7 Tips for Designing Viral Pins To Explode Your Pinterest Traffic
It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that figuring out how to drive traffic to my travel blog has been the single biggest achievement of my journey so far.
Using Pinterest, I was able to build my traffic from zero to over 170000+ page views in the first year of blogging.
More than 70% of this traffic was driven by Pinterest. Crazy!
One of the most critical things that helped me succeed was to know how to design viral pins.
Let me show you the kind of pin I was creating when I first started on Pinterest less than a year ago:
They are not entirely ugly, but they are definitely not pretty or eye-catching either. What is worse is that you can barely read the font or the text in most of them.
These pins also received less than 100 impressions/pin and about 5-10 clicks per pin.
I’ve since matured and refined my design strategy to understand exactly what works well on Pinterest.
Here’s what some of my pins look like now:
Can you see the difference?
The latter pins on average receive 5k impressions and 100+ clicks within the first week of going live.
Having viral pins that bring you a truckload of traffic is sometimes a fluke, but when done right, can be a regular phenomenon entirely under your control.
In this post, I will take you through my top tips for designing viral pins.
As a beginner blogger on a limited budget, your best friend for designing pins is CANVA.
You can start with the free plan and design unlimited pins for free.
I have upgraded to a paid “Canva for work” account as I like to keep my templates and fonts saved so I can create new pins faster.
For me, paying $12 a month is completely fine for saving me a ton of time on creating my signature style templates.
Canva is super easy to understand and over time you can master it to create pins in less than 5 minutes.
Here are 7 things that your pins should check off to go viral:
1. The pin should be vertical with a 2:3 ratio
The simplest and yet often overlooked tip, it is so critical to adapt your pins to the format that performs best on all devices.
Personally I use 1000*1500 pixels as recommended by Pinterest, however, the standard Canva graphic size (735*1102) has also worked well for me.
You need to test this out and see what works best for your niche and audience but make sure to stick to a 2:3 ratio. This means the pin should always be taller than it should be wide.
Remember, most Pinterest users are mobile users, if your pin is too wide or too long it will get cut off and not be clearly legible.
2. The pin should have clear, legible title text
If your text is cramped, not visible on a mobile phone or doesn’t pop out against the background, you have lost half the battle, my friend.
You want to make sure you pair fonts that go well together, are easy to read and yet look and follow your brand’s signature style.
Here’s a useful guide for comparing fonts on Canva.
In my personal experience, the most important text in your pin should always be a “Sans Serif” font.
These are easy to read, modern-looking and make the user understand the focus of your pin right away.
Here’s a list of 60 free Sans Serif fonts that you can work with.
3. Include warm background colors with text layered on top
This tip actually took me a ton of time to figure out. I’ve probably tried 10 different combinations of text with a colored background and concluded that warm colors perform the best.
Colors such as red, orange, yellow in the background tend to do better than colors such as blue, purple or pink.
Here’s a comparison of two pins with the same topic but different background colors.
Version 1: Warm
Version 2: Cool
Both the pins were released roughly around the same time and if you look closely the red version got 6 times more impressions (and link clicks) compared to the blue.
6 times more impressions! That’s what you should be aiming for!
4. Use high-quality stock images.
I’m regularly surprised by how often people do not take this into consideration.
Pinterest is a VISUAL DISCOVERY platform.
Chances are if your images aren’t high quality, you will not get people to click on them, and if they don’t click on them, you don’t get traffic.
With a ton of free tools, you can easily find high-quality images for free.
Some places you can look are:
5. Write keyword descriptions that are SEO-optimised.
When you search Pinterest for personal users you use it as a human would.
What would a person type in to find the pin or blog post you just wrote about?
When you think of keywords that way, they are much less scary and make for easy discovery.
You should focus on keywords that are popular in the niche but also make them natural looking.
Just like for google SEO, you don’t stuff keywords, do NOT stuff keywords in Pinterest either.
What’s the easiest way to find keywords for your pin?-> PINTEREST SEARCH
Just type in 2-3 different variations of your keywords and note down the suggestions Pinterest gives you. Be sure to use the MOST relevant ones as that gives Pinterest information on what type of content you share.
Now, you know the best way to add keywords in your pin descriptions.
6. Add relevant hashtags based on user intent research
Before you hit publish, you also need to add a few relevant hashtags. This practice is not a must, but in my opinion, it should be.
What would adding a few hashtags cost you? Nothing, and it helps new pins rank on Pinterest search that much faster.
You can start by using 5-10 HIGHLY RELEVANT hashtags.
Anything more than 10 makes your pin look a bit too stuffed and may be considered or flagged as spam.
The official statement from Pinterest is that you should NOT use over 20 hashtags.
Before you finish adding your pin, your description, your blog post URL you want to add 5-10 relevant hashtags to help new pins rank in Pinterest search.
7. Finish with a headline that shouts “CLICK ME!”
I know it sounds hard to not sound sales-y but yet be clickable. No one is asking you to lie about what your blog post is about.
You simply have to make it so clickable that anyone who sees it will be tempted to click.
Let’s face it, no matter how amazing and beautiful the design or text, if your headline falls flat, no one is going to click through.
Think about it like a new book you want to read, if the title shouts “boring”, unless you’re a loyal long-time fan of the author, you’re not going to buy it. The same thing goes for blog posts and the titles that you add to your pins.
Blog post title: How to lose weight in 10 days.
Pinterest Title Option 1: How to lose weight in 10 days.
Pinterest Title Option 2: 5 super-easy tips to lose weight in 10 days.
Tell me, which one are you more likely to click? I can bet you will say option 2.
Go back to what we discussed in the content creation module.
Your content needs to arouse interest (5), have a clear benefit (lose weight), drive a sense of urgency (10 days) and have a WOW factor (super-easy).
Over time, as you create and test more and more titles you will get the hang of it.
An excellent way to check if your title is worth anything, head to this tool -> AMI Headline Analyser and let them score it out for you.
The higher the score, the better your title!
In my Pinterest Traffic course we dive much deeper into the anatomy of viral pins and how to optimize your account for maximum traffic.
I hope this post has helped you see exactly how and why viral pins CAN be created from scratch, and once you nail your strategy all you have to do is track and replicate your success.
Shruti is a digital marketer and travel blogger rolled into one. After a top MBA degree and leading two million dollar startups, she moved from India to Germany to chase a new professional adventure. Her travel blog, Indian Girling has received over 170K page views in the first year itself. Her advice has been featured in Matador Network, Her Campus, Female Travel Bloggers, Indiblogger, Medium and more. Through her digital marketing school, she aims to help bloggers convert their passion into a thriving online business.