Six months ago, the only way I used Pinterest was to save articles I legitimately found while browsing the internet. Today, I use Pinterest as a tool to grow my business… and it is now the #2 driver of social traffic to my site.
I can’t take complete credit for this shift—a big thanks goes out to Alexa Burns for helping me to get my Pinterest ducks in a row! But since I’ve been using Pinterest more as a content creator and curator than as a regular user, I’ve discovered a few things that make a big difference in the success of the images I pin directly from my site to Pinterest.
Although there is so much more that goes into laying a solid foundation for a good Pinterest strategy, and developing good habits and automating, I know that today’s 3 tips for optimizing your blog images for Pinterest can take you a long way on the platform! Plus, you can start them right now, no heavy lifting or tech expertise required.
Are you ready?
#1: Start each post with your best vertical image.
All of these images are the same width, but the one that takes up the most space is the tallest (vertical) image. The more space you occupy, the more likely you are to be seen.
There are 3 kinds of images on Pinterest: Tall images, square images, and horizontal images. If you’ve been on the platform even once, you probably already know that tall images are the most eye-catching. Pinterest pins in the main feed are organized into columns of indefinite height but fixed width; so if you want people to see your images (pins) and engage with them, you’ll vastly increase your chances by making them tall and taking up more space on the main feed.
Not all the images in every blog post need to be vertical images. That said, by starting each of your blog posts with a tall (vertical) image, you give yourself your best chance at that image being your most-pinned image on that post. Why? Because the people who want to read your article but don’t have time aren’t going to scroll to choose an image they like—they’re just going to pin the first image they see.
Plus, by making that first image your best vertical image, you’re also increasing the likelihood that others on Pinterest will notice it and consider repinning, too. Lead with your best foot forward to yield a higher payoff!
#2: Give your images descriptive “alt” information.
Don’t panic! On Squarespace, alt information could not be easier—and if you don’t know what alt information is, I’ve got you covered there, too.
Alt information is essentially the description you add to each image you upload—the description which Google can read to determine what the picture is about, and use to provide helpful results to people who are searching for your topic online.
This also happens to be the information that Pinterest will pull to put into the caption of the image when it’s pinned from your blog to Pinterest.
When you upload an image to Squarespace, by default, it’s an “inline” image with the option to write a caption below it. All you need to do is click on the image you’ve uploaded for a little box to appear around it, with extra space at the bottom and the words, “Type your caption here.” Click this to enter your alt information.
If you don’t want the alt information to show, click the “edit” option that appears when you hover over the image; click on the “Design” tab at the top of the pop-up window that appears; and select “Do not show caption.” Both Pinterest and Google can still read it, but the caption will no longer obstruct your blog post.
My recipe for blog image alt information is the title of the post, a compelling question with more keywords my target audience might be searching, and my name. I copy and paste the same alt information for every image in a post:
“7 Reasons You Don’t Like Yourself in Photos & How to Fix That | Do you know how to pose for photos but still wish your photos came out better? 7 photo tips beyond posing | Alexis the Greek.”
#3: Create “hidden” images for the experienced pinner.
Whether or not you have the Pinterest Browser Button, you can be sure that some part of your audience does, and that they use it! So you want to accommodate those users and prepare your content with “extra” images that don’t actually appear in your blog post.
So first, what is the Pinterest Browser Button, and how does it differ from the “Pin It” button that appears when you hover over an image on a website?
The Browser Button is a plugin that you can add to your browser’s toolbar. When you click the Browser Button, instead of seeing all the content on a webpage (including things like text and ads), you only see the “pinnable” images you have to choose from to bookmark the site or article you’re visiting.
This is handy for a whole host of reasons, but the reason I bring it up is that it differs from the “Pin It” button you sometimes see when you hover over an image on your blog.
When you hover an image and get that little “Pin It” button, that button only applies to that image. The Pinterest Browser Button, however, allows you to compare several images next to each other and choose the one that will most help you remember why you wanted to bookmark the site. It also allows you to see hidden images that might not appear on the page with all the text, ads, and other content.
So what are “hidden images”?
On Pinterest, images are large and their captions are small. And even if people read your captions, they can only read the first half-dozen or so words before Pinterest adds an ellipses (…) and hides the rest of the text. So it behoves content creators to generate graphics that actually have text integrated into the bigger image (much like all the graphics I use to lead off my blog posts!). Between the two images below, which is more likely to get you to click over to a website?
The first picture is pretty, but it doesn’t give the Pinterest user a reason to click on that image and then follow it to its source. The second tells the viewer: Oh, this isn’t just a well-lit photo of chocolate chip cookies. It’s a photo that goes with a recipe—a vegan recipe! Now that viewer is interested.
But many bloggers and content creators don’t want to have images on their blog or website contain text—they only want integrated text to optimize their Pinterest strategies. That’s where hidden images come in.
By creating Pinterest-friendly images, uploading them to your Squarespace site, and then “hiding” them with just a little bit of code, you can give your website traffic all the options they need. They can choose an image with or without text to save to their own Pinterest accounts. It’s the best of both worlds!
Here’s how you do it.
Add a code block within your blog post (it can be anywhere, but I prefer at the bottom of the post)
Copy the code at the bottom of this post into the block
Save the blog post draft you’re working on, and head back to your main dashboard
Click on Design > Custom CSS
Scroll down to the are labeled “Manage Custom Files,” and click the “Upload Images and Files” button right above it. Upload your alternate image here
Click on the image thumbnail that appears, and in the CSS window, a URL will appear (NOTE: If you already have custom CSS in this block, the URL is going to appear right at the top, above your existing CSS, with no spaces or line breaks, so be sure you know where your existing CSS begins)
Cut (don’t copy) the URL
Return to your blog post draft and replace the second “URL GOES HERE” inside the code block with the URL you just copied
Once the post is published, replace the first “URL GOES HERE” with the public blog post URL. You can also add custom alt text to the designated area for that.
In case that was hard to follow, here’s another video!
Now you have a hidden image!
And here’s another gem: You can keep copying and pasting that line of code inside the code block to add as many alternate images as you like. Usually you won’t need more than 3, but to hide multiple images, that’s another pro tip!
NOTE: This step is NOT necessary for a successful Pinterest strategy. If you have beautiful images on your blog, and/or lead off each post with graphic that contains text, you’re already ahead of 99% of bloggers out there. You can also upload custom graphics directly to Pinterest and choose where they point to so that Pinterest has both options even if your blog doesn’t!
FINAL NOTE: It does seem that sometimes, adding a code block causes all the alt text in a post to be the same, and Pinterest may pull from the title and excerpt of the post rather than from the alt text you’ve used for each image. Still working on figuring out the exact reason for this and how to correct it!
<a href="URL GOES HERE"><img src="URL GOES HERE"; alt="ALT TEXT GOES HERE"/></a>
Was this helpful? If so, pin the blog post so you’ll never lose it! Then leave me a comment below, letting me know what other questions you have about maximizing your blog and other digital resources so I can write posts in the future that serve YOU!
Hello! My name is Alexis.
Coffee lover, day dreamer, foodie, and creative. Currently working and living in New Hampshire, I’m an eclectic mix of forward-looking and completely old-fashioned.