Pinterest and Blogging :: The Good, The Bad and The Huh?

As I mentioned yesterday, Pinterest was the second largest referral for Nesting Place this year {only Stumble Upon surpassed it}. I thought I’d share a few things I’ve learned so far about using Pinterest.  If you aren’t familiar with the site here’s what Pinterest has to say about itself.

I’m not sure what happened in September but, since around September, Nesting Place has received over 100,000 hits from Pinterest.  According to that graph unless Pinterest blows up next year they will most likely be the highest referral for Nesting Place for 2012.

Low tech spying

You can learn so much by what people are pinning from your site.  To find that information all you have to do is go to one of your photos that has been pinnned {I have a “my own house” board so I click on one of those photos at Pinterest} or pin one of your own photos from your site and then click on it to make it big…

Then over there on the bottom left you see “Also from” or whatever your site is. Click on that and for me it takes me to where I can see all the most recent pins that originated at Nesting Place…

OR {edited with smarts from your brilliant comments} if you aren’t on Pinterest a much simpler way is to type in and replace “” with your own site URL.  Then bookmark that so you can easily click it whenever you need a pin-pick-me-up.

And it takes you to page with all the most recent pins from your site.  For a house blogger like me this page is pure gold.  From this screen shot alone here’s what I observe::

1. Wow, someone pinned an AD from Nesting Place {do less be more} THAT is huge, DaySpring and I work together to have fantastic ads and the fact that this ad has been pinned over and over tells me we are onto something.

2. I see three pins from my 31 day series from back in October, Wow!

3. People are still all about wreaths and I am so glad because I love wreaths

4. That sunburst mirror has yet to run its course  {it’s the most popular/viewed post here at the Nest}

5. I can see people’s comments! Oh my word this is AMAZING.

6. The “20 ways to decorate with book pages” graphic has paid off which leads to my next point…

Pinterest Changed the Way I Use Photos at Nesting Place

I noticed traffic coming in from Pinterest and many of the pins linked to odd photos where people had to remind themselves in their comments of why they pinned the photo.  I thought I’d experiment and make it easier on pinners who might want to pin a great photo with words so they wouldn’t have to remind themselves what it was.  This photo gets pinned/repinned a few times every day.  When it came time for me to write the post about how I decorated for my sister’s book signing party, I knew I wanted to make a graphic that would be pin-friendly. For that post it meant one with words and a close up of an interesting, eye-catching book page flower.

DIY embellished throw

Here’s another example of putting the words on the photo to help explain what the post is about.  I usually don’t take the time for a watermark unless it’s for the vanity shot that I want people to pin.  Then I’ll sometimes add in a little just in case the photo is incorrectly sourced.

Make sure your graphics are pinable

I still need a lot of practice on this one.  I’ve only been doing my own graphics for a few months and I have a lot to learn but, don’t forget that people will pin your graphics too.  Most of us see photos on Pinterest in this tiny version so, it helps if your graphic is somewhat legible when it’s pinned and viewed at this size.

I wanted to make sure the graphic at the top of this post was Pinterest friendly just in case anyone pins it so, I put the post in preview and quickly pinned the graphic just to test it to see if it was legible in the small photo that you see at the Pinterest site.

You can see it there on the top left.  You could read the words ok so it was good enough for me.  So I quickly deleted the pin because this post was not published yet, I just wanted to make sure my graphic was pinable/readable.  Clearly I’ve become a Pinterest pimp.  And I love it.

Make it easy for pinners to pin from your site

I use a  wordpress plug in called Pin it on Pinterest that lets me attach a pin button to the bottom of a post and then write in my own description and choose a photo that will automatically appear when people click the “pin it” button.  People can delete the description and write their own, but, I’m guessing most won’t. Check out the Pin it on Pinterest Plugin site for a video tutorial it’s really easy and I would think a great addition to any blog with photos.

 Create Boards that Work For You

Besides the obvious Pinspiration boards for every room of the house, season, dream, style and such I’ve also used Pinterest for a few other things.

1. To gather information for a series–most of the posts for my 31 Days of Lovely Limitations came from photos I collected in my Unusual Uses pinboard

2. To source ideas for craft day–this was Reeve’s idea, she started a Crafty Day board and then invited me to join, such an easy way for us to collect great craft day ideas

3. To document my own house photos.  Ok, so I feel like an idiot every time I pin a photo of my own house but, there’s something to be said about having a board with all photos of your own stuff.  When I find a less embarrassing, actual use for it, I’ll let you know but, for now, I just like having it.

Now for the Huh part

Back in September sales for the two ebooks I promote {Lazy Girl’s Guide to Slipcovers and How to Paint Furniture Like a Real Pro} started doubling. It didn’t take long for me to realize that people were coming from Pinterest directly to my Paint Furniture Like a Real Pro post.  Seeing all those pins of a poorly lit hutch taken at a weird angle really made me wish I would have taken the time to take a better photo.

Here’s a screen shot of the hits over the past year on the post I did about painting furniture and how I used Mandie’s ebook to guide me.  This post got about 85,000 page views this year and 51,000 of them came from Pinterest just since September.  And that post is old– from July of 2010.

(UPDATE:: 48 hours after I recorded December’s sales and then made the changes I’ll tell you about if you keep reading–we are up to 81 sales! WOW!)

And here’s a little monthly list of the ebooks sold via Nesting Place for Mandie’s Painting Furniture book.  You can see a definite jump in September. In November Nesting Place got over 40,000 hits from Pinterest–22,000 went to the  how to paint furniture post that talks about the ebook.  I think I might have pinned this photo/post one time–all the other pins were from readers/repinners and such. Yippie, right?!



{this is the part where this post gets long and wordy and dramatic. hold me?}

Wow.  So, just today I actually clicked on that post and checked it out.  The two photos were horrible (remember it’s an 18 month old post~maybe my photography skills have improved!?).  There was no before photo. I went back in and updated photos for the post but, the old photos that were already pinned will continue to be passed around.

I titled the post How to Paint Furniture Like a Real Pro…if you are a regular here and know my personality, I don’t think it was a put off that I didn’t actually explain step by step how to paint–I told how I did most of the painting in my unconventional imperfect way  and then I got stuck at the table top so I contacted a professional, a friend and sponsor of Nesting Place who I encouraged to write an ebook.  She walked me through the steps and I used the post as a jumping off point to introduce her ebook to you, much like I did with the slipcover ebook.

I got about 50 comments at the time and there were no reactions that I tricked anyone into reading a post about how to paint furniture and then baited and switched.  I think mostly because I pretty much tell you every single thing I know how to do {Ok, so I’ve never told you how I organize my refrigerator–oh wait, I did tell you that} so the regular Nesting Place community seemed to totally get that the post was a cleverly titled intro to my friend’s ebook.  You all are pretty honest in the comments and I try to be sensitive to stuff like that so I felt like the post went over fine.  I think you know me well enough to know if I promote something it’s because I think it’s worth it.  And I’m not ashamed to promote something that I think is valuable.

Today, I also read the last two comments left recently and the commenters were really mad and feeling like it was a bait and switch.  The comments accused me of advertising a DIY  on Pinterest and then trying to sell something.  It’s not like I never get negative comments, trust me I do but, these comments made me think.  Then it hit me, they see all these people pinning it saying “How to Paint Furniture” which is what I called the post~and they expect a step by step DIY in the post and they think that I am trying to trick people.  It really made me think about the title because my intention wasn’t to mislead it was to truly share how I paint furniture–which was by getting Mandie’s advice–which anyone can do if they read her little book. And which in the context of Nesting Place isn’t trickery at all. So, I think the titled translated fine for this nice, forgiving, you-know-me-and-trust-me-{hopefully?}-community but, when some people click over from Pinterest, they feel mislead.  Which is something I never expected.


Part of me totally gets that but, there have been a zillion times I’ve clicked on a pinterest photo and it turned out to be a photography or cooking ebook or a product in a magazine and I haven’t felt tricked,  I felt like the pinner was trying to share something they thought was worthwhile.  But, really it doesn’t matter what I think, it matters what the people clicking here from Pinterest think–because for some reason there’s a lot of them and I don’t want them to think Nesting Place is a Tricking site. A let down.  A site of lies.   Am I being too dramatic?

According to my Pin it on Pinterest button, that post had been pinned/repinned over 29,000 times (updated to 174,00 times) I’m not really sure what to do about that.  I don’t want 20,000 people coming here only to feel like I tricked them–even though it’s most likely not my pin they are even clicking on and I have no control if the pinner describes it as “The best DIY ever on painting for free with a million dollar giveaway you must click”,  for example.  I’d rather not sell any ebooks and have those people want to hang out at Nesting Place than sell a few more and have most people feel tricked.  Although I have no idea if most people felt tricked or just a very few.  It’s definitely something to think about with how photos get labeled at Pinterest~so I’m keeping that in mind for future post titles.  I think I’ll call this post Everything You want to Know About Pinterest Plus a Free Million Dollars just to test it out.

I did make a new graphic and pinned it one time.  And for the record within hours it was repinned numerous times and I sold eight books in a matter of hours which really just confirms that people do trust their fellow pinners and also that people want to know how to paint furniture and are willing to pay for an ebook about it.

I made sure to mention in the description of my pin that this is an ebook. I didn’t put it in the pink title though.  That’s a choice I made, I actually am trying to sell something, but there’s a balance between yelling “hey here’s a book for sale” and tricking someone and maybe this pin does a little better job of being attractive and  creatively up-front. But, I cannot control how other people pin it.

UPDATE:: September 16, 2012, I did put “ebook” in the graphic, after a few more comments about my trickery, I couldn’t take it any more.  However, I have a feeling putting the word “ebook” in the graphic will not stop the fact that people will feel tricked depending on what the pinner who they clicked from wrote in the comments.  Really, you cannot control that part.

There was one other thing I could do. Since I recently installed that plugin I could preload my choice of photo and description into the pin it button…

Now when someone pins from Nesting Place Pin it button, MY description will automatically go in the box so they will have to manually delete it to write something else.

So I’m hoping that can control a little what people expect when they click on the pin to find out how to paint furniture.  But, for the most part that’s out of my hands.  We all know there are a bagillion blog posts, books, ebooks, and videos we can watch about how to paint furniture.  We can all find out that information for free–just google it, you can have days and days worth of free, furniture painting information. The problem is, we prefer to get our information from someone who’s actually used a method and was happy with the results.  And I’m guessing that’s the majority of who’s pinning.

So what are your thoughts, have you found a great plugin?  Have you learned a Pinterest secret?


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  1. This is a great article. I had not really taken much notice of pinterest until a similar thing happened to me. someone with lots of followers pinned my HANGRY cushion and it just exploded. According to the stats on my etsy shop pinterest is my biggest source of traffic outside of Etsy so I went and investigated further. Now I love it andI find it an endless source of inspiration.
    Thanks for taking the time to write all of this information.

  2. I loved the pin it pinterest plug in and followed the link you offer in the post…sad to say that it’s only available to “self-hosted blogs and web sites using the software” and my blog’s neither… any who..great post super informative…thanks

  3. Wow – nice wordy post – I pinned it to read later :)

  4. I can’t thank you enough for this article!!! Its changing my business dramatically for the better!!

  5. I know this is not a recent post but it was SO great. I have now gotten on Pinterest but I think I’ve made some mistakes initially when I signed up. How is it that you have connected your blog to the pictures? I had to use my FB to sign up and it’s a personal page so my name is there instead of my blog name or blog site. In the upper corner of the picture box it says uploaded by user where you have your blog address. Does it only work if I have a business FB since it connects to that? None of the help options seem to answer what I’ve done wrong. Can you offer any help?
    I loved this series and you are so honest and forthright and clear in all you’ve shared. Thanks!

    • hmm, i’ve never connected mine to facebook. maybe for now, unconnect? them and then, install the “pin it button” from pinterest into your toolbar so you can easily pin things from your blog and others. Pinterest only connected to my blog on my page there when I went into my own info and added in my website. otherwise, only the photos will connect to your site that you or others pinned from your site.

      totally confusing. hate me.

    • If you’re using Firefox, install the Pin It button. (Go to About->Help and then click on “Goodies” to find it.) Then, when you’re on your blog post (be sure it’s the actual post, not the main page), click the “Pin It” button in your toolbar.

      I think that if you “Add” a Pin with the “Add a Pin” option (that uses a URL), it will link you, too. I’m not sure, because I haven’t done it that way But if you “Add” a Pin with the “Upload a Pin” option, it won’t link it to anything; it will just show as uploaded by user.

  6. Wow, that was a great and very informative post. Thank you so much! I’ll definitely be taking these things into consideration in future blog posts!

  7. Wow, didn’t realise either what a great source of traffic Pinterest could be. But stands to reason, it’s such a great tool!!

    Thanks for outlining how you’re using it and how it’s working for you! Very interesting indeed!!

    Thanks :)

  8. This post has me excited to explore Pinterest again. Signed up 6 or so months ago and just didn’t “get it” and have let my account languish since.

  9. Another thing I think is helpful – is checking every now and again to double check that things from your own site are being linked back to your own site and not the “VIA so-and-so” or random Tumblr accounts. One of the dangerous parts of Pinterest is that once something is pinned incorrectly (or with a link that is broken or directs you to a site that doesn’t link back to your own work) – it’s very hard to correct. is worth checking out.

  10. Rebecca Stone says:

    Love! Love !….the Orek vacuum sounds like a must have! The lightest vacuum! Yea for us moms!;)

  11. Thank you! I am reading it in chunks b/c there is so much good info! WONDERFUL help to me. Keep it coming!!!

  12. I’m new here (found you through a post on Facebook) and I absolutely love your graphics. What do you use to create them. They are lovely.

    And thank you for the great insight into using Pinterest. I am hooked there just because I so many great ideas. But I am seeing it in a new light now. Thanks for that!

  13. Thanks for this information. You touched on some things I haven’t really thought about!

  14. Very informative. Thanks!

  15. Wow this is a great post, thanks so much for taking the time to put it together – I haven’t completely figured out Pinterest yet, I’ve just started really exploring it, and this is super helpful – the only other thing I would note is that all the pinterest images in one’s “stream” show up the same width – so because of that I think vertical images show up a little larger than horizontal ones that are then squished into that same width. I try to put vertical images on my blog posts and I think this way they get more visibility when someone does pin them.

    • a great point, I think horizontal images look much better on a blog as you are reading but, vertical images are easy to see at Pinterest , for sure something to consider

  16. I found this post via Nicole at Making It Lovely, and it pointed out so many obvious things that I’ll be working on with my own (basically brand-new) blog over the next few months. My first step is to add a “Pin It” button to each of my posts. I also need to find a photo editor (preferably free) that allows me to combine multiple photos and text. Any suggestions? I currently use Picnik.

    Thanks for a wonderful how-to, which I OF COURSE will be pinning. :-)

  17. You mention in this post you have just recently started creating your own graphics. Do you mind sharing what you are using to create them?
    Thanks so much for sharing your ideas/knowledge!

  18. Thanks for this post. I’m still not sure, though, how to use this to help grow my website. Do I need to put the pinterest button on my website to start with? Could you give us a few steps we can use to help us be even half as successful as you have been with pinterest? :)

  19. I was going to ask what you use to create your graphics, too. :)

  20. After reading your post I googled the best way to insert the “pin it” button onto my blog. As a result I have what I hope is not a stupid question. I don’t do a ton of blogging, so I usually just insert pictures from my hard drive rather than linking to flicker or picasa or some external source for the data, but the plug in for blogger asks for the link to the data source. Can’t I just put the “pin it” button in and then let them choose the image they want to pin from the post without creating a special graphic? Do you know? This post was incredibly informative. Thanks so much for all the great info.

  21. Thanks for this post…it’s so so helpful!

  22. Aside from the great Pinterest tips, what really helped me today was that statement re: Inspiration Overload. In fact, I wrote down–in longhand–the statement re: the importance of taking one idea to fruition. I’m in the early blogging stages and am so overwhelmed. This whole venture seems like one enormous, endless sea, and there are so many incredible blogs out there that the thought of doing this is quite daunting. Your advice is what I desperately needed today. Thanks! Love The Nester site!

  23. I didn’t realize that you could view a page in pinterest that was dedicated to pins from your own blog. I checked it out and have discovered people don’t like my logo. Guess it’s time to re-think it.

  24. Dana @ FoodieGoesHealthy says:

    Thank you so much for describing how you utilize Pinterest. I like your statistical analyses. I am really loving the site to organize recipes I’d like to try. Recently, I have been thinking about how to use it in conjunction with my blog.

  25. For those with self-hosted WordPress blogs, here’s an alternate Pin It button plugin I created to mimic the same image selector popup as the official Pinterest bookmarklet. Thought it might be simpler for some.

  26. Having words in the picture is nice for the pinner, however when they type in manually what the picture is, it will show up in search results. If it’s in the picture, it will get lost a lot faster

  27. Rebecca Wetherbee says:

    Hi– I discovered your lovely site for the first time upon reading this article. However, there’s an issue that really perplexes me. Rather than following the link you embedded to your pinboards in the article (which would have been the smartest thing to do), I pulled up and tried to search for you so that I could follow your boards. That’s when I discovered something:
    Nesting Place
    Nester Smith

    What??? How many different names/urls/title tags do you have? I could not find you on Pinterest at all just by searching for you. Eventually I had to come back to the article and click the link that lead me to it. Who would have thought that would take you to a site called nesting place that has pinboards called Nesters run by a user named Nester Smith? Confusing stuff!
    You’ve got great content– I just wish it was more intuitive to find!

    • I agree with you, when I first started on Pinterest, I tried to find my sister, clearly, I knew her name but for the life of me, I couldn’t find her. I don’t think Pinterest is set up to as easily search for pinners themselves as it is to search for items that have been pinned.

      And yes, blogs can be confusing–we have a blog name :: Nesting Place
      a url {which you have to get really creative with because most normal url’s were sold years ago}
      I have my own name {a pseudoname:: Nester Smith or The Nester}
      and then of course whatever social media site you sign up for has their own rules of how you can sign up and then it’s the luck of the draw for what’s already been taken.

      I wish, that as you suggested, everything would all be named the same thing, t’would make it so much easier!

  28. just curious what graphics program you are using? I have tried a few and think I want to go purchase Photoshop again..but want to justify the expense to my self :)

  29. I enjoyed your article, thank you. Here is a really, silly question. How does one take photos of their “own items” and get them posted/pinned to Pinterest? Thank you for your “How 2” knowledge shared with myself and others!

  30. Thank you so much for this article! I’m new to blogging and I don’t have much of a following yet – on my blog or on Pinterest. Keeping your advice in mind, I made sure the main graphic for my Kindle cover tutorial included the title. After I posted the tutorial, I immediately pinned the main graphic and started getting repins and blog visits immediately.

    I’ve implemented the Pin It On Pinterest plugin (since I’m self-hosted) and I also use your low-tech trick of seeing who is pinning my tutorial on Pinterest.

    Thanks for all the great tips and advice.

    P.S. Here’s my tutorial:

  31. Thanks for the help on photos! As a food photographer/blogger, I’m struggling with whether or not to put words on my photos. I feel like it takes away from the photo.
    I decided to add 1 photo with words and the rest without in a post,. Watch and see how many of each are pinned.

  32. I love this post! Thanks so much for sharing. However, I can’t figure out how to get my own pin it button on blogspot. The tutorial link isn’t working and everything I googled is for wordpress. Any ideas on how to do it for blogspot? I got the pin it button there, but it won’t pull an image from my post. And i’d prefer that it automatically add the pin it button with the first picture. Is that even possible?

  33. This was great! Thank you for all the tips. Even after a year, I am still trying to figure all of this out. This was very helpful! I did want to mention, that Twitter from Pinterest and Tweeting posts from my Blog, has generated a lot of hits quickly. Now I know, it’s all relative, but in less than 3 minutes of tweeting, I had over 20 hits on my blog. Now, I do not have many followers on Twitter or my Blog, still getting started, but this was encouraging. Thanks again for the tips!

  34. I found this via Pinterest – so much helpful information! I am VERY new to blogging and trying to figure out how to make promotion and pinning “work”. Thanks – I’m pinning this AND adding your blog to my “Fun Blogs” board.

  35. I also found this through Pinterist, which I have been exploring for a month or so now. One of the things that I do is to be sure and click all the way through to the original poster, to verify the originality and also to make sure it’s not one of those Tumblr sites that seem to have no original posters. I’m not sure if this is a good thing to do, or a bad thing – but I have enough “researcher” in me to want to check things out. Thanks for the post! Pinning it now! :)

  36. What a fun blog. Beautiful and comforting design. Great ideas. Thanks for the post about Pinterest. I am looking at using it more for my blog. Appreciate the input!

  37. Great blog! Yes, I found you through Pinterest-your Pinterest article, which was VERY helpful, so now I’ve had fun poking around a bit on your other other posts. I’ll be back for sure!
    Thanks for all the great Pinterest tips and kudos on your work!

  38. sean roberts says:

    This pin was hilarious. Some guy is actually trying to get a date using pinterest…

  39. This is most insightful. I appreciate your honesty, thanks for sharing!

  40. thanks for this. as a photographer I can see it being very useful.

  41. I found this article on another pinner’s board. Glad I followed it! You have some great info here! I never realized Pinterest could result in so many visits. Appreciate your insights on photo editing as well. Thanks!

  42. hello Nester! I fond this whole pinterest post very helpful and unique. Not a lot of people are fully aware of pinterest as a blogging tool. I am hosting a link up where I am asking bloggers to link up their posts that are helpful to other bloggers. I’m hoping it can serve as a “directory” where new bloggers can come and learn a lot. I’d love if you link this post up!

  43. We found your excellent and very helpful post on Pinterest as well. Thank you so much for sharing. Cheers :)

  44. Loved your post (and yes, I came to it through Pinterest!)

    I just wanted to say that whilst it is great that you are acknowledging the negative comments about the link-baiting, when you consider the number of them (you say you deleted two, but maybe there were more?) compared to the number of referrals you have had, I really don’t think that it is worth ‘stressing’ about. In fact, personally, I would have kept the comments on, and replied to them with exactly what you have just said. My reasons for this, is 1. You have nothing to hide, your explanation makes sense to you, me and the other 29,000 people that re-pinned. 2. It shows everyone that you are ‘authentic’ in your actions and also partly that you won’t deal with other peoples issues/bad days/stupidity etc.
    I don’t mean to preach, but as long as you are ethical and authentic, I just think that you should be allowed to be ‘yourself’ without worrying about offending anyone. After all, you are not doing anything wrong and if they don’t like it THEN DON’T RE-PIN/READ/FOLLOW it! :)

  45. This is an interesting article. I love hearing other people’s thought processes! I was one of the people who found your original post about painting furniture like a pro. I’ll admit that I was a little disappointed that I couldn’t get to see the step-by-step tips in the ebook, but since I’m not painting furniture at the moment, I was reading your post more out of curiosity. I don’t think there is anything wrong with sharing your actual, realistic project in your blog post – and if you needed a friend’s help, and used her expertise, you are doing us all a favor by sharing her knowledge with us! One of the great benefits of blog tutorials is that it allows us to learn from peers. Books don’t usually tell you all the potential pitfalls and mistakes you might make along the way, but a blog will – which ends up saving time, since I tend to make up my own shortcuts! I think your new graphic is the perfect solution.

  46. I came through the how to paint like a pro, and did felt like so where is the tutorial but is fine, Im reading through your blog and liking it
    Greetings from mexico

  47. Thank you for sharing your experience using Pinterest with your site. I found your site through a pin labeled how to paint. I clicked on it to take a look at the instructions and saw it was only available through the ebook. I’ve been on Pinterest a while and at first there was no real commercial traffic and the pins were pretty straight forward. As businesses have started using it, I find those type of pins more and more where the pin looks like tips or instructions but are actually trying to sell you something. I’ve just had to readjust my search methods and open those links to make sure they are actual instructions and not sales tactics. Takes more time and is slightly annoying but it’s better than clogging up my boards with useless information :) Being the info hound that I am though, I usually will check out a site to see of they have other content of interest and occasionally find a gem like your blog!

  48. Great post. I really enjoyed reading this blog post from beginning to end. (To be honest, I often skim a bit when I read blog posts, but not with this one!) I would love to hear what other websites you get a lot of traffic from. Thanks so much for sharing. These pinterest tips are real eye-openers. I would love if you re-pinned stuff from me, of course. :D *hugs*
    ~ Raederle

  49. Hi! I found your blog via…Pinterest!! I really loved this post and I am following via email now!

    Blue Eyed Beauty Blog

  50. Just wanted to say, I found this blog based on Pinterest, and felt it was very informative, and did not feel tricked at all. Hope that helps :)

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