How I doubled my Pinterest traffic this month

Actually, more than doubled! For the past few weeks I focused promoting my travel blog on Pinterest. The good news is that I more than doubled the traffic for that blog! While my Pinterest strategy included several components, I am pretty sure I know which one made the greatest difference: Tailwindapp. Let me tell you what happened with that.

How I doubled my Pinterest traffic in one month (actually, more than doubled!)

My Pinterest strategy

In early September I came up with my Pinterest strategy for that blog. To recap, it included several components –

  • Set up templates for pins
  • Add long SEO-oriented descriptions to all pins
  • Make sure pinnable images have appropriate file names and ALT tags.
  • Experiment with a variety of pins
  • Join Pinterest group boards for even more exposure

Later that month, I had to deal some more with the question of how exactly to join these Pinterest group boards.

I’m happy to say that I have indeed been “Pinteresting” quite a bit these past few weeks! I spent a few hours coming up with templates for my pins (which were later adjusted, based on performance). Fortunately, there were only 35 blog posts in the blog which is quite a manageable number for re-doing images. So, I went over each and every blog post and created new vertical graphics. ALT tags and descriptions were also added, not a problem.

Group boards proved to be more of a challenge but I think I may have cracked it eventually. I now collaborate on 7 good group boards and hope to join more in the future.

Do you know what the main challenge was though?

I had to actually pin stuff. Regularly. Several times a day, every day. Now, this was a problem. I have ADHD and there’s only so many times I can repeat a task without getting so bored I just give up on it.

The Solution: Tailwind

That name – Tailwind – kept popping up in blog posts about successful Pinterest promotion. With a free trial, there wasn’t much to lose, so eventually, on the 11th of September, I signed up for an account.

What Tailwind does

Simple enough, really. It’s a pin scheduler. I’ve been using Hootsuite for Twitter for awhile now, so the concept wasn’t new. Sit down and enter a batch of pins along ahead of time, then let the software pin them for you at pre-scheduled intervals.

The trial version allows for 100 pins and suggests pinning 4 times a day, so that you’ll see the effect over twenty-something days. Well, I could see the results within a week. This is what the traffic looked like on Google Analytics.

tailwindapp-on-ga

I upgraded to the paid version

It was obvious that regular pinning was paying off. I saw an immediate increase in all parameters: The number of followers, number of re-pins and – as you can see above – actual traffic to the site.

With a monthly plan costing only $15, it made no sense to wait. If it ended up not working, I could just not renew for an additional month.

Once I upgraded the account, I boosted the schedule to 8-10 pins a day. This is what has happened since –

My Pinterest account for that blog skyrocketed. I keep getting likes, repins and followers. And traffic follows –

tripmemos-analytics-2

In the last screenshot, I added search traffic as a parameter, just to show you how this is not Google traffic. Google traffic stays as before. This is purely Pinterest traffic.

Granted, some of this is due to other aspects of my Pinterest strategy. More quality pins to share is a cornerstone of Pinterest success, no doubt. But these pins need to be put out there, in front of people’s eyes, in order to get people to click. And this is where Tailwind brings home the bacon.

Why I enjoy working with Tailwind so much

I thought I’d mention why I enjoy this product so much.

1. It has an awesome interface

As I said, I’m used to scheduling tweets using Hootsuite. It certainly makes life a whole lot easier. That said, Tailwind’s interface – which does essentially the same thing – is way better.

It’s a very intuitive and user-friendly drag-and-drop interface. There are tons of features there but they manage to keep the essence simple and effective. All you have to know is how to use the following three elements:

The Time Table:

This is where you can see all of the daily time slots. Just drag-and-drop and click and play around with it to easily set up the time slots you want your pins to show up on.

tailwindapp-schedule

Once you’ve set up your time slots, you’re done with them. Any image that you add to the pinning queue will simply get the next allotted time slot. No need to start specifying the date of publication for each specific pin, like you do with other schedulers.

Sometimes I want to pin 10-15 images from a single post but I don’t want to flood my feed with that post. Not a problem with Tailwindapp. I can re-shuffle all of the pins in my queue at any given time.

Of course, you can also manually set a time and date for a pin. You can also “lock” down specific pins, to keep them on date when re-shuffling your pins. Easy does it.

The Tailwind publishing extension:

I’m used to the Pinterest Chrome extension, so switching to the Tailwind one was a breeze. Basically, you install an extension for your browser which creates a small icon in your toolbar.

If you see an image that you want to add to your pinning queue, you hover above it with your mouse and click the Tailwind icon which shows up. You can also click the icon in your toolbar, which will bring up all of the images on the page. Just choose the ones you want to pin to add them to your queue. Easy as pie.

If that’s not enough, Tailwind works with the Pinterest interface, so the blue Tailwind button shows up on pins. Can’t get any easier than that.

The Tailwind queue:

Finally, the pin queue is where everything’s at. If you want to change, delete, edit, re-position or do anything else with a scheduled pin, it’s right there –

tailwindapp2

Again, drag-and-drop! You have a mini-version in the right side where it’s easier to re-arrange pins by dragging them around, or you can use the main column for more information and functions.

I’m not sure if their interface has won any awards, but it’s definitely award-worthy!

Oh, and if you’re wondering how I can find 10+ new pins every day for a blog with only 35 posts? In a nutshell, I pin good stuff and not just my own.

2. Proactive support

I’m not sure how large Tailwind is but it feels small. And I mean that in the best possible way.

A friendly welcome email was there when I signed up. Then again when I upgraded the account. It offered video tutorials and a general invitation to ask for help. Obviously, these emails are automated but when I replied with a question, I received a fast, helpful and friendly reply. In addition to video tutorials, they also offer articles, seminars and pretty much everything you need to get going.

3. They’re a Pinterest Marketing Developer Partner

That means Pinterest approved Tailwind and approves of Tailwind. To me, that’s huge. For one thing, it means I won’t be getting into trouble for using it. There’s nothing shady or “under the table” about Tailwind, so no risk of a penalty, now or in the future. It also means they have inside information on how the platform work and they probably generally know what they’re doing…

There you have it.

Give Tailwind a try yourself!

If you’re using Pinterest at all – give Tailwind a go. It’s completely free to try. Just sign up for your free account and schedule your first 100 pins and see just how awesome their system is!

And yes, I haven’t mentioned this before but these are in fact affiliate links in this post, so thanks in advance for using them!

Questions? Comments? Bring them on! I’d love to hear about our own experiences with Tailwind and/or with other schedulers, so do leave me a note in the comment section!

5 Quick Tips That Can Help Increase Your Productivity

Got lots of ideas but having trouble getting things done? Feeling creative but find it hard to sit in front of the computer and actually work? You’re not alone. I’m just like that too. Over the (many) years I picked up a few tricks that helped me dramatically improve my productivity. Sharing them here today, in the hope that they will help increase your productivity too. While the first four are very effective, it’s the fifth that has truly changed my life.

Increase your productivity with these five quick tips

1. Shut  the world out and get comfortable

Virginia Woolf knew what she was talking about when she wrote A Room Of Her Own. Man or woman, we all need our private little corner where we can work.

If at all possible, literally shut the door and put a “Do Not Disturb” sign on it. Leave your phone out of your office room too. I know it’s hard but trust me, it’s doable.

If you’re addicted to Facebook or Twitter, log out to make it more difficult to “just take a quick look” while you work. If that doesn’t help, use a software that blocks Facebook for a set period of time.

Make sure that you’re comfortable and the temperature is right for you. Turn on the heat or the air-conditioning as may be necessary. Have a bottle of water on your desk and drink regularly. Staying well-hydrated can actually help you focus and increase your productivity.

2. Outsource boring tasks

I bet that when faced with a task that you find interesting, nothing can stop you. Maybe it’s coding a new app, designing on Photoshop, setting up a new social media campaign or tweaking your server. To each his own.

Also, most things are usually fun when they’re fresh and challenging. Once they become routine, they become boring. And let me guess, boring means you come to a halt, doesn’t it?

See if and how you can outsource the boring stuff. Don’t have the budget for outsourcing yet? That’s ok. You can still increase your productivity: Simply come up with a strategy that includes more of what you find interesting and less of the boring stuff.

For example, maybe you hate doing social media but love tweaking pages for SEO? You should either outsource your social media campaigns, or come up with a strategy for your blog that involves less social media and more SEO. At least until you get to the point where you can outsource.

3. Schedule breaks

Breaks are important, both for your body and your soul. The problem is that once you sit down and finally manage to focus on your work, you may forget to take breaks. Alternatively, your break is on your mind so much, you keep checking the clock and can’t focus on writing.

Let someone – or something – else watch over the clock. I’m using a little piece of software called WorkRave. For me, five minute long breaks every 50 minutes work well. You can program it to your own prefered schedule.

Stretch during your breaks. The older we get, the more important stretching becomes, but really, at any age, if you’re trying to work on the computer for several hours a day, do your back a huge favor and stretch properly once an hour. Your body will thank you.

4. Use a task list app

I would not be able to manage any of my work without my ToodleDo. At the beginning of each month, or actually a few days before that, I go over my content plans and create tasks for each one. I enter other tasks as they pop up, when I take up new projects. This is what it looks like –

Increase your productivity using a task list

Toodledo is a powerful tool. You can schedule recurring tasks, put them into folders, design goals (and see how close you are to completing them) and more. I use the free version and it’s good enough for me (I did pay a few bucks for the phone app, so I have everything synced on my phone as well). It doesn’t really matter which software you use – just use something to keep yourself on track and increase your productivity.

Ready for my fifth tip? I hope it won’t upset you too much.

5. Consider getting a diagnosis and medication

Yes, I’m talking about ADD/ADHD.

Earlier on, when I mentioned that it’s probably easier for you to focus on things that interest you, where you nodding your head? Some people think there’s no way they can have ADHD because they can really focus well on things that interest them. The kind of “not getting up from your desk for 10 hours and forgetting to eat and drink” focus? Guess what? That’s classic ADHD.

How about when I talked about creativity? Are you creative yet having trouble with translating those awesome ideas into actual work? Is that especially true with long-term projects? Do you find that it’s easy to put in tons of work in the first few days or a project but then you can’t. Just can’t. Hitting that wall again and again.

I honestly suspect that most bloggers suffer from some form of ADD or ADHD. Five years ago, I got my own official diagnosis. That was a couple of years after both my sons got theirs.

If any of the things I just mentioned ring a bell do yourself a huge favor and get tested for ADHD.

Don’t self-medicate!

Don’t just go ask a friend for Ritalin pills. It does not work like that. You have to be properly diagnosed and then have a doctor help you find the exact drug and the right dosage that works for you.

Finding the right medication can be challenging. Many people just pop in a Ritalin pill they got from a friend, feel awful with the side effects and vow to never try the meds again. That’s because they went about it the wrong way. Maybe adderall would be better for them, or maybe they need a different dosage. Or maybe you don’t really have ADHD, and maybe there’s something wrong with you physically that should be treated (that’s why a blood panel is needed before confirming an ADHD diagnosis).

Your doctor also needs to monitor your ongoing health when you’re taking stimulants. As with every other medication, they can have adverse effects. Not to mention, these are prescription drugs, so it’s illegal to just “borrow” them from your friends.

Get yourself tested and properly treated. Trust me, if you do have ADHD and if you find the right meds that work for you, nothing can increase your productivity more than that.

My own productivity skyrocketed thanks to these

And yes, the last one was certainly the most effective. The ADHD diagnosis – at the age of 40 – wasn’t easy to deal with, emotionally. However, it really made everything fall into place. It helped me realize why some techniques were working so well for me and why others were failing.

When I finally found the medication that worked for me (not easy!) things changed quite drastically. I can get so much more work done in a day when I take my pill. You know how you sometimes wish you had more hours in the day? If you’re ADHD, then the right medication can do just that for you!

I hope my fifth tip won’t upset you too much. There’s a lot of misconceptions and prejudice against using pharmaceuticals to increase your productivity. If you happen to be someone who can benefit from that – and not everyone is – then hopefully this post has at least made you consider the option.

As always, leave a comment and let me know what you think! Any tips or tricks you can share about how you increase your productivity? I’d love to hear them!

September 2016 Traffic & Revenue Report

It’s time for the monthly traffic and revenue report! I have a bit of an unusual report this month, so this is how today’s post is going to work –

I’m going to quickly take you through my expenses and earnings of the Blog Revival Project which you can read more about here. Spoiler: It’s nothing to write back home about.

Then I’m going to tell you about another blog of mine which I started monetizing in July and made over $700 in September!

For dessert, I’m going to apply some insights from that blog to the Blog Revival project and share my plans for the coming months. Another spoiler: Things are going to change around here.

september-revenue-report

First, it’s time to take a hard look at the numbers and put together an honest and detailed report about September, tracking the traffic and revenue figures for the six blogs monitored in the Blog Revival Project.

September 2016: Expenses

September was all about Pinterest. You can read about my insights in these two posts: How to promote a new blog on Pinterest and How to get Pinterest traffic using group boards.

I also spent money on two Pinterest-related service this month. First, I bought access to 45 group boards on Fiverr. Yup, people will sell you group board invites on Fiverr. I have no idea if it was worth it or not, but I was getting frustrated so I figured “what the heck” and paid up. We’ll see how that particular investment pans out.

My second investment seems far more promising. I opened Tailwind accounts for pre-scheduling my pins. I’m going to blog about Tailwind soon but for now, let’s just say I’m impressed with the initial results. So much so that I upgraded my Tailwind account for TripMemos.com.

The Tailwind Plus plan costs $15 a month but I only had one 1$ deducted from my credit card this month. That’s because you get a $15 credit if you use a link like this one to sign up. That is an affiliate link of sorts. It means that if you sign up, you get $15 to your credit which you can use for a free month of the upgraded plan too. I’ll get a similar bonus to use towards my own account, so thank you!

Other than that, it was just the usual $20 for monthly hosting costs.

As far as I can tell, I didn’t have any other expenses on the blog revival project this month.

Total expenses: $66

Traffic & Revenue Per Blog

In all honesty, feel free to skip this tedious section. It’s tedious and it’s about cents, rather than dollars.

Here’s the bottom line: Traffic went down pretty much across all six blogs. Revenue followed suit. The numbers are small to begin with, so I think we can safely ignore the actual revenue figures. The important thing is this: I’m still waddling through very shallow water with these blogs. Here, click to skip the boring details.

Blog #1 – CatPicsBlog.com

Posts made during September: 4

September traffic: unique visitors:115 Pageviews: 144
August traffic: unique visitors: 107 pageviews: 164
July unique visitors: 184 pageviews: 262
June unique visitors: 52 pageviews: 106
May unique visitors: 126 May pageviews: 215

September Adsense Revenue: $0.05
August Adsense Revenue: $0.87
July Adsense revenue: $0.03
June Adsense revenue $0.30
May Adsense revenue $0.51

September Clickbank revenue:$0
August Clickbank revenue: $0
July Clickbank revenue: $0

Blog #2 – CatsGoShopping.com

Posts made during September: 4

September traffic: unique visitors: 367 pageviews:  1041
August traffic: unique visitors: 686 pageviews: 1271
July unique visitors: 635  pageviews: 1,442
June unique visitors: 124  pageviews: 415
May unique visitors: 161 pageviews: 323

September Adsense revenue: $1.30
August adsense revenue: $0.43
July Adsense revenue: $0.38
June Adsense revenue: $0.16
May Adsense revenue: $0 (blog had no ads)

September Amazon revenue: $0
August Amazon revenue: $1.20
July Amazon revenue: $0
June Amazon revenue: $0.47
May Amazon revenue: $0

Blog #3 – Gifts4Kids.net

Posts made during September: 3

September traffic: unique visitors 56 : pageviews: 99
August traffic: unique visitors: 47 pageviews: 92
July unique visitors: 68 pageviews: 107
June unique visitors: 56 pageviews: 120
May unique visitors: 36 pageviews: 167

September Adsense revenue: $0.06
August Adsense revenue: $0.18
July Adsense revenue: $0.02
June Adsense revenue: $0.01
May Adsense revenue: $0.01

September Amazon revenue: $0
August Amazon revenue: $0
July Amazon revenue: $0
June Amazon revenue: $0
May Amazon revenue: $0

Blog #4 – Home-decor-hub.com

Posts made during September: 2

September traffic: unique visitors:257  pageviews:  378
August traffic: unique visitors: 353 pageviews: 565
July unique visitors: 276 pageviews: 450
June unique visitors: 351 pageviews: 580
May unique visitors: 402 pageviews: 754

September Adsense revenue: $2.03
August Adsense revenue: $1.18
July Adsense revenue: $0.24
June Adsense revenue: $3.79
May Adsense revenue: $2.66

September Amazon revenue: $17.19
August Amazon revenue: $18.54
July Amazon revenue: $17.11
June Amazon revenue: $3.48
May Amazon revenue: $17.51

Blog #5 TripMemos.com

Posts made during September: 5

September traffic: unique visitors:237  pageviews:439
August traffic: unique visitors: 212 pageviews: 452
July unique visitors: 152 pageviews: 318
June unique visitors: 72 pageviews: 339
May unique visitors: 151 pageviews: 151

September Adsense revenue: $0.17
August Adsense revenue: $0.56
July Adsense revenue: $0.04
June Adsense revenue: $0
May Adsense revenue: $0

Blog #6 Yeys.com (this one!)

Posts made during September: 4

September traffic: unique visitors: 156  pageviews: 384
August unique visitors: 255  pageviews: 663
July unique visitors: 403  pageviews: 795
June unique visitors: 168  pageviews: 377
May unique visitors: 136 pageviews: 151

September Adsense revenue: $1.27
July Adsense revenue: $0.15
July Adsense revenue: $0.92
June Adsense revenue: $0.02
May Adsense revenue: $0

Total September Revenue & Profit

Expenses: $66
Revenue: $22.07

Profit: $-43.93

So, what happened in September?

September was crazy busy here with all kinds of personal matters. I blogged about it here. I know that I also complained about August having been too busy. Which makes me wonder if maybe this level of “being busy” is just what my life is like on average. Maybe it was June and July that were less busy and now things are back to normal?

Whatever work time I had went into my flagship site and another side project which I will expand on in a minute. The six Blog Revival Project blogs suffered.

How I made $700 from one blog this month

I mentioned another side project. It’s a project that made me very happy this month and also made me re-think.

Yes, it’s yet another blog. I haven’t mentioned that blog so far because it’s not in the English language and I never actually considered it to be “work”.

Over the past seven years, we traveled across 44 US states for a total of more than 12 months. Five years ago, before our first long road trip (5.5 months long!) I created a blog because, well, that’s what we bloggers do, isn’t it? It had two purposes –

  1. To store all the information I gathered about various destinations in the US and Canada.
  2. To share our travel stories as they took place, mostly with family and friends.

Can you guess what happened?

The blog began to attract more and more traffic. People began using the information and following our trips. I kept getting questions from people and I blogged about the answers. The blog has become an authority resource in its niche. It currently has thousands of posts in it and it gets an average of 200 daily visitors, even when we don’t travel.

Believe it or not, I never bothered with monetization, or even tracking stats properly. One in a blue moon I took a look at the server internal stats and that was it. I figured the Hebrew-speaking market was too small to bother with.

Monetizing my personal little travel blog

The Blog Revival Project taught me so much about blogging that I realized two things. First, that I have a gem of a blog on my hands, done just the right way, and second, that it may be possible to monetize it after all.

I joined two affiliate programs for products that I personally use and recommend. One is a car rental agency and the other is a hotel reservations site. I’ve been recommending them anyway, and they had affiliate programs, so why not? I didn’t expect much. Between my traffic and this being a local market, I figured an extra $100 a month would be nice. That was in July.

I was wrong. During August, that blog had close to $300 in revenue! In September, it went past the $700 mark!

Color me surprised!

color-me-surprised

You know how you struggle with the question of whether or not monetization will drive your readers away? Not only did it not do that, but I keep getting comments from people thanking me for the opportunity to give something back “to the blog”. Win-win!

Why did it work so well?

It worked so well because I – almost inadvertently – applied what I was preaching.

This blog contains high-quality content which my readers find very useful for their own needs.

I have many hooks in the water, i.e. hundreds of posts. Possibly over a thousand by now.

This is definitely blogging about something I LOVE. I could write daily posts if I had the time. I think that passion comes across.

So, what does that all mean for the Blog Revival Project?

I think it’s time for some changes. In fact, I think they’re already happening.

Three of the project blogs are definitely going into the deep-freeze. I don’t really have the time to post regularly, let alone promote them. Also, I found out that I don’t really enjoy working on them and if that’s not enough, they’re not making any money which pretty much seals the deal. Bye bye, CatPicsBlog, CatsGoShopping and Gifts4Kids. At least for now.

I’m going to focus on what I love the most: Travel blogging. I’m going to keep blogging on TripMemos.com and promoting it, mostly via Pinterest. I’m also keeping this blog, Yeys.com. It’s a useful tool for me, even without generating any revenue. It’s my own “notebook” for those notes that I need to make when researching blogging topics. This is where I can “think out loud” about blogging. Accountability is another benefit. Had it not been for this blog and these monthly reports, I probably would have lost track of my projects by now. So, yes, Yeys.com is staying!

Hopefully, managing fewer blogs will make it easier to actually grow them. The results I’m seeing with my Hebrew travel blog with just 200 daily unique visitors are very encouraging.

That’s the plan, Stan. At least for the coming month. Wish me luck (and leave me a comment!)