If you are trying to get traffic from Pinterest, you have probably read a ton of articles about what you absolutely have to do. One tip that keeps repeating popping up is that you need „beautifully designed“ images.
Sounds good? Maybe.
Is it helpful? Not to me!
Here is why I find the concept of „beautiful design“ for Pinterest totally unhelpful.
What is beautiful design in the first place? I admit that I have no clue. We are not talking about photos here. And let us be honest, beautiful photos may simply not be your best choice for Pinterest either. Because they may get repins – but they will often simply not inspire clicks and generate traffic to your blog or website.
I am a freak when it comes to design!
I admit it openly: I have no clue about design. My graphics skills totally suck. I don’t presume that I can judge which pin design is „beautiful“ and which is not. And “beauty” certainly is not what makes ME repin a pin or click on it.
So, can I not have Pinterest success and traffic from Pinterest to our blog because I suck at design?
Do I have to pay for a graphic designer?
Totally wrong again.
Let us take a closer look at „beautifully designed“ pins
Since I have no clue what „beautiful design“ is supposed to look like, I will simply take a closer look at pins that I know have some traffic success on Pinterest – and some Pins from pinners that I follow and pins that inspired me to click through to their website to take a look at the content.
As said before I cannot decide which pins are beautiful. But I can say which images speak to me – and the reasons for that is not at all „beautiful design.“
Apart from the pinning strategy that clearly plays an important role whether a pin becomes a traffic success – or not, the design of the pin does play an important part.
If it is not beauty, what is important in a Pinterest image to give it a chance of spreading and producing traffic for your website? Here are 6 characteristics of successful pins – that are far more important than beautiful design!
1. The Size Of Your Pin Image
I have seen bloggers complaining that they don’t see traffic from Pinterest. One look at their website provided the answer: If you don’t provide images in the right format, nobody will pin it – and nobody will repin it or click on it on Pinterest.
You simply cannot expect people to pin stock photos or screenshots. And even a Facebook-sized image won’t give you much traffic from Pinterest.
Pinterest prefers vertical images.
For a time Pinterest’s favoritism of vertical images resulted in bloggers creating longer and longer images. Then for a while, all pins appeared in the same size in the Pinterest feed – resulting in longer pins being automatically cropped.
Now again, you can see pins of various sizes in your feed. But Pinterest itself says it favors pins in a 2:3 ratio – meaning 735 x 1103 px or 800 x 1200 px are optimal dimensions for a pin.
2. Text Overlay
Text on images is your chance of telling people what they can expect when they click from the pin to your content. You can even take it a step further and include a call to action on your pin.
And it is not a coincidence that the above pin examples all have large letter text and clear wording.
Far more important than the beauty of your pin design, is that you use a clear teaser text, written in bold and readable letters. Use larger fonts so that people can also decipher the text on a small version of the pin, for instance, if they are visiting Pinterest on mobile.
Also, use clear fonts. I have seen text on Pins I could barely read because the fonts were all fancy and squiggly/baroque which made it hard to guess the letters. – If in doubt, choose a different font with clear letters.
3. Use contrasts
If you use a background photo, beware that the text you put over it may be hard to read. To help pinners decipher your text, you can use a plain background box in an oppositional color than your text. For instance, see the Meera Kothand pin above.
Or you put the photo in the background with a transparent filter above it. This way the text gets the most emphasis and reading it is not made harder by the photo. See for example the left pin above, by Melyssa Griffin, where the photo does not play an important role at all.
4. Consider Branding
There are various reasons for branding your pin images. One of them is that you want to be able to claim ownership in case of stolen pins.
But there is more to branding your images.
Many pinners pin content from other pinners. And they want to make sure that the content the pin links to is great content. By branding your images you can make it easier for people to recognize your pins as yours – and if your content is always great, allow people to easily repin pins from your website because they already know that they can rely on your awesome content.
You can also grow an audience without people having to follow you. They can find and recognize your pins in their feed and click or pin. With branded pins, your audience will have an easier time to recognize your pins in their feed.
5. Consider content relationship
In various places on Pinterest, content relationship plays an important role. Pinterest tries to present you with other content that you might like. This related content is identified via a couple of factors that go far beyond who you follow and whose content you pinned.
Of course, if you always pin pins from Social Media Examiner, you will see more of their pins in your feed. But have you noticed that color and background photos also influence the pins you see?
Let’s say, I pin one of our more recent pins about Pinterest, that uses orange letters on a white background. Below the pin, I get a couple of „related“ pin recommendations that Pinterest thinks I might be interested in.
And taking a closer look, you can see that ALL the recommendations also use at least some orange text on a more or less white background. Most of the pins are about blogging and social media (that is also due to the fact that I ONLY pin about soial mdia and blogigng). But none of the pins is about Pinterest. They are not even all in English. – But they have orange text.
But that is not always so.
Let’s pin an older pin from our blog about Twitter marketing:
This time, most of the suggested related pins are about Twitter:
There is more about content relationships. For a while, I pinned some images of Newfoundland Dogs (in case, you don’t know, one of our dogs is a black and white Newfoundland Dog) and as a result, Pinterest showed me tons of images of Newfoundland Dogs in my feed – no matter what they were really about.
And that also means, that the background image of your pins can influence what topics Pinterest relates to your pins. If you use cat images as background photos but they really are about home decor, that might not be the best choice. Your pins might end up in cat lovers feeds instead of showing for home design.
6. Keywords + Hashtags
Pinterest uses keywords to identify what a pin is about – and what other content this pin is related to. You can help Pinterest to identify the topic of your pin by using keywords in:
- the Image name
- the Alt tags of the image
- the Pin Description
- The board(s) you pin the image to – use keywords in board names and board descriptions, too
- Add some related hashtags – since the end of 2017 Pinterest actively uses hashtags to find related content
Let’s Sum Up What Your Pinterest Images Need
Ok, although “beautiful design” is a far too vague concept, I guess your pin should not be offending or totally ugly (if you need help with creating your images, check out the tool Canva). But instead of trying to figure out what the broad mass of Pinterest users might find „beautiful“, there are muchfeasibleasable factors that influence your pins’ success:
- Size: Use vertical images – ideally in a 2:3 ratio
- Focus: Use text overlay to state what the pin and the content behind it are about.
- Readability: Use contrast, clear fonts and design elements, to make the text readable – even on small devices.
- Branding: Use your name, blog name, logo or web URL to brand your images. Use your brand to build trust – and traffic.
- Utilize related content: be aware of Pinterest’s related content factors like colors, background images – and keywords.
- Keywords – Make sure you utilize the power of pin descriptions and the boards you pin to
If you follow the above concepts, your pins have a good chance to spread on Pinterest and give you targeted traffic – far more so than some exeptionally beautiful pins.