The Coffee Date

5 Secret Pinterest Tips to help you grow your following!

Social MediaDiana TrinhComment

Girl, if you're not on Pinterest right now, you're missing out on a surge of traffic.  Before putting some serious effort into my Pinterest account, I was experiencing stagnant traffic, super low engagement, and lots of stressful nights.  Seriously, having no traffic makes you question why you're even doing your blog. That all changed for me recently because I just experienced my very first viral pin!  SWEEEET!  Pinterest is literally a goldmine for your blog.  Today, I want to chat about some Pinterest secrets that you probably won't find anywhere else, so take notes!  

#1 Repin pins that already have a high pin count.

The philosophy behind this is pretty simple and it's common sense: people pin what other people are pinning. Think about it... what are typically the first pins that you repin onto your own boards?  If you're like me, you probably repin the pins on your home feed first before searching and repinning other pins.

Pinterest's algorithm favors pinners and pins that have a lot of engagement, i.e. repins, clicks to website, and likes, and these are the pins that show up on your home feed.

If you don't know what an algorithm is, let me break it down for you.  Even though I'm sure every one of you reading this is a boss in some type of way, Pinterest doesn’t judge you like normal people do.  There aren't people looking at your profile saying, "She looks hella boss, let's put her on the home feed!" Instead, they use a system of formulas that are able to distinguish influential content and people from those who aren’t as influential.  

One of those formulas includes high engagement.  So basically, the only people you're appealing to on Pinterest are your followers and anyone else who comes across your repinned content.  It's up to you to pin content that you know they'll repin, because the more your engagement goes up, the higher chances you have of having your pin on the home feed.

When you repin other popular pins, you're giving your audience a subconscious nudge to repin the same content onto their own boards.  This creates more engagement on your profile and makes you more appealing to Pinterest's algorithm!

#2 Search your keywords on Pinterest before using them in your board and pin descriptions.  

You. Need. To. Do. This.  For real, do it for all of your content. It's time consuming, but totally worth the research and time.  You want to make sure that the keywords you're using directly reflect the content you're posting.  For example, using a generic keyword like 'Instagram' can leave your pin buried under tons of pins about Instagram that have nothing to do with the content you actually posted.

Aside from that, some super generic keywords often return some pretty shady pins in the results. You want to opt for more specific keywords that people are actually searching for.  Remember, Pinterest is a search engine.  People will probably search "how to choose a theme for your Instagram feed" or "how to get more followers on Instagram" before actually searching "Instagram". If you're feeling stuck, type in the generic keyword and then use the suggestions that Pinterest gives you at the top of the screen.

#3 Pin pins that are visually pleasing.

90% of the information that we process is visual.  It's quicker to physically connect with something if you're attracted to it.  If you haven't noticed, bloggers are on a "pretty" kick right now.   We're living in a digital age where photos are perfectly styled and only the best accessories are used. Before you really step up your Pinterest game, you want to make sure you have the basics of a blog identity figured out (color scheme, logo, fonts, blog graphic composition), because if not, you may end up rebranding several times before settling on the best aesthetics for you.  You don't want to confuse your audience on Pinterest.  You want them to look at a pin and be able to recognize that it came from your brand. Here's some tips on how to compose your pins:

• If you're using accessories, make sure they complement each other.  Experiment with different prints and patterns, but make sure to stay true to your brand.  

• Create balance in your pins.  Don't off center your text unless you have another element to complement the balance.

• Don't use a zillion fonts.  Your brand, overall, should have a max of three fonts that you use.  Again, you want to be consistent in your design.

• Go to Canva for some inspiration.  Even better, create a secret board of pins that you admire.  Use these for inspiration when you're in a rut.

• Remember minimalism.  You don't want to make the mistake of having a cluttered pin.  Your title should stand out, be clear, and be compelling.

• Always use your logo or blog name in your pin.  And use catchy headlines, too! (Pins with the words "How to...", "Why", "X Ways to..." get tons of repins!)

#4 Recycle your content.

Ok, this is super important! Normally, when you pin your own content, you pin to one board and keep it moving.  My dear... you want to promote your content more than anyone else's.  What does that mean?  You should pin your content to your own blog's board, and to any other personal boards that your content applies to. So, let's say I write a blog post about starting a business on a budget.  I could pin this to my blog posts board, a business tips board, a finance board, and even on a group board for entrepreneurs.  That's four different places for my content at four different times.  

Here's the thing with Pinterest: once you pin your content, the only way your audience will see it again is if you pin it again. If you use a program for automating pinning, that’s the exception, too.  If you pin content and only one person sees it and doesn't repin it, there's no way to renew that content.  It just goes to the back of your board... with zero repins.  You have to make sure that you recycle your content to keep it alive.  Here's what I mean:

• Pin content to your own Blog Posts board - Right after publishing

• Pin content to Business Tips board - 1 week after publishing

• Pin content to Finance board - 2 weeks after publishing

• Pin content to group board - 3 weeks after publishing

This gives your audience more than once to see and repin your content!

#5 Make sure your pins lead to highly valuable content.

This should be a no brainer, but let me break it down to you anyway.  Pinterest wants people to stay on their website; however, they also want people to get value out of using their site in the first place.  Please, whatever you do, do not post pins that lead to unhelpful information, spammy links, or sites full of ads and craziness.  This goes for your pins and your repins.  It's not good for your brand or for your ranking on Pinterest.  

After being on Pinterest for a while, I can say there are some exceptions to this rule.  Food bloggers typically have no need to post crazy valuable information unless they're sharing their own personal tips.  Other than that, the recipe and a handful of drool worthy photos will suffice!  If you're running something like a business or design blog, you're going to have to work for your pins. Producing high quality content that people can actually benefit from is part of the work.

Always remember this formula when you're linking content to your pins:

ACTIONABLE TAKEAWAYS + YOUR UNIQUE PERSPECTIVE OR KNOWLEDGE + VISUALLY APPEALING GRAPHICS= Tons of pins!  Woohoo!

You want to be memorable.  You want to be known as an authority. You want your audience to trust in your word.

I hope these tips have helped you!  Follow these, and you're sure to see a change in your traffic from Pinterest and in your profile in general.  Leave a comment below and tell us which of these tips you think will help you the most!  Make sure to follow me on Pinterest, too!


Guest Post by Stephanie Rollins

Stephanie is a newly married mother of two who loves all things colorful and sparkly.  Her blog, Bosslady Dreams, focuses on how new female entrepreneurs can start their businesses and design their own gorgeous blog.  When she's not chasing her two boys, she's catching up on Netflix with a cup of green tea. 

Twitter - Pinterest - Youtube - Etsy

10 reasons why squarespace is perfect for freelancers and entrepreneurs

Blog TipsDiana TrinhComment

A couple of years back, I made a switch that saved my sanity, saved me time, saved me energy and, by its very nature, taught me a thing or two about web design.

I switched from WordPress to Squarespace.

Now, I’m not here to diss WordPress. At all. What I am here to write about is simplicity, ease, and security and why Squarespace is a great choice of web builder platform for service-based freelancers and entrepreneurs.

As a big fan of keeping things simple in my life and in my work, Squarespace helps me accomplish that. No question, Squarespace works really well for service-based entrepreneurs and I’ve whittled my list of reasons down to 10 as to why it will work for you.

1. Test Squarespace Out. No Credit Card Required.

Let’s start with the fact that you can test Squarespace out for 2 weeks before buying. You don’t even need to share your credit card details. Just sign up and get started.

TIP #1 : 

Before you sign up to test out Squarespace, decide on the goal of your website (even if you don’t have one, pretend you have a goal), gather up a few images and prep some copy. This will make it so much easier to play around with the templates, layouts and functionality.

If it takes too long to write your own copy or take your own pictures, use Cupcake Ipsum to create some fake text and Unsplash to create your own placeholder photos.

TIP #2:

Make sure your images are 1500 px wide and compressed to under 500 kb. I use TinyPNG to compress my JPEG and PNG images.

Squarespace will resize your image up to seven different ways depending on the screen your website visitors are using as part of its built in responsive design.

2. Create a Cover Page While You Build Out Your Website

So, you’ve tested Squarespace out, like it and have paid up.

But your website is not nearly ready to launch. Fortunately, Squarespace has a cover page feature.

What is a cover page?

A cover page is like a landing page. It’s a stand alone web page with a specific goal (like sign up for a newsletter, buy a course, join a webinar) and with no navigation menu to distract visitors.  

To create a cover page in Squarespace, you decide on a goal for your page, pick a template, upload an image or video, add some copy and a call to action that will help you achieve your goal, use the built in style editor to pick your brand fonts and colours and then make it live.

Simple as that.

With a cover page, your visitors will be so impressed or curious or intrigued, that they’ll do what you ask them to do:  sign up for your newsletter, contact you, book your services or head on over to your Etsy shop.

If you’ve got your images and copy ready to go, I bet you can have a Squarespace cover page up in 10 minutes. Maybe 15.

3. Gorgeous Templates + Easy, Drag & Drop Design + Starter layouts

There are nearly 50 gorgeous Squarespace templates to choose from depending on the goal of your website and what kind of functionality you need. Once you’ve signed up (trial or paid mode), you can install a template, preview it, test it out, and install other templates to test them out before making your site go live.

TIP #3:

You can change your template any time - I’ve changed mine several times - although if you’ve used any custom code, make sure to save the code in notepad or a text document as often the code gets deleted with a template change.

You also get an option to choose starter layouts for pages no matter what template you’re using.

What are starter layouts?

These are pages that Squarespace has already laid out for you with placeholders for images and text. For a DIYer who is not a designer, this is a gift from heaven! You have a choice of About, Contact, Details, Features, Images, Team and Misc pages, as well as a blank page to design yourself.

TIP #4:

A big heads up. Before you even choose a template and starter layout, you should have an idea of the pages you need, the goals for each page, some images and draft copy prepared.

Tip #5:

Pay close attention to word counts because if you have too much copy, it’ll ruin the pre-made layout designs.

It can be very frustrating to have picked out a beautiful template and starter layout that doesn’t look good once you insert your copy and images.

4. Squarespace is Mobile Responsive and Future Proof

Squarespace websites are all mobile responsive. That’s it. It’s that simple. No code required.

At least from your end.

TIP #6:

 You can test out how your site will look and function on other screens, such as tablet or mobile. This will help you determine if an image you choose - which looks fab on the desktop - is the right one if it doesn’t look quite right on mobile or a tablet.

Tip #7: 

Speaking from experience, it can be irritating to want to use an image that looks brilliant on the desktop but is cut off or shows up oddly on mobile. If you don’t know code, but really want to use the image, that’s when hiring a web developer who knows Squarespace inside and out is a good idea.

What do I mean by a ‘future proof’ website?

Future proof means that as the web changes and how people search information, shop online, book services, your website can easily change with the times.

I’ve worked with a few web designers who have been asked to redo their clients’ mid-2000s websites. Rather than redoing websites from scratch, they’ve looked at what their clients need now and, if it’s the right choice, have encouraged them to make the switch to Squarespace.

Their clients websites were static and for whatever reason, budget - the clients didn’t have the cash to employ a web-savvy person - or time - the clients are busy doing what they do best - their own work,  their websites look dated, were not mobile responsive, and had a high bounce rate.

Having a website on Squarespace means you’ll be able to take advantage of new features, design trends and up-to-date functionality. One, two, five years down the road, you’ll be able to upgrade your site without having to invest in redoing it all.

Who knows, you may decide to work with a designer for a rebrand or a web developer to add functionality or features that are not available in the templates, but you’ll have a solid foundation with your initial Squarespace website.

5. Squarespace Adds New Features Frequently

Squarespace listens to its customers (and a lot of its customers are web designers and developers who know their stuff). They roll out new features frequently.

The latest - that I know of - is being able to add video backgrounds which allows for a “powerful way to create an engaging visual experience on your website.” (Squarespace said that...but it’s true.)

As recently as this past June, you needed to create or buy code script to add video backgrounds to your website - and now, there's no need for that code. You can do  it directly in the Squarespace page settings media panel

Timing, eh.

Squarespace just keeps adding more and more cool features - that you might not ever need, but someone will.

6. It’s Easy to Add Calls to Action so Your Squarespace Website Achieves Your Goals

Think about this:  What is the main goal of your website or blog? What is the goal for each individual page?

Squarespace sites are gorgeous, but the web builder platform also makes it easy to build your site around specific goals. Gorgeous is nice and all, but, if you’re a service-based freelancer and business, is your website converting visitors to clients?

There are a few areas within Squarespace to add calls to action. You can use an announcement bar at the top of your page which you can link to a newsletter sign up, a contact form, or to a calendar to book your services.

It’s also easy to create call to action buttons that can be styled in the Squarespace style editor.

Finally, Squarespace has a form feature which lets you collect information about your potential clients and what they need from you.

All these call to action features are built in, easy to use and will help you achieve your website goals.

7. Sometimes Renting is the Best Option.

Let’s get this one out of the way. One of the biggest arguments I’ve read about why Squarespace isn’t a good choice compared to WordPress is that you rent rather than own your website.

To a certain extent that is true. I get it.

But let me say this, sometimes renting is the best option.

I rent my townhome right now. I own my furniture, but when there’s a problem with my furnace or my stove, I call up my property manager and they sort it out. They shovel snow in the winter and mow the grass in the summer, they keep the surroundings clean, they upgrade old stuff when it doesn’t work anymore. They’ve even repainted my deck.

I don’t have to do any of that.

And yes, I could get evicted. Or the rent could rise too high. But, it’s the perfect choice for me right now.

That’s kind of what it’s like for me and Squarespace. I don’t mind that Squarespace is the ‘landlord’ of my website. I own my domain name, I own my content, just like I own my furniture.

I love both the convenience of having my site hosted on Squarespace and not having to worry about upkeep.

Some people prefer owning their site and that’s totally fine. But try not to be swayed by that argument. Think about what you need right now and what you might need down the road.

If you’re on the fence and don’t have a lot of time or tech skills to deal with some pretty big problems that can come at you when you have a WordPress website (think hacking, broken plugins, upgrades, etc), then think about ‘renting.’ It’s not necessarily a bad thing.

8. Squarespace has Stellar Customer Service

Squarespace customer service is excellent. You just write them and ask for help and they’ll show you what to do or point you in the right direction.  

They also have a help page, free access to online video and print tutorials and guides and a Community Answers Forum where there are a ton of helpful developers on hand who will share what they know including code snippets.

9. Squarespace Security Gives you Peace of Mind

Squarespace’s security gives you major peace of mind.

Yes, the platform has gone down in the past - for a relatively brief spell - and sometimes when you’re working in the backend, you notice Squarespace is glitchy and that can be annoying but here’s what’s great - Squarespace is ON IT.

You don’t have to deal with these problems, you just have to wait it out.

I used to have a WordPress website, and I loved learning and tinkering with it. But I hated dealing with the broken plugins, hacking, and not very helpful hosting.  I lost my site twice to hackers despite following the instructions my host site had sent me. I spent 3 full days trying to get my own site up and running (and not being able to work as a result).

When you’re still on a low budget, having to pay savvy web developer or a security site to deal with a big time hack job is painful. So I love that Squarespace deals with that for me.

I also love how easy it is to find out what’s wrong and to be kept informed about any issues that crop up.  When Squarespace is acting wonky, you can write to customer service or check the Status Update page or their Squarespace Help Twitter Feed.

10. Squarespace Fandom is a Thing

There are a lot of Squarespace fans - copywriters, editors, graphic designers, photographers, bed and breakfast owners. You name it, there’s a service-based business person out there on Squarespace who is a big time fan.

Many web designers and developers are also fans.

They may still build WordPress websites, they can code like no one’s business, but they put their own sites on Squarespace for many of the reasons I’ve listed above - security, ease of use, new features, and excellent customer service.

So, where can you find all these Squarespace fans?

In Facebook groups.

Yep. Facebook groups.

TIP #8:  

If you’ve decided Squarespace is for you, then you’ll want to ‘meet’ these fans. You can ask them for advice and help and then, at some point, share your own knowledge to other fledgling Squarespace users.

Here are 3 Squarespace-dedicated Facebook groups that you can join where you’ll find friendly and helpful Squarespace folk.

Squarespace Rockstars

You can also find Squarespace fans on Pinterest. Like me, for example.

I created nine categorized boards dedicated to Squarespace on everything from blogging to design and SEO and code. If you’re signed up with a Squarespace account or just thinking about it, follow me on Pinterest. I regularly pin posts of bloggers and entrepreneurs who write useful tips and hacks on how best to use Squarespace.

Now, I’m curious. Do you think Squarespace will work for you? Comment below and let me know what you think?


Guest Post by: Kath O'Malley

About Kath

Hi there, I’m Kath. I’m a web and social media copywriter and editor. I also know my way around Squarespace like no one’s business.

I work mainly with Squarespace web designers to help their clients write and edit copy for their websites. No more university-length essays. Keep it short, sweet, and converting visitors to clients.

If you’re wondering how best to write copy that fits with a Squarespace template design, download my Word Count Cheatsheet and get your web copy written pronto.

If you have any Qs about Squarespace, get in touch over at:

Website:  www.kathomalley.com

Instagram:  @kathomalley

Pinterest:  kath_o_malley

(Headshot Photo by Adam Pinay at Authentically)

 

How to Get Started with Snapchat for Your Biz

Social MediaDiana TrinhComment
snapchat

Have you wanted to get started with Snapchat?

Seemingly out of nowhere, Snapchat has exploded in popularity lately. If you’ve been hesitant to join everyone else on the Snapchat bus, I’m here today to convince you that should definitely jump on board!

Not only is Snapchat an awesome tool for keeping up with your friends, you can use it for business as well!

Just take a look at Summer Tannhauser’s recent Snapchat stories (@summertannhaus). She does a great job merging both lots of Snaps of her (super adorable) family, plus a ton of behind-the-scenes looks into her business, which is so interesting to me! Lately, she’s been talking a lot about her Facebook ad strategy for her new automated webinar, and seeing her ideas for stuff like that has me in entrepreneur heaven.

Just like Summer, you can indulge your own subscribers in quick sneak peeks at what your life as an online entrepreneur looks like on the daily!


Still not sure if you want to get started with Snapchat?

  • 57 million Americans use Snapchat

  • The large majority of users are millennials

  • 30% of teens say that Snapchat is the most important social media channel

  • More than 50% of users visit at least once a day!


Learning how to use another new social media platform can be kind of daunting, though, I get it. Especially when it’s like Snapchat, which (I admit) is not really that user-friendly when you first try it out.

That’s why I have for you a little tutorial on how to get started with Snapchat!

 

How to Get Started with Snapchat for Your Biz

Step #1: Download the app.

Step #2: Enter in your information.

Step #3: Pick a username and password.

Step #4: Find your friends!

Here is what is basically your "profile page" on the Snapchat app. It will prompt you to add a moving-picture selfie, which is super cool and unique!

Below your photo, you have some options to view your followers, add new friends, or see your current list of friends.

This is what it looks like if you choose Add Friends:

 

There's a variety of different ways to go about adding friends, including:

1. Add by username:

Simple and self-explanatory (mine is mirandamowbray)

2. Add from Address Book:

This will search your phone's contacts for current Snapchat users.

3. Add by Snapcode:

The yellow frame around your profile picture has a code of dots that is unique to you! Taking a picture or video of someone else's Snapcode in the Snapchat app will automatically add them as one of your friends!

4. Add nearby:

Allows you to search for users in your local area.

5. Share username:

This opens up your phone's share center and allows you to email, message, tweet or Facebook your username to people.

The main feature of Snapchat is the camera:

(Please excuse my no-makeup “I have mono” selfies!)

Tap the circle to take a photo, or hold to take a 10-second video.

(If you want to use a special filter like face-swap or the flower crown, tap and hold on your face BEFORE you take the photo/video until the options pop up!)

Swipe right to add Instagram-style filters — there are some cool ones that use your location!

On the top-right, there are also a few other options, which are:

  • Stickers

  • Text

  • Freehand drawing

 

 

Now it’s time to share your photo!

On the bottom, you are given a few choices for sharing:

  • First, choose how long you want the photo to appear in your friends' feeds. (I always choose 10 seconds.)

  • Next, you can choose to save the photo on your device.

  • Now, you can either tap the square with the plus sign to add it to your "Story," or tap the blue button to send it to specific friend(s).

Here's the deal with your Story:

Each photo/video is available to view for 24 hours after you add it to your story. So your story becomes a virtual "day in the life" of yourself that's constantly changing and updating depending on what time it is. I love it!

Want to receive some Snaps too?

There are two ways you can receive Snaps:

  • Privately: Swiping left on the camera screen will open up your private messages, which will be made up of photos/videos that your friends didn't add to their Story, plus text chats that your friends have sent to you (usually in response to a photo/video).
     

  • Stories: Swiping right on the camera screen will send you to the Stories page. You can view your own Story at the top. Clicking on the options button across from "My Story" will allow you to see how many people (and who!) viewed each Snap, as well as delete or save old Snaps. Under "Recent Updates," you will see all of your friends' Stories that you haven't viewed yet!

 

Getting confused? This is what helps me!

 

Now get out there and start using Snapchat for your business! It’s an awesome tool that, in no time, you will be just as obsessed with as I am!

Got any more questions about how to get started with Snapchat? Leave ‘em in the comments below and I’ll help you out!


Guest Post: Miranda Nahmias

Miranda Nahmias is an experienced virtual assistant who runs an elite team of U.S.-based VAs in a variety of different specialities. Miranda is passionate about helping female online entrepreneurs like you get relief from administrative, social media, and blogging-related tasks.


Connect with her on social media!

FACEBOOK - TWITTER - INSTAGRAM - PINTEREST - SNAPCHAT