The month of January was one of the most exciting and exhausting months of my blogging journey so far. At end of December, I was pulling in around 1,000 monthly pageviews. Everything I did was random, and I hadn’t seen growth since I started my blog last year. I decided that January was going to be my month to learn Pinterest and get to 10,000 pageviews so I could finally start earning passive income on my blog. I’m a stay at home mom of 3 kids under 5 so I didn’t have 8 hours a day to blog. But I did spend at least a couple hours every day working on my blog traffic. If you are feeling desperate like I was, I’ll show you how to get more traffic with your blog! Here’s exactly what I did for one month that changed everything, including my income.
This post contains affiliate links
How to get more traffic with your blog
The product I purchased to learn everything that got me here:
Assessment: I told my husband I couldn’t believe all the help this gave me. I would have been lost without it, and a lot of important things on my website would not have been properly set up to expect traffic, like an email list, what to do each day, what kind of posts would likely bring me the most traffic, how to use Pinterest and manually pin, and advice on using tons of different social platforms to share posts. I would reference this Ebook every time I felt lost at what to try next, and it kept me on track. Most of all, it inspired me that if she could do it (a newbie blogger), then so could I!
The state of my blog before this month
Before I got started, I had around 30 blog posts written. None of them were SEO ready (how Google ranks you for those of you new to blogging). Most of them had no pins made for Pinterest, and the ones that did were awful.
I had Adsense installed with a few native ads but hadn’t made more than a few cents. More on that later.
I used my blog primarily as a dumping ground to get free product so it was full of sponsored posts.
None of my posts linked to other posts (called inbound links) so my bounce rate was around 90% (so 9 out of 10 people left after reading 1 post…that’s bad)
I had no idea what I was doing on Pinterest, didn’t have rich pins set up, and was clueless about the importance of keywords in pin descriptions, board names, and how to use group boards.
Most of my energy had been spent on growing my social media platforms in order to get free product through sponsored posts. Rarely did anyone visit my blog from Instagram or Twitter or Facebook page.
Proof that something was working
This is a screenshot of my Google Analytics. You can see my pageviews really changed in the last half of January. In the first couple weeks, I was positive I wouldn’t make it to 5,000 monthly pageviews even. (But hey, even that would have been an awesome jump for me!). Right around the two-week point a couple of new posts really took off and I got my first couple viral pins!
Also, to be 100% honest you will notice my dates are from Jan 1-Feb1, which I am calling “1 month”. My original tracking goal was 10,000 from Jan 1-Jan31, however I was 23 pageviews short of 10,000 at the end of Jan 31. Talk about SUPER frustrating! That’s just proof that a lot can happen in 1 day.
Read on to see what worked!
Daily pageview goal
One thing Anna broke down for me was that to get 10,000 pageviews (which was my goal), you need to average 333 every day. In the beginning even 100 or 200 was really hard. But if you are doing what I talk about in this article and promoting new and old evergreen content, hopefully you can get more than 333 by the end of the month which will make up for days with less.
How I learned Pinterest basics
Anna goes over a ton about Pinterest in her Ebook Zero to 10,000 page views in less than 30 days. It is really awesome for beginners, and she explains it SO well. If you buy ONE thing to teach you how to get more traffic with your blog, get this. A huge chunk of her Ebook is spent explaining everything Pinterest that she did, because it was for her (and for me!) what got our pageviews up.
It also teaches you how to get set up for Pinterest (for the total beginner, with photos), and it’s only $29, which is shockingly low for how much information she shares.
One month after I reached my goal of 10K, I discovered another Ebook by a Pinterest Guru who’s crushing blogging. I’ll describe that in a min, but know you can learn Pinterest well enough with just the Zero to 10,000 page views in less than 30 days. That’s all I really used to get to my 10K goal that month.
Another free Pinterest 5 day course for beginners
I also signed up for this free 5 day Pinterest video course called Pinterest Primer from McKinzie at momsmakecents. It’s really helpful and totally free! She gives you a 10 minute video to watch each day with actionable steps for setting up a Pinterest business account properly and I would recommend doing this first thing!
It was perfect because I knew a little about Pinterest but needed some actionable tips on what to do and how to set my account up right so that Pinterest would show my pins to people.
I also highly recommend reading this article about best practices for pinning straight from Pinterest themselves.
Things I had to do on Pinterest right away
- Change from personal account to Business Account
- Changed some boards to secret boards that had nothing to do with my audience (don’t delete ANY boards, because then you can keep all the followers that you have for the board)
- Make rich pins
- Reorder and rename my boards to reflect my blog topics
- Join Group Boards in my niche and LOTS (time consuming thing, but big payoff)
- Pin daily, around 50 pins. Pin yours and other peoples pins .
- Redo my profile description, board descriptions, and pin descriptions for my personal pins.
- Change my photo to be the same as my blog photo and social media photos. People will recognize your photo before your brand name!
Anna’s Ebook Zero to 10,000 pageviews in less than 30 days has an example of how she keeps a manual pinning spreadsheet and knows what to pin where each day. It’s GOLD. And she gives you a template. She did not pay for a pin scheduler.
Manual pinning is free. So that was my option. I didn’t like the idea of spending money on Tailwind each month when I wasn’t making much money. It’s crazy how fast expenses can add up and I just didn’t have the money to do that each month at this point. Not to mention the time it would take to learn Tailwind…I was too overwhelmed.
I pinned every day, a lot of pins. Probably 50 pins a day. I pinned a lot of other’s content at first just to fill some of my new or empty boards. Get a good 30 or more on each board to start. At the beginning of this month I only had maybe 10 pins of my own for 30 blog posts written, so each day I tried to make new pins for old posts, and post those to any group boards I could.
Making new pins
Getting new pins on Pinterest was my game plan for getting discovered.
Making pins, researching what pins catch your eye on Pinterest and why takes time! So be patient, one or two new pins per day for old posts is doing great!
When I made a new pin, I posted it to all relevant group boards that day, spread out every 15 minutes or so. You can do this manually, or use Boardbooster’s pin scheduler to make a “scheduled campaign”.
After that I would just try to make sure every pin of mine got pinned to some group board every day, and more if possible so long as I was following the rules of each group board and not spamming. Now I pin about 50% my own content and 50% others unless I’m too busy. (I always try and repin from any group board that I pin to, more on that later).
How to not spam group boards
The best way to check that you are not spamming is to click the little grey box that pops up after you pin something, which takes you to the board you just pinned to. Then, you can see your pin there, and can scroll down a tad to see if you can see any of your other pins (mostly looking that there are not two of the same or a just bunch of yours).
Some boards are slow and some are fast moving, so manually checking will help you not spam. Plus, when you do that it’s easy to then pin any pin from that group board to one of your own boards, to keep the board “healthy” so Pinterest will decide to show more pins from that group board to followers of the group board.
It’s a sure way to not spam, and you can delete the pin if you see it is pinned multiple times or too close together.
Related Post: How to monetize your blog with Linqia: Pros and Cons
The best manual pinning coach on the Internet:
If you want to learn from a Pinterest guru who’s blog got over 100K views it’s first year just from manual pinning, I recommend the Ebook Pinterest Strategies from Carly. She’s an expert mom niche blogger and total Pinterest geek. Her Ebook was recommended to me by so many bloggers that I trusted, that I finally gave it a shot for $32 and I’m so glad I did.
For full disclosure I actually didn’t buy Carly’s Ebook my first month getting to 11,000, but rather the next month in February. But you can see below that in February my page views went nuts, to 64K views.
Why Carly’s Pinterest Strategies were unique
- Carly taught me how to use Google Analytics to repin the pins that were bringing me traffic.
- She taught me how she manually pins (btw she still manually pins only).
- She teaches in depth how to train Pinterest what each pin is about starting with the pic and ending with the description. It also learns from the pic we use, board descriptions, and the board names it gets pinned to by you and others.
- How to test if Pinterest knows what your pin is about.
- When to ditch pinning a pin and just make a new one.
- Designing for mobile pins
My analytics in February:
I had a few pins go viral for this post, including a pin with over 13,000 repins in one month! Plus a few semi viral pins for other posts.
I mean, if I could make every pin go viral I would! But you can’t win every time. It’s a lot of guess and check. Here’s a snapshot of my analytics the following month (February). This is to show you that something here was working.
Update May 2018: My pageviews spiked in Feb to 62K due to a viral post, which died down in March. However, Pinterest is still my main traffic source for that post (all my posts actually), and I consistently get around 25-30K pageviews a month following the strategies I’ve told you.
Making pins for mobile traffic
Pinterest Strategies showed me how to make better pins for mobile traffic with larger bolder text. She shows examples of different pins she has made for the same post, and it’s easy to see why some went viral and others just died.
Part of designing a pin like Carly does is studying what’s getting tons of repins for others. A great way to do this is to study the trending section of Pinterest.
Apply for group boards specific to what you blog about
With less than 1,000 followers on Pinterest I knew I needed to get on a lot of good group boards. I searched other motherhood bloggers profiles on Pinterest to see what group boards they were a part of. (Just scroll to the bottom of all their boards and you will likely see group boards). If I found a board related to moms, babies, toddlers, preschool, or making money, I applied.
Before seeing any real traffic I spent the majority of my time this month applying to group boards. Like every day. Do this early! It paid off, as I got onto about 30 (not all are great and I will be leaving many that I never get repins from).
This is the single most valuable thing you can do to get started because it takes a ton of time and no one is going to read the most amazing post you just wrote if they can’t find it.
How to apply for group boards on Pinterest
- When you find a group board niche specific, see if there are instructions on the description of the group board. If they are accepting new contributors, it will say how to apply.
- You must be following the board owner and the group board or they can’t add you.
- Always provide your Pinterest email and Pinterest URL to the board owner in email.
An email template when contacting board owners
“Hi, my name is — and I blog about — at —. I was wondering if you are accepting contributors to your group board called —? If so, I would love to join, and will be sure not to spam and will repin from the board. I’ve followed you and the board, and my Pinterest email is — and Pinterest URL is —. Thanks so much for considering me. Liz”
To get on 30 boards I probably sent out 100 emails like this. Only a few boards had over 5,000, but most were around 1,500-3,000 followers. I found the boards that were repinning my pins were the mama niche boards (all my pins are mom pins), not the group boards that accept all niches.
Don’t apply to generic group boards for all niches
Update May 2018: I have avoided pinning any pins for a few months to the boards that accept all niches, and it hasn’t hurt my traffic at all. My traffic has actually improved. Even though many of those group boards have 50K followers or so and hundreds of collaborators, my pins weren’t getting repinned.
I believe people following those boards aren’t interested in most my topics. I plan to leave generic group boards this month. Plus, those boards are not teaching Pinterest what my pins are about when the board name is “Pin your best pins”.
Why you want specific board names (even group boards)
It helps Pinterest to know what my pins are about when I pin a preschool pin to a board that says “Homeschool Preschool” or “Toddler Activities” rather than “Pin your best pins”. Since I write about babies, mom life, frugal living, and preschool, and some recipe posts, I will be more focused on finding more boards specifically for those types of pins only.
So if my “Homeschool Preschool” pin gets pinned to a board called “what bloggers are pinning” or “for my future babies”, I never repin that pin. I’ll repin the pin from someone who pinned it to a board like “homeschool” or “teaching kids” to teach Pinterest what my pin is about. She goes into WAY more detail about this with photos!
To tell if a board is a group board, you will see the circle in the corner with multiple faces, like the ones below. Can you guess who my audience is?
Trying out a pin scheduler
I chose to try my hand at Boardbooster for $5 instead of Tailwind ($15) due to price point alone. However I will say I think this only nominally brought me traffic since I didn’t have a ton of pins made. I wasn’t on a ton of group boards till half way through the month, and in general didn’t have a good game plan for what I would pin manually and what I would schedule.
Boardbooster is as low as $5/month for 500 pins if you do want to try it. I’ll be honest in saying I don’t think it was the reason for my success. I don’t think you need a scheduler but if you can figure out how to use one (which takes a lot of time), then it can save you time later I’m sure.
Update May 2018: I minimally use Boardbooster at this point to schedule maybe 20 pins/day of my own, so that on days I’m too busy to manually pin at least something is getting pinned. My blog traffic is now around 30K monthly pageviews, about 80% from Pinterest and some from Google now that I have some time to focus on SEO.
Update June 2018: I DO NOT recommend using BoardBooster any longer. A very trusted blogger I subscribe to McKinzie from momsmakecents.com was recently contacted by Pinterest telling her she needed to stop using Boardbooster as it is not their “approved” pin scheduler (only Tailwind is), and that by using Boardbooster her account was at risk of being closed. So I immediately closed my account, even though I was only scheduling around 500 of my pins/month.
How I’ve been pinning
I manually pin every day a minimum of 5 pins that bring me the most traffic (from my Google Analytics) to multiple on topic group boards. Usually I’ll pick one pin per post for the day and pin that around to a few of my best group boards.
The next day I’ll pick a different pin for that post and pin that around. I try and do this for about 5-10 top blog posts/day. An Excel sheet is necessary to keep track of the pin urls bringing me most of my traffic (from Google Analytics) and I only repin those so the pin number keeps increasing.
I also pin daily from Pinterest’s trending section if there are topics related to my niche.
And I pin any of my pins that other’s pinned from my Pinterest notifications. However, only if it was pinned by someone to an on topic board of theirs do I repin it, such as the one below that was in my notifications section. Someone else was teaching Pinterest what this pin was about, correctly, so I repined it again. See below:
I updated old posts and added a pin to each
I went through and as I could (daily almost) and updated about one old blog post a day. If a post didn’t have an affiliate link, I’d find a way to naturally recommend a product I love, so that every post had the capacity to make passive income.
While updating posts I’d add new information, and made the post easier to read by making sure I used H1 and H2 headings and some bullet points from WordPress as well as try and make sure there was lots of white space.
I went through my old pics from old posts and updated the alt description to include keywords in case someone pinned a random pic to Pinterest that wasn’t the actual pin. Pinterest often pulls the description from your alt description (which traditionally is there to tell Google images what your photo is of).
For example, my preschool pin was named “teach preschool at home”on my computer file. That phrase was also part of my alt text description for the pin on my blog as well as my Pinterest pin description.
What I did for each pin
- I made two pins for each post in Canva, and put one in the blog post itself.
- Use the custom dimensions button in Canva and enter 600 x 900. (anything longer than a 2/3 ratio, Pinterest will now cut as part of their 2018 algorithm. They are even starting to show preference to square images, which is shocking and opposite of their former algorithm favoring long pins like 600 x 1200).
- For each pin, I would save the file by naming it with my keyword phrase (for example this post’s pin is named “blog traffic increase”on my computer before uploading to this post.
- I added keyword descriptions with about 4 relevant hashtags to the alt text of the image in WordPress because that is sometimes what Pinterest pulls the description from to apply to their search engine.
So my alt tag for the pin in my post says something like “How to teach preschool at home. See what kids need to know before Kindergarten, and how to make an easy preschool routine. #preschool #toddler #sahm #blueandhazel #preschoolactivities” And yes, I guess Pinterest now likes a few hashtags for organizing so start doing that if you are not!
Setting up email expecting traffic
The point of email subscribers is to email them so they come back to your blog, and hopefully buy something from you down the road when they trust you!
I’ll be honest. I set up email and collected emails, which Anna taught me how to do in her course Zero to 10,000 page views in less than 30 days. but I didn’t actually connect with them during this month. Which is exactly what your not supposed to do.
And since you can email your list with new blog posts to get the extra few page views, I should have done that to add to my 10,000 goal. Whoops.
I chose Mailchimp because it is free for the first 2,000 subscribers. I erased my original optin that said “subscribe to my blog for updates” that got a whole 2 subscribers ever and replaced it with an optin form targeting moms with preschool age kids. Then I learned how to upload my freebie to Mailchimp so it would send my subscribers the link to their freebie.
You can learn how to set everything up by going here.
My opt-in freebie, because you need one to get subscribers.
I made a freebie in Canva for signing up for my list. It was a daily preschool checklist.
I embedded the sign-up form on my two new posts related to preschoolers and gained about 200 subscribers! It was a content upgrade meaning people visiting that page were obviously already interested in preschool.
As a mommy blogger, I will be trying to find other optins for posts that don’t have preschool related content and will learn to email separate lists with relevant content. I’ve heard it’s much easier to do that on Convert Kit. That’s one problem of having a broad audience of moms is that not all moms want to be emailed about the same things.
Also, MailChimp just last month added a new amazing automation feature for free. You can now automatically send welcome emails to your subscribers even after they get your freebie! That is something I didn’t set up this month, but did the next month. You can sign up for Mailchimp free here.
Adding affiliate links to every post
This month I earned $22.48 as an Amazon Affiliate! I knew if I could make that, I could add a zero eventually!
Update May 2018: Each month since Feb, since I got my traffic to around 30K pageviews/month, my Amazon affiliate income has been around $150 on average. Increasing traffic makes affiliate sales much more reliable. This works guys!
I went through my most popular posts (because this takes time to do!) and added affiliate Amazon links to products I was naturally talking about within the post. It’s my goal to make sure every post has a relevant product linked that isn’t salesy, but honest. I’m also a part of a couple other affiliate programs that have not earned a penny.
Honestly only recommend products you love
One thing I realize is that readers really take my recommendations to heart enough to purchase if it solves a problem for them! For instance, in my post How to teach your kid to read using this one easy book several people have purchased this book every single day.
Not only do we love and use it, but my readers had to actually purchase it if they wanted to teach their kid to read with it like we did. That post was genius because it solves a problem for those wanting to teach their kids to read, and the product in my post is the way to solve the problem.
This made me realize that 1. only recommend products I believe in and 2. every post needs to have affiliate links so that it can be monetized.
Stopped sponsored posts
During this power month, I intentionally took on no sponsored posts. I had no time to create my own content or to work on a blog traffic increase strategy. So this went on hold.
Social media paused to save time
I completely dropped doing new Instagram posts, as that also takes a lot of time and brings no traffic to my blog. Instagram is more to grow a brand presence as well as to get sponsored posts at this point.
I also stopped putting any time into growing followers for my Facebook Page. Or Twitter. Those take time better spent learning Pinterest, making pins, applying to group boards, and writing good content.
Yes, when I finished writing a post I’d add it to those pages. But I did not spend much time growing those numbers. Just advertising on them. Even still, Pinterest was 99% of my traffic, so it really makes sense to put your effort there this month.
How I advertised besides Pinterest
I posted 3-5 times daily on Twitter as I remembered. Weekly with a new post on my Facebook page, and about every few days on Google Plus. I wish I had time to get to all the other channels! Anna goes in depth in her Ebook i told you about, such as Stumble Upon and Reddit. However that will be another time for me. I really focused on Pinterest traffic and that is what did it for me.
Update May 2018: I tray to share a Facebook post from either my blog or other mom blogs daily. The reach isn’t great (as in really bad 50 people or less see each one). But I want my page to grow and have useful content on it. This helps other bloggers too (who often in turn share a post of yours to their FB page!).
Facebook groups help a lot to bring in extra blog traffic
One thing I did to work on my blog traffic increase was to post daily on some sort of share thread on Facebook. Usually one thread per day because reciprocating is SO time consuming. Being small I was pretty much invisible and not ranking high enough on Google any organic traffic. So I tried to find FB threads to boost traffic. I searched for and joined groups like “blog share thread” or “Pinterest repin thread” or “mom blog”
It wasn’t the best use of time, and mostly results in one time traffic. But it added a few hundred extra blog visits which do add up when you are aiming to get to 10,000 or higher! Anytime someone else can share your post it is going to hopefully increase traffic.
Writing new evergreen content
Anna inspired me to think about writing only evergreen posts to really see a quick blog traffic increase. I tried to think about what I would google about as a mom, or type into a Pinterest search.
I had time to write about three new posts over one month. And promote them. A post not promoted is no post at all. Before writing a post I did tons of research. I scoured Pinterest for pins that went viral. What content would never get old and would solve a huge problem lots of my ideal audience had? You can see my posts I wrote during the month here:
Check your Google analytics
Sadly, this will consume your thoughts for a while as you have this huge goal to hit. I checked mine a lot, too much really. Numbers can be sad to look at, but motivating too. Often times I would start to receive blog traffic increase for a pin 3-4 days after I pinned it consistently. Not sure if that’s how Pinterest works, but know that it can take a while to see the traffic.
To see what channels are sending you traffic go to Acquisition –>Social –> Overview.
Set up Adsense.
Hey, you won’t make much with them but it’s something! I made like $11.30 my first month, and $87.49 the next month.
You want to set up ads before you get a blog traffic increase, which means now. And when you get to 25,000 sessions, you can apply for Mediavine which pays waaaaay better than Amazon. I just got accepted in March so I’ll update this with how it pays soon. ( I know that seems impossible now, but it’s not! Keep working!)
Update June 2018: If you need some motivation to keep going, this is it: If you can get to 10K pageviews in one month, then you have what it takes to triple that like I did. Get to 25K sessions (which is about 30K pageviews) and start seeing incredible ad income with Mediavine. Since joining in March I’ve had a $250 month, a $350 month, and am on track this month for a $450 month. From ads! I will never leave them.
Make sure you have share buttons!
I use Sharaholic which is the share buttons you see on my left sidebar. It’s free and you can customize the color, size, and where it sits on your site! Hundreds of people have shared my posts to Facebook over the last few months due to this making it easy for them to share.
There are just SO many things to do when it comes to how to get more traffic with your blog. It’s overwhelming. Getting my first 10,000 page views in a month was about 10,000 times harder than going from 10,000-30,000 page views. You have so much ground work to lay.
So work hard and know that you will rest soon, and hopefully enjoy some passive income in the near future! I cannot guarantee an outcome for you. But I can show you what worked for me, and show you the resources I used to learn from. Hope that helps you!
If you loved this post, please pin on Pinterest to help others find it!