How to Increase Pinterest Traffic by 2,000%

increase pinterest traffic

Could you use an extra 1,937% increase in traffic from Pinterest?

Yeah, you read that right. Almost two-thousand percent increase in Pinterest traffic. How the heck did I do that?

Let me start by first showing you where I started with Pinterest and then show you how I got to where I am today.

My Pinterest Story

In 2013 Pinterest was getting a lot of buzz. It was a hot new social network (even though it had been around since 2009) that was turning into a referral traffic machine. And lots of people were talking about it.

Meanwhile, over on Google+, I was having a blast and wasn’t paying much attention to Pinterest. Mostly because Google+ was sending me a crap-ton of traffic and Pinterest wasn’t even a blip on my Google Analytics radar.

not that there's anything wrong with that

I saw Pinterest as something that my wife and her friends used and it seemed like a female-dominant network. Not that there was anything wrong with that.

So when my friend Jeremy Smith started writing about how Pinterest was a goldmine for bloggers, I didn’t really believe him. He then showed me his stats and I immediately became determined to figure it out.

Curiosity turned into complete outrage quickly because something was very apparent about Pinterest: it was extremely visual. As someone who is known for their ability to create visual content, I was dumbfounded as to why my posts weren’t doing better on Pinterest.

Here’s where my Pinterest traffic stood as of December 2013:

pinterest referral traffic 2013

Not very good. Pinterest referral traffic was a laughable 3% of total social network traffic for

I had to figure out why my articles and visuals weren’t getting the attention I felt they deserved on Pinterest. So I started studying. Here’s what I found.

Knowing and Optimizing for Pinterest Culture

After browsing Pinterest for a while you’ll notice that the most predominant type of pins are the ones that are tall.

The width of pins are fixed in the Pinterest stream but the height is not. So if your image is taller, it will automatically take up more screen real estate, giving you more exposure.

This became a visual norm for Pinterest and the users really seemed to love these types of tall images.

Taking note of this, I ended up speaking with Peg Fitzpatrick and she gave me what she believed to be the golden size ratio for Pinterest. I then began to strategize how I might create a Pinterest-specific image for every blog post I wrote in the coming months.

Armed also with some advice from Cynthia Sanchez at Social Media Marketing World, I was ready to attack this new Pinterest strategy head on.

It just so happened that at the time I was in the middle of my 2014 redesign process. As part of that process, an idea was born.

Getting Content Shared More, Better

Here was my problem— I didn’t really like any of the social sharing plugins on the market. I wanted a way to have beautiful, attractive and responsive social sharing buttons on my blog and I wanted to be able to customize what happened when people hit those buttons.

Nothing like that existed. So, I got together with my buddies and we decided to build the best social sharing plugin on the market. We named it Social Warfare.

I’ll spare you the full story, but we used the first part of 2014 as a testing ground for how well the plugin worked.

One of the features we were very specific about building into it was the ability to upload a custom Pinterest image that would automatically load when someone hit the Pin button.

I didn’t want to have to shove a vertical graphic into my blog post like most people were doing. It ends up squashing the text and hurting the reading experience.


I didn’t like that. So we built the custom Pinterest image option into the premium version of our social sharing plugin.

So Now to Create the Images

Once I had the beautiful sharing buttons and custom Pinterest upload option available, it was time to just start creating the images.

I’ve share my social media image templates previously but here’s the Pinterest specific template I use:

optimal pinterest image template

The size is 735px wide and 1102px tall.

For every blog post I wrote I created both a standard headline image and a Pinterest image.

In the first month of using Social Warfare and Pinterest images my Pinterest traffic jumped 361%.

Fast forward 1 year later and the overall amount of traffic is getting from Pinterest is up +1,937% year-over-year. Pinterest traffic is now over 50% of the total social network traffic sent to

using pinterest strategy and social warfare chart

The big kicker here— I actually blogged less in 2014 than I did in 2013.

Let that sink in. I blogged less. My traffic skyrocketed.

How Can You Boost Your Own Pinterest Traffic?

That’s great Dustin, good for you. Yay. So how do I do what you did?

I’m glad you asked.

1. Create the visuals

The first thing you need to do is commit to creating a Pinterest-specific image for every blog post. You can steal my template above (or better yet, steal all my social image templates).

Choose a graphic design software that works for you such as:

I’ve compiled a full list of my most highly recommended desktop apps and mobile apps for creating visual content. Find the one that works best for you and stick to it.

Also be sure that your visuals are:

  • Easy to read. You want to tell people what to expect when they click-through.
  • Brightly colored. Warmer colored images tend to do better.
  • High quality. No cheap stock photography or images that have clearly been distorted and/or pixellated.

Even if you’re not a graphic designer, you can create visuals that don’t suck if you follow my three visual content design principles.

2. Make sharing easy

You can grab a copy of Social Warfare for yourself and you then have everything you need. But if you would prefer some free alternatives I recommend (all WordPress plugins):

  • Genesis Simple Share
  • AddThis
  • ShareThis
  • DiggDigg
  • Jetpack Sharing
  • Sharaholic

None of the above options will allow you to upload a custom Pinterest image like Social Warfare does. You will just have to place your Pinterest image somewhere on the page and hope people share that one. If you find any plugin besides Social Warfare that does allow for custom Pinterest image sharing, let me know.

3. Get active on Pinterest

One of the greatest things about Pinterest is that it’s not complicated. You don’t have to spend hours figuring it out and sharing things.

A few minutes invested every day can go a long way:

  • Start some relevant boards
  • Pin 5-10 times per day
  • Follow people who pin things similar to you
  • Be consistent

I recommend starting out by following some of the Pinterest pros such as Peg Fitzpatrick, Rebekah Radice, and Jeff Sieh. Oh, and I guess you can follow me to.

Go Be Pintastic!

If you follow these steps I guarantee you’ll start seeing the Pinterest traffic on your site go up, and up, and up!

social media image templates

Bonus Social Media Image Templates

Simply add your email below and click the Download button and I’ll email you all four of my social media image templates which will allow you to create every kind of image for every social network!

Once you build your momentum on Pinterest you will start to see that Pinterest also has some great long-term benefits. Pins have a lot of evergreen value and can continue seeing action long after they were first pinned.

So what are you waiting for? Go get your pin on!

And don’t forget to pin this post using the Pin button below to see the Pinterest image for this post!

Dustin W. Stout Avatar

30 responses to “How to Increase Pinterest Traffic by 2,000%”

  1. Dustin W. Stout Avatar

    To submit a support/feature request, all you need to do is log in to your Account Page and scroll to the bottom.

  2. Gary Arndt Avatar
    Gary Arndt

    No. I don’t know where/how to do that.

    When you post an image in WP blog post, it gives you the option to “Insert from URL”. That is all you would need to add.

  3. Dustin W. Stout Avatar

    I assume you’re referring to this ability in Social Warfare, Gary? Have you reached out to the support team and requested that feature?

  4. Gary Arndt Avatar
    Gary Arndt

    I really wish you could set the Pinterest and Social Media images as URL’s, and not be forced to use the WordPress media gallery.

    I host all image images on an image hosting service for performance, which bars me from being able to define a social media image.

    Putting in an option for a URL should be really simple.

  5. Dustin W. Stout Avatar

    Since Social Warfare is (currently) the only social share plugin that offers that functionality, you’ll need to learn a bit of coding in order to accomplish this.

    Read this tutorial by Julie Deily to see exactly what it might entail.

    Now, the thing to know about doing it that way is that if someone uses the Pin button (or browser extension) they will see the image, but they will also get to choose from all the other images on the page. The reason Social Warfare is so unique is it forces that specific image you’ve chosen.

  6. Erica Doig Avatar
    Erica Doig

    Hi Dustin, back again {sorry}.

    I had a question regarding social media-specific images. I want to keep my current social-media share buttons, but want to be able to upload an image specifically for Pinterest that is different from my blog/others. Is there a way to do this without purchasing your social media buttons and changing what flows with my current theme?

    Thank you for the help!

  7. Dustin W. Stout Avatar

    Great to hear you found it useful Erica! It’s been a highly effective tactic to allow context-aware sharing on my site. Our Social Warfare users have also been raving about the effectiveness. If you haven’t given the plugin a try yet, I definitely recommend it. There’s a 60-day money back guarantee if you’re not in love with it. 😀

  8. Erica Avatar

    Wow was this extremely useful! I never realized that I could create a image separate from my posts media.
    I like that concept, because your visual for your post as well as IG needs to be different of Pinterest, because of how that social media is set up.

    Thank you for this post it really helped me to re-create my blog in a way that will increase traffic.

  9. Dustin W. Stout Avatar

    Haha! Some of the best secrets hide in plain site… #seewhatididthere

    Glad to have given you some things to try out! I hope you love both of those tools after using them– they’re both a non-negotiable essential to me now. 😀

  10. stacy Avatar

    Dustin … how have I not heard of this until now? I feel like you & Peg have been keeping some big secret from me 🙂 I have been stuffing long pins at the bottom of my posts but sometimes skip it altogether just because I feel like it detracts from what I’m trying to accomplish verbally.

    I’ve spent sometime on your site today and already have my Coschedule trial filled out for the next 2 months and Social Warfare is on my list of things to check out next week! Thanks dude.

  11. Dustin W. Stout Avatar

    My pleasure Ryan!

  12. Dustin W. Stout Avatar

    It was a pleasure helping out Sherman!

    The thing I love most about Pinterest is that it doesn’t take a whole lot of time, just consistency and targeted curation.

  13. Ryan Biddulph Avatar
    Ryan Biddulph

    Hi Dustin,

    Awesome note on the optimal size. May need to rethink my sizes a bit for max sharing as I already have some eye popping images from paradise. The goods are there, now it’s time to fine tune things. Thanks much.


  14. Sherman Smith Avatar
    Sherman Smith

    Hey Dustin,

    I just talked to you over email yesterday about social warfare. You fixed my problem in a heartbeat and I really do appreciate it!

    This is some great advice. I’m not a full time pinterest user but after reading this post I will have to change this. The main reason is that I want to push myself to create infographic and manipulate images but I just haven’t put myself up to it. I can see the power behind pinterest since my content gets shared there as well.

    Thanks for sharing Dustin and I hope you have a great rest of the week!

  15. Dustin W. Stout Avatar

    Thanks Piotr! Have you considered getting yourself a Gravatar?

  16. Piotr Avatar

    Hey, great article Dustin. Pinterest is definitely becoming one of the most serious players out there. 🙂 I would also like to invite you to visit my blog and latest article, also on Pinterest –

    Have a great day!

  17. Dustin W. Stout Avatar

    Thank you Rafael!

  18. Rafael D' Jesus Avatar
    Rafael D’ Jesus

    Hey Dustin!!

    This is the first time that i leave a comment in this blog and i would like to said that this is a Great Blog Post.

    I Like how you put your stats and tactics to increase traffic using pinterest, going to start puttin in practice this tactics, specially #3. Get active on Pinterest

    God Bless you men!!

  19. Dustin W. Stout Avatar

    Cool Daniel! Will do! 😀

  20. Daniel Avatar

    Hello Dustin,

    I stumbled upon your article and it is amazing. I would definitely try it in order to increase the Pinterest traffic to our infographic blog. Would really appreciate if you share more tips about your Pinterest success.


  21. Dustin W. Stout Avatar

    Awesome Regina! Glad you found this useful! 😀

  22. Regina Dean Reed Avatar
    Regina Dean Reed

    Hi Dustin,

    I just noticed out how valuable pinterest is also. I am just getting my blog/vlog started and was wondering how to increase my traffic. Great information!

  23. Dustin W. Stout Avatar

    It’s really pretty simple. Make the image. Set the Social Warfare settings with a custom image and good description. Share it out. Drink more coffee. lol

  24. Danny Brown (@DannyBrown) Avatar

    Cool, cheers mate – I’ll browse through some of your posts now and see what you do. 🙂

  25. Dustin W. Stout Avatar

    Yea Danny, I wouldn’t have thought it either. But these numbers definitely don’t lie.

    Most of the time it’s simply a headline graphic. But when I have something that I feel works I will use that instead. I can’t think of any instance that the Pinterest graphic is embedded in the blog post.

  26. Danny Brown (@DannyBrown) Avatar

    Excellent overview, mate, and thanks for sharing your own experience.

    It’s funny – our mutual friend Andrea Beltrami keeps chipping away at me to activate the Pinterest sharing option on my blog. Thing is, I’ve just never seen it as a viable option for the type of content I put out. We’ll see. 🙂

    Curious how you implement your Pinterest-optimized images on posts. Is it via the backend of Social Warfare and the Pinterest option there, or do you often post within post? If so, how do you choose which content gets the on-page treatment versus the behind the scenes one?

    Cheers again!

  27. Dustin W. Stout Avatar

    Thanks man! It took me a while, but I finally got it! lol

  28. Dustin W. Stout Avatar

    Just keep consistent! See if you can get on and contribute to some shared boards. Once people realize that your Pin button shares a great Pin, they will keep using it! And it will bring growing returns.

  29. James Brooks Avatar

    Great post buddy! I have always thought that Pinterest is undervalued!

  30. Daniel Futerman Avatar
    Daniel Futerman

    Great stuff Dustin. I admit that I had the same kind of approach as you when I first learned about Pinterest – my wife and her friends used it all the time, but stupidly enough I never took the time to investigate and understand Pinterest could drive decent amounts of traffic to my site.

    And funny thing is that (similar to you) all of my posts have visual elements that could be easily shared on Pinterest – but almost none are optimized for pinning in terms of size and format.

    So during this year I started converting my design formats into ones that are more likely to be pinned (infographics and such), and I’m also using Social Warfare custom pin feature. So I hope those two steps will help boost traffic from Pinterest which currently stands for only 2.7% of incoming social traffic compared to 73.8% from Google+. Lot’s of room for improvement! 😉

Leave a Reply