governed by 50 states’ laws. There are also implications with FTC guides depending on the promotion’s implementation. I caution companies to vet their promotions with specialized legal counsel to minimize risk.

  • Hey Renee! So glad to have sparked a few ideas. If you spend some time on Pinterest looking around at what different brands and businesses are doing with their boards you’ll find a myriad of unexpected gems. I often find the best ones on small company boards. I’m constantly amazed at the great ideas people come up with 🙂

  • Actually @twitter-234450440:disqus – I personally don’t much care for the contests that people run ON Pinterest. Like those that say to “create a board and post images on that board in order to enter our contest.” I was only talking about creating your own image to, one time, pin to your own board to promote the fact that you are running a contest on your own personal blog…. if others want to repin your info about the contest, then that’s a natural share that someone can do but it doesn’t mean they’re doing it to gain more entries…. I think all entries for a contest should be gathered off of Pinterest.

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  • sueplc

    I was so excited to see someone else had this problem. Yea! here’s the answer. Ouch…I get the same 404 error!

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  • Very informative article.  I’ve been dragging my feet about getting involved in Pinterest, but I think I’m finally ready to jump right in, thanks in part to this article.  Thanks.  JC

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  • Nick Messenger

    Hi Kelly,
    Thank you for a great article.  Pinterest really seems to be the latest in the social media world. Like a lot of others I have been a bit slow of the mark but have now got myself sorted!
    Do you find , at times, some posts don`t have an obvious image to go with it? If so, how do you deal with it? By way of an example, if you had a pillar post about affiliate marketing what type of image would you attach to that?

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  • Hi Nick – I have actually been going back through my old posts and making new killer images for them, most with text, which I think, is the most obvious eye-catcher. I really like to combine images with text, but sometimes an image might just be misleading or distracting. Like the first image on this post – no pic, just words – tells people exactly what the post is about. So if what you’re writing about is better described than pictured, make a simple graphic that is ALL text, then no one has to guess!

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  • I was just having a twitter discussion the other day and was teaching a director the basics of pinterest and the first thing I said was think outside the box.  You took the words right outta me.  Great ideas on how to generate shares and likes through pinterest!

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  • You can find some great images that have been licensed for editing and redistribution using the Creative Commons search engine: (just remember to check the ‘for editing’ checkbox when you start your search for a suitable image)

  • Jan

    Many thanks for this. I joined Pinterest a month or so ago but, in spite of quite a bit of effort, have yet to have someone re-pin a Pin from my site. I’ve now spent some time creating a “fantasy picture”  for a web background/screen background – will see how that does.

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  • Great information for those of us who use pinterest for business.  When your picture is in the right format it just looks better so it will get repinned more.

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  • Alison Moore Smith

    I have no biz pinning strategies to share, but I learned a ton reading here. Great post! I just linked to this for my network bloggers!

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  • Annie Broems

    Does Pinterest work for Dutch affiliates?

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  • Katie O

    Hi there- great tips! What do you recommend as the best tool for creating original pins? Thank you!

  • Katie O

    Never mind I see where you answered that question now- my mistake! Thank you!

  • Great blog post and right on time! Gearing up for a workshop on May 7 and we’re going to do a giveaway on Pinterest!

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  • Jeff Chen

    So great post !!

  • It is amazing that even after I thought I understood Pinterest…I find your article, read it and BAM….new great Info…Thanks Kelly

  • Melanie Herberg

    Is there a way to add a photo to create a banner on my boards?

  • Miss Kim

    Great informative post! I haven’t been too too active with Pinterest yet, but I totally should start!

  • Wow! It’s awesome
    blog post here…. really very interesting for reading…..

  • Johanna

    How do I get my text to show with my photo. I have a caption written, but it does not show up (or the link) when pinned (???)

  • Therapy in a Bottle

    Such valuable information that we will be using right away. Contests and tutorials galore! Thank you for the post!

  • Lots of info here.It is going to take a lot of time for me to use it.I’ll start with send a clear mesage

  • Renee

    This Is a great post, really helpful and inspiring with great ideas. Thanks,

  • SAikot ahmed

    Thanks got something new here.