5 steps to optimize your blog for Pinterest
Nearly 30% of my blog traffic comes from Pinterest. According to my Google Analytics, other than organic search, it is my #1 traffic source.

Photographer friends -- this is HUGE!! And as of today, I haven't spent a dollar on Pinterest advertising. This is all a result of a few key strategies we've implemented here at MJP -- the most foundational of which is optimizing our blog for Pinterest.

Here's the thing: Pinterest is A GIFT FROM GOD for professional photographers. We have beautiful imagery and Pinterest is a free vehicle for it to be shared far and wide in an exponential manner, allowing people who come across it to click back through to the original source -- our website. It's like Pinterest was created JUST. FOR. US.

But if our blogs are not conducive for our content to be shared on this amazing platform, we are essentially shooting ourselves in the foot. Even if you do NOTHING ELSE as far as a Pinterest strategy goes, at the very least, you need to take a few key steps to make sure your blog followers are encouraged and equipped to pin your content so that it can be proliferated across the world wide web.

Today I'm sharing 5 steps to optimize your blog for Pinterest. A few of these steps can be done once and permanently checked off your list, and a few of them need to become a regular part of your blogging workflow, if they're not already. If you do all five, and regularly put out valuable content, I guarantee you will see your web traffic grow exponentially over the coming months and years!

1 -- Apply for Rich Pins
Rich pins are pins that include additional data on the pins themself that cannot be changed by the pinner. You can take a few easy steps to apply with Pinterest to get approved for Rich pins and then any images that are pinned from your site from that point on will be in a Rich Pin format. Here is a visual example of the differences between a regular pin and a Rich pin:
regular pins vs. rich pins
Both pin formats allow the pinner to customize the caption, but in the Rich pin, the title of your blog post (in bold right under the image) and the source of the pin ("Melissa Jill Photography" here) are unable to be altered by the user. They are permanent, as is the link from the pin to your post. Notice how much more substantial the Rich pin appears vs. the regular pin. Getting your blog set up for Rich pins will give your content prominence over that of other photographers and content creators, and help it to stand out and get noticed! In addition, you will ensure that all content pinned from your site is credited to you, no matter how far it is shared across Pinterest.

To apply for Rich Pin status, click here. You will notice that there are currently 6 different types of Rich Pins you can apply for. You will want to apply for the "Article Pins." It doesn't take too long to follow the instructions and get set up once-and-for-all for Rich pins!

2 -- Get a "Pin it" rollover button installed on your blog.
Savvy pinners will know how to pin images from your blog when they want to. But to encourage others who might not be as savvy about Pinterest to pin your content, it is helpful to install a button that appears over your blog images when the user rolls over them. You can see my pin-it button in the upper right of my images when you roll over them. Note the fun pin-tack icon that appears when you roll over the image below:
Playa Blanca Punta Cana Dominican Republic
Having a pin-it button appear over your images when a reader rolls over them will subtly encourage them to pin your content. It also makes it super-easy to do so by bringing up a Pinterest pop up window when an image is clicked.

My blog is custom (it's not built on WordPress or a blogging platform) so I had my programmer create this feature for me. But if you have a WordPress blog, you can click here to follow the instructions to install a plug-in that will create this functionality for your blog.

3 -- Alt-text all of your blogged images.
Alt-texting your images for each new blog post you create is an important step in optimizing your blog for Pinterest. Alt-text is helpful for search engine optimization, making your images searchable for keywords that you include in your alt-text, but it also serves an important purpose when people pin your images: It shows up as the default caption on the pin. The pinner still has the option to change the caption, but this serves them by creating a ready-made caption, saving them valuable time. And if they choose to use your default caption, you have successfully optimized your pin for search on Pinterest as well.

In WordPress, there is an Alt Text box right below the caption on the image settings page. Simply fill that in with a default caption that describes the image. I like to think of what makes the image pin-worthy to me, and then write what I would want to say about it if I were to save it to one of my Pinterest boards. If you click on any of the images in this post or any of my wedding blog posts, you will see the default captions that come up for each to get an idea of general captions that work well within Pinterest.

4 -- Set-up vertical or collage images so they can be pinned separately.
Pinterest LOVES vertical images. They take up the most real estate on Pinterest's platform, so they get noticed more than horizontal images. But most photographers pair vertical images side-by-side on their blogs as one .jpg. When you do this, you cause your images to have to be pinned together, and as a result, they take up less space on Pinterest. Notice how different a stand-alone vertical pin vs. a collage vertical pin appears on the platform:
how to blog side-by-side vertical images that are able to be pinned separately
Since my blog was built custom, I was able to have my programmer create functionality to allow me to upload and alt-text vertical images separately but then pair them side-by-side on my blog. Notice when you roll over the images below that each of them has a different pin button appear in the upper-right corner:
love this wedding portrait under a lone palm tree!
destination wedding in Punta Cana Dominican Republic
As a result, all of the images on my blog can be pinned separately and my vertical images will be stand-alone pins on Pinterest.

But if you don't have a custom blog, there is still hope! PicPress is an amazing tool that allows you to accomplish this same result on a WordPress blog! Click here to check it out and sign up for a free trial!

5 -- Create hidden Pinterest images that are optimized for each content-related post.
If you want your content to get noticed on Pinterest, it's important to have large vertical images that are ideally suited for each blog post, preferably with text tastefully laid over them. Note the pin in the screenshot below that instantly catches your eye:
creating hidden images within blog posts that are optimized for Pinterest
These types of pins are ideal for Pinterest, but not typically ideal for blog posts. So I've started to create them for my blog, while using a little trick I learned to effectively "hide" them within the post. If you click on your browser's Pin-it button with this blog post open, you will notice that one of these optimized vertical images comes up as an option (it's PINK!), but you don't see it anywhere in the post itself. Because this trick is a little more complex, I've dedicated an entire blog post to how I create hidden images for Pinterest here. Definitely check it out and start implementing hidden images optimized for Pinterest into your blogging workflow to see your content go viral!

Boom! That's 5 steps to optimize your blog for Pinterest! It's definitely worth the added effort to get the content you are working SO HARD to create for your blog noticed on one of the most prolific social media platforms available to photographers today! You can DO it! And you will love the results that come from implementing these steps!

If you found this these tips helpful, please take a second to pin this post to Pinterest (may I suggest the pink hidden image with layover text?) AND click here to receive special email access to my most helpful content!

Oh -- and if you're not already doing so, follow me on Pinterest here!
how to harness the power of Pinterest for your business -- tips from an expert
5 steps to optimize your blog for Pinterest and grow your web traffic exponentially!
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