Oh yeah, I’m switching things up today with a little how-to post. How do you feel about Pinterest? My guess is that you either love it because it’s a visual way to view recipes and it brings you a ton of traffic, or you hate it because you know it should be bringing you traffic but you can’t quite figure out how to make the most of it. I decided to compile a short list on how to make your images Pinterest-ready. That is, eye-catching and pin-worthy.
1. Vertical images only
The days of horizontal images are long gone. Now, it’s vertical images all the way. Why, you ask? Simply put, vertical images stand out better, whereas horizontal images get lost in the crowd. Check out the screenshot above. What images caught your eye first? I’m going to assuming and hope (for the sake of this point) that it wasn’t the Strawberry Jello Cups at the top. The actual size of your vertical images is up to you, but it’s been proven that vertical images get more re-pins than horizontal, and as a blogging tool, one of the main goals of Pinterest is to have your content re-pinned. More re-pins equals more pageviews!
2. Use rich pins
Rich pins are a bit of a pain to set up (here are the instructions), but they’re well worth it. As a food blogger, once you have rich pins set up, your blog’s name, along with a little logo will appear underneath all of your recipe pins, along with a preview of the ingredients used in your recipes. Reference the screenshot above—particularly the Tuna Power Bowl. Do you see how it reads The Almond Eater with a photo of three almonds underneath the photo? That’s the logo that Pinterest created for me and it appears under all of my pins. Pretty cool, huh? Let’s use this as an another example:
As I mentioned, along with a logo under your recipes, rich pins allow readers to get the ingredient list for a particular recipe, but not the full instructions on how to make it. In order to get the instructions, readers must click through to the actual site. Rich pins became popular around the time when I started really getting into Pinterest, so I don’t have much to compare them to, but I find them extremely helpful and informative.
3. Use a ‘Pin It’ button plugin
If you don’t already, make sure you have a ‘Pin It’ button for readers to click when they scroll their mouse over your images. This way, pinning is as easy as 1, 2, 3. I’m always surprised when people don’t have it, as it’s my go-to for pinning content. Of course it’s good to also have a social sharing plugin installed with all of the social media sites, but the ‘Pin It’ button is discrete and helpful, too. I personally use the ‘Pin It Button for Images’ plugin and I love it. It’s the basic design and it’s fuss-free. You can also look into to customizing your own ‘Pin It’ button of you like, but I’ve just stuck with the basic design for now.
4. Enter alt text in WordPress to automatically populate Pinterest description
This is a big one! Along with having your blog name underneath your pins and the ingredients list preview, it’s important to have a fun and informative description of what the recipe is all about. You can of course manually enter this in every time YOU pin an image from your site, but what about when everyone else pins an image from your site? Lately I’ve been trying to step up my SEO game (trying is the key word here..), and while doing some reading up, I stumbled upon the importance of ‘alt text’. To be honest, I’d been ignoring that part all together. When you ignore the alt text, it automatically populates to the title of your blog post. So, when a reader clicks your ‘Pin It’ button, yes, they are pinning one of your images (woo!), but the pin’s description more than likely just reads the title of your post. So, say you wanted to pin my Chai Spice Protein Breakfast Bars, without the alt text filled in, the pin would be: image, blog title/recipe underneath (Chai Spice Protein Breakfast Bars), image description underneath that (Chai Spice Protein Breakfast Bars). WITH the alt text filled in, the image description can read whatever you want it to read!
Let’s walk through the process…
You wrote the start of your post and now you want to insert your first image. You open up your media library and click ‘upload’. Once your image is uploaded, you DON’T CLICK ‘insert into post’. Instead, you pause.
See where it says Alt Text? This is where you’re going to enter in your super fun and informative description. Once you’ve done that, THEN you can click ‘insert into post’. Now, whenever someone clicks the ‘Pin It’ button over that particular image, the description will automatically populate to that alt text.
OH!! One last thing… After you’ve installed the ‘Pin It’ button plugin, make sure to go into its settings. From there, it’s Settings—>Visual—>Description source: image alt attribute. This will program the ‘Pin It’ button description to be whatever you as the author enter in as the alt text. Now that you know the importance of alt text, make sure you go in and do that!
5. Longer, two-photo images tend to do better
You know I had to include this one. I love longer images pins, both as a blogger and a regular, every day Pinterest user. I find them eye-catching and intriguing, and the only thing better than showing off a beautiful food photo is being able to show off TWO beautiful food photos in one photo. They’re also helpful in showing the step-by-step process of a recipe. Here’s an example of that:
Typically though, I just keep it to two images per long pin. I create my long images in PicMonkey and they take all of… three minutes to make. Maybe.
BONUS: Add text to images
….sometimes. I wasn’t sure whether to include this or not. To be honest, I think text CAN be visually pleasing, but not always. Take these two examples:
Both photos have text, but let’s compare. The text on the right photo fills in the white space, whereas the text on the left photo doesn’t really add any value to the photo. It’s sort of just…there. Be selective about when to use text, and think about if the text will stand out on Pinterest or not. There’s no point in including text if no one is able to read it!
And that’s that! Go make your pins Pinterest ready and pin away! As always, let me know if you have any questions in the comments.