Driving traffic to your food blog—an addendum
My original post on driving traffic to your food blog remains one of my most popular—and surprisingly, after almost three years, the information is still all very relevant, in my opinion. But there is one MAJOR traffic-driver that was not on the old list, as it’s only recently popped up, virtually out of nowhere: Pinterest.
If you are a food blogger and you are not on Pinterest, create an account and start pinning NOW. Seriously, do it now. ALSO—look to your right and click the button to follow me on Pinterest. Please and thank you.
Most likely you’ve heard the buzz about Pinterest; but take it from a blogger than has seen incredibly rapid results (God, I sound like a Xenadrine spokesperson … )—this is the real deal when it comes to driving traffic to your food blog. Recent reviews of my Google analytics are seriously jaw-dropping: Pinterest went from a nonexistent source of traffic to one of my top referral sources in a matter of weeks. In fact, it contributed to a day of record-breaking traffic to my blog earlier this month—thanks in large part to a single pin from Kevin at Closet Cooking (thanks Kevin!)
Pinterest can get you traffic regardless of if you have an account and are active; doing so, however, greatly increases the effect. Plus, it’s the world’s most addictive productivity killer.
Here are my Pinterest rules to live by:
- Get an account just for your food blog. Give your blog a little shout-out in your profile description and only create boards and pin things that are relevant to your blog.
- Pin early, pin often. Don’t sit and wait to pin only your blog’s content—especially if you don’t blog every day. At first, I was a little stuck with what to do when I created my account. After all, I joined with the sole purpose to promote my blog (although it’s turned into an obsessive time-waster/procrastination-enabler). Should I only pin my posts? It seemed counter-intuitive to pin other bloggers’ posts when I was trying to drive traffic to mine alone. But when I really thought about it, I realized a few things: A) People don’t want to follow someone who only pins a few things each month; B) Pinning other people’s posts and re-pinning other Pinner’s pins (and you thought Twitter lingo was tongue-twisting …) can help draw their attention to your boards and blog; C) The more solid content I pin on my boards, the more likely I am to get active, quality followers who will visit my posts and re-pin; and D) Pinning other blogger content is just good karma. So there you have it—pin other people’s stuff!
- Quality matters.Just like with blogging, the quality of the things you pin matters. I try to always pin things directly from blogs to avoid re-pinning what I call “ghost pins.” Ghost pins are pins that lead nowhere, for all intents and purposes (inexplicably back to Pinterest, to Google, to main pages of blogs or sites instead of to a specific page or post, etc.).
To piggyback on this point, I like to pin content that features beautiful pictures. Put simply, they attract more people and re-pins and make your board WORLDS more appealing. Which brings me to my next tip …
- Mine the food porn sites. I suspect that a major hurdle for some Pinterest users is where to find good content to pin. Your RSS reader is the first logical choice, but if you don’t follow a ton of other blogs, you may hit some dry spells. I pin almost exclusively from Foodgawker and TasteSpotting for a few reasons. First, there’s a wealth of content—much of which is fairly unique and eye-catching (a good thing when it comes to attracting Pinterest followers). Second, thanks to the strict photo submission guidelines, all of the content is gorgeous to look at (another attractive trait for your Pinterest boards).
- Pin recipes that inspire you. As I continued to pin (and pin, and pin and pin) Pinterest took on another form for me. It’s my own personal stash of epicurean inspiration—posts I will go back to when brainstorming for my own blog for ideas. Thinking about it this way makes posting each pin even more satisfying.
- Timing matters. It’s 3 pm on a Tuesday. I’m bored at work. I’m not the only one. How do I know (besides sheer common sense)? Because I get the majority of my re-pins from content I pin in the afternoon. Evening is also a great time. Experiment with a few different pinning times and days, watch the email notifications roll in and judge for yourself the best times for you to pin.
- Add Pin It buttons to your posts. This is easy to do with WordPress plugins. I use the Pinterest “Pin It” Button plugin. Sure, lots of people have the widget in their bookmarks bar, but this makes it easier and is a reminder to pin. You can also add a “Follow me on Pinterest” button to your sidebar—get the button directly from Pinterest.
- Monitor. I use PinReach.com to check on my stats, see my most popular pins at a glance, etc. This activity can help guide future pinning. And it’s free!
- Don’t limit yourself. Re-pin from the main Food & Drink category under the “Everything” tab at the top of the Pinterest homepage. If you only re-pin other people in your network, you won’t catch as much attention from other potential followers.