When I first launched my blog, it was a hobby. I wanted a creative outlet where I could create content and record my healthy (mostly low carb) recipes, so I’d have them well into the future. I knew that there were food blogs out there that were making money, but I just didn’t believe that I could build a successful recipe website.
At the time, I was also very private and hesitant to create social media accounts. In fact, I waited a whole nine months after launching my blog before I created any accounts. One day, on a whim, I decided to create a Pinterest account – I figured that wasn’t giving up much privacy – and started pinning my recipes there.
My Blog Took Off on Pinterest
This was early 2016, and the timing was impeccable: The keto diet started taking off right then, and along with it, so did my low carb recipes on Pinterest. My site wasn’t even exclusively low carb recipes, just all kinds of healthy ones, but the low carb and keto ones were the ones that skyrocketed.
I steadily watched in disbelief as my pageviews climbed from 600 in February 2016 to 60,000 in May that same year. I realized that my little hobby could actually turn into something. Right around that time, I stumbled across some income reports on another food blogger’s website, and I was blown away that they were making a full-time income.
I Realized My Hobby Could Become a Thriving Business
Suddenly, the strategy started to matter. I knew in my heart that it could really become a business, and it was so much more exciting than my software day job.
I did everything I could to grow Pinterest more and keep the momentum going – I’m certain that it would not have continued if I hadn’t done that. I started creating what I thought at the time were nicer looking pins. I networked with other bloggers and joined their group boards so that I could pin to them. I launched my own new boards and organized my account. But what it really came down to was studying what was working and doing more of it – and less of what wasn’t.
Our Pinterest traffic continued to grow through 2021. Over that time, I improved my photography and recipe quality, improved my pin style, joined pinning communities, and created a complex spreadsheet system that drove pinning decisions for maximum results.
Social Media Is Unpredictable
As we all know, social media can be unpredictable, and understandably, their priority is their own bottom line, like any other business. Back when Pinterest skyrocketed for us, their positioning was as a visual search engine, it was long before their IPO, and they were focused on user growth over revenue. They had no problem driving traffic to other websites.
But in 2021, Pinterest’s priorities changed. They started prioritizing ads more, and focusing on keeping users on their platform by introducing and pushing Idea Pins, which did not have outbound links, in their algorithm. As a result, Pinterest traffic plummeted for virtually all bloggers around that time.
It’s Important to Diversify Your Marketing Strategy
Luckily, although we had been experiencing success, we had also grown our SEO, email list, and other social platforms long before Pinterest changed their tune. If we hadn’t planned ahead, my business might look very different from how it looks today. I’m still a big believer in the power of social media, but it’s up to every business owner to cultivate followings and strategies on multiple platforms, or they’re just one algorithm change away from failure.
Written by Maya Krampf.
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