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Leaving Pinterest Group Boards: 2 Month Update

I’ve received a few questions lately about how I’ve continued to grow my Pinterest traffic on the Sober Alley blog since eliminating group boards and also only (well, mostly) pinning my own content (very few third-party pins). In this post I’m going to go over my Pinterest account and traffic progress since making these changes about two months ago (October 2018).

*This post contains affiliate links

The Beginning Of Using Pinterest

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As a bit of recap, though I started my blog in March 2018, I didn’t start pinning anything to Pinterest until the end of June, when I had probably 30-40 articles on my blog.

I chose to wait for a few reasons:

a. Mailing list: I wanted to have my mailing list in place so I could capture subscribers right away

b. Enough content: The idea of people landing on my site with just a handful of articles to read didn’t sit well with me.

c. Affiliate links: I wanted to begin making affiliate sales immediately if I could

I’m glad I chose this approach because one of my very first pins took off and went viral (to me… 3k clicks to my site) within the first week of releasing it – and sure enough it was important to have systems in place to take advantage of that spike in traffic.

The Reason For Fast Pinterest Traffic Growth

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I’ll sing this from the rooftops all day long – the reason I had such strong, early success with Pinterest was due to Jennifer Maker’s extremely affordable (and honestly way underpriced) Pinterest course.

The main key to my growth with Pinterest, and the reason I was able to join Mediavine just 3 months after starting Pinterest, comes from her teaching us how to set up our Pinterest boards in a very specific way. One that I can’t share on my own blog because it’s not my information to share.

While I’ve since discovered my own path and don’t follow everything in any course to a tee – the one main point that she instructs is pure gold and is why I don’t need to do these things anymore.

So, again, if you’re serious about elevating your Pinterest game – you need to buy this course. Bottom line.

Traffic Growth Since Quitting Group Boards

As you can see in the screenshot, my traffic has grown pretty steadily since making the big leap to quitting Pinterest group boards in early October. I had 38k page views when I joined Mediavine at the end of September, then *magically* after leaving all my Pinterest group boards I ended October with 64,000 page views! Coincidence? Maybe. Exciting? Definitely.

I continued in November with just my own personal boards, and November was also the first full month where I quit pinning 3rd party pins.

This was a little bit scary, but as you can see – continued growth! I ended November with 80,000 page views. So… if it ain’t broke, why fix it?

It’s December 17, 2018 as I’m writing this, and you can see that I’m already just over 60,000 page views, which is certainly on track to beating November.

At this rate I project to have my first 100,000 page view month, just 5 months after releasing my first Pinterest pin, without using group boards, and with pinning relatively few third-party pins!

I’ll just say here about 97% of my traffic currently comes from Pinterest. This scares me because of how fickle Pinterest can be. I’m working on it, but I’m not having much success. So I do feel like a one-trick-pony in this sense. I’m by no means a blogging or traffic expert — just sharing what works for me!

The Third Party Pins I DO Pin

Okay so I don’t really pin third-party pins anymore, except for ONE special occasion – that’s entering new niches or creating boards where I don’t already have lots of content myself.

I  made some new realizations about the direction I wanted my blog to go – basically I need to go broader in order to get my core message across, and this requires adding some totally new topics and boards to my account that I just don’t have the content for yet.

So… for new niches and new boards that I just don’t have enough articles to create tons of pins for, I do and will pin third party pins using the exact strategy that Jennifer Maker teaches in her Pinterest course.

This, in my opinion, is very important and is WHY by the time I have enough content to circulate through these boards, I’ll no longer need to pin 3rd party pins.

So right now, I’m just going back to the drawing board for these niches, and what you see in the graphic above is that my Pinterest analytics did drop some when I stopped pinning third-party pins. Since I started pinning third-party pins again to new topic boards, you do see that gradually starting to rise.

Ignore Vanity Metrics (Pinterest Analytics Stats)

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BUT… what really matters is clicks, not Pinterest analytics. Though I did see a drop in Pinterest analytics, I did NOT see a drop in actual clicks to my site. This is important. You don’t want to get caught up in the wrong metrics. It LOOKS like my account performed worse, but I’m seeing more traffic than ever! Pinterest stats could go to zero for all I care, if my actual website is flooded with clicks and growth, right?

Pinterest Success – What Really Matters

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I wrote a bit more about this in The Only 3 Things That Really Matter For Pinterest Traffic, but it’s worth repeating here.

All the tiny pieces that make up a Pinterest strategy, that people stress and worry over, really don’t matter.

Whether you use group boards or not, whether you pin 40 times a day or just 3, whether you use Tailwind or pin manually, whether you pin directly from your site or upload directly into Pinterest…

Those things don’t matter all that much. What DOES matter is:

1- Pin Designs

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First, make sure your pin designs are ON POINT. If your pins don’t look good enough to compete with the others in your niche, no matter how many group boards you share them in, no matter how many times a day you pin them, no matter if you pin them from your site or use Tailwind – they just aren’t going to fly. Bottom line.

I’m no graphic designer but I DO put time and effort into practicing pin designs, playing around with different styles, and seeing what the top pins look like and incorporating some elements from those into my designs.

Once you find some designs that consistently perform well for you, you can keep those as a template and just plug in different text and images, so you can create new, attractive pins in a few minutes. It’s not labor intensive at all once you get your style and setup under control.

2- Feed Pinterest NEW Content

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Once you’re able to create amazing pins in minutes, it becomes super easy to start releasing a new pin every day (or most days) to stimulate your entire account. I believe Pinterest rewards creators for, well… creating.

Like yeah you can keep repinning your old content over and over. You can re-pin other peoples’ content over and over too, but put on your business hat, here.

Pinterest is a business that requires fresh content to place in front of the eyes of their customers. If they get this new content from content creators, wouldn’t they reward those creators who are essentially boosting the value of their whole platform, by feeding them NEW content that keeps their customers happy?

Like, why on Earth would Pinterest reward you for doing the customer’s job (spreading already existent content) when you’re a creator? It doesn’t make sense! It makes sense that they see you cranking out new and interesting, high-quality material on a regular basis and go “oh yeah, this is great… keep doing this” and boost you.

So, for me, while the new pins I create usually (not always) do take off pretty well, I also see older pins performing better too. I do believe I have some sort of Pinterest favor by now because I’m always feeding them new content.  I can’t confirm, but I believe this is true and I won’t stop feeding the hungry, hungry beast! Daily if I can!

3- Keywords EVERYWHERE

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Finally, yes this is still of utmost importance. You need to have strong keyword game. They need to be EVERYWHERE. Board names, description, alt-text of the pins themselves. Your image titles need to be keyworded. Your overall profile. Everything, all the time. No exceptions.

Pinterest Strategy: Find What Works For YOU

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Overall, I do believe in the 3 core concepts I talked about earlier. That the minutiae of Pinterest that people tend to go bananas over really doesn’t matter. If you are frequently and consistently pinning eye-catching images that have great keywords and good titles, you’ll probably do well.

But what works for one person doesn’t always work for the next. Following any course to a tee and failing to find your own groove is entrepreneurial disaster. You still have to put your own spin on things and find your special magic tweaks that work for you. Figure out what is unique to you.

Blogging is a business. Like any other business, you can’t go around copying someone else’s pattern or strategy and expect to win. It just doesn’t work that way.

So, whatever steps you take on your own path, remember that it’s a journey. You’ll go through different changes and phases. And your outcome won’t look quite like anybody else’s, no matter what you do.

For Pinterest, I’m always changing and tweaking little things. Always trying to see how little I can get away with while still enjoying steady growth. So far I think my Pinterest operation is fairly lean, and I’m happy with it.

I spend a total of one hour on Pinterest a week now. This includes making at least 7 new pins, scheduling things in Tailwind, and re-pinning my most popular pins each day.

Consider the three main points. Continue improving your pin designs, keywords and consistency with pinning!  And the rest? Tweak it to your liking and what makes you happy with how you’re running your business.

Best of luck to you, and happy pinning! ????

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Leaving Pinterest Group Boards: 2 Month Update