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We all know that we need to have a Pinterest account these days if we are running a creative business of any kind. Many of us have spent plenty of effort learning best practices – how often to pin, when to pin, what to pin, what kind of graphics to use. A lot of us have even invested in tools such as Tailwind (watch for my review coming soon!) to help us pin more efficiently and effectively.
But quality of pins is just as important as quantity or schedule. And some common Pinterest mistakes can seriously impact the quality of the pins you are creating, reducing user engagement with them and damaging your Pinterest reputation.
Here’s the top mistakes to watch out for when creating pins, to make sure that you are creating quality content that your followers will love and engage with!
Pinning From the Wrong URL
Since a pin is a link back to content, if you pin from the wrong URL, that pin is useless to future Pinterest users who might try to view it. Before you create an original pin, double check that you are on the content’s direct permalink (article page) page and not the site’s home page, a category or tag page, or an archives page (a URL that ends in something like “/page4/”).
Not Checking the Link on a Repin
A fabulous looking craft room photo comes across your Pinterest stream. “I must save that,” you think to yourself, and hit “repin”. But if you don’t click through to the pin’s link before hitting repin, you don’t really know what you are saving – or more importantly, sharing with all of your followers. The link could be to a deleted article, or a dead website. Worse, the link could be to a site set up (or taken over) to host malware. I’ve had my browser taken over by malware hosting sites several times in recent weeks when I clicked links on completely innocent looking pins. It required completely rebooting my browser (and even my entire computer on one occasion) each time to escape the hijacked window.
Even if at first glance a link looks safe, take a closer look. Is the content owned by the site posting it, or is it a so-called scraper site that steals articles from the RSS feeds of other sites and posts them, hoping to generate traffic from Pinterest and other sources for ad views? Posting links to stolen content degrades the quality of your feed, can get your Pinterest content reported and deleted, and can leave a bad impression on your followers.
Bottom line – if you don’t check the quality of the links on your repins, eventually someone else will – with potentially embarrassing results.
Pinning From within Bloglovin’ (or another reader)
When content is pinned from within Bloglovin’ it causes several problems. First, the pin’s source can only be viewed from within a Bloglovin’ page frame, which is really annoying to most readers. But more importantly, the content’s source shows on Pinterest as Bloglovin.com instead of the actual website whose content you are pinning. This degrades the quality rating of your pin in Pinterest’s content sharing algorithm. If the content has been pinned 3 times through Bloglovin’ and 100 times through the actual content website…then you only get credit from Pinterest for the 3. Also, the original content creator won’t get credit in their site’s statistics for the 3 pins through Bloglovin’. And someone searching for pins of content from that site won’t be able to find those pins.
Pinning from within other feed readers can be even more problematic. Links to Feedly will show dead links as they go to individual user accounts – so unless you are logged in to the account of the user who created the pin, you can’t see the source of the link.
Not Pinning from the Original Source
It’s become very common for sites to publish articles that are round-ups of other people’s content on a certain topic. These can be very useful, and a great way to find wonderful content. However, pinning from curated collection articles steals “Pinterest juice” from the original content creator, creating many of the same issues I mentioned in the discussion about pinning from within feed readers. So please, if you pin from curated collections, either pin the special Pinterest-friendly title graphic that most bloggers create for such collections, or click through to the item’s original source material to pin the individual item from there.
Not Adding or Editing A Description
Part of the way that Pinterest decides whether to show your pin to more people is from the information that is in your pin description. That description is also how you tell your followers why you pinned the content, what is special about it – and that’s especially important when you are pinning your own content, to entice people to click!
If you don’t edit the pin description when pinning or repinning, you will by default get either the previous pinner’s description or the meta description on the image you are pinning. This could be a personal note from the pinner (“this would be so perfect for my kitchen!”) that doesn’t reflect your own opinion or worse, it could be a generic file name like IMG_4358 that provides no useful information to Pinterest’s algorithm or your followers. Instead, take a moment to type a few words about the pin’s topic or its usefulness to you.
We all get in a rush at times and pin without thinking and miss a detail on a pin we are sharing. It’s one of the reasons that I love using Tailwind, because it allows me to save a pin as a draft and then go back and later and edit it for all the important details. Slowing down and taking those extra few moments on the details can make all the difference in our pin quality – and in our engagement.