The Complete Pinterest Resources Guide For Power Users

BzzzSocial on Pinterest
Buzzsonic on Pinterest

OK, so you’ve fallen for all the Pinterest hype and you’ve signed up and got started, now what? I hunted down some of the better resources, tools and how-to’s from the Interwebs and tried to sort through the avalanche to target the best and most useful that’ll help you get the most out of your Pinning. Just in case you’ve been slacking, here’s the official FAQs page if you’re still playing catch up!

“Pinterest is completely visually driven. Unlike other social networks that are focused on what you’re doing right now, Pinterest concentrates more on what you want to be, where you want to go, what you want to build in the future”. Thought  Matrix

First Things First. Tune Up Those Images

One of the main things to remember, and one of the ‘rules’ you should  stick by is the (my label!) ‘attribution etiquette rule’, that is, giving credit to where you  sourced that pinned image from. That means it shouldn’t be as lazy as doing a Google image search and pinning what you find from the search giant.

Mashable recently published ‘How to Make Images Stand Out on Pinterest’ which has a great infographic on how best to present your pinned images and optimise them for everyones benefit.

Pinterest Image Optimisation
Pinterest Image Optimisation

Pinterest Browser Extensions & Plugins

A  browser plugin (for Chrome) I swear by, which streamlines my image searching ten fold is the Tin Eye reverse image search tool, which works by adding an extra search option when you right click on any image in your browser. Click search and off it goes to find alternate sources and sizes of the image you’re looking at.

Pin Search is another simple but extremely useful browser plugin which adds an extra button onto the Pinterest page you’re browsing. ‘Search’ appears underneath the default three options of Repin, Edit and Comment when you hover over an image in Pinterest, zipping off to search Google images to dig out more options on the image you’re interested in.

I always try and remember to click through directly to the source of the pinned image before re-pinning just to make sure it doesn’t take me off somewhere it shouldn’t  (spammy framed redirect-affiliate links was a recent experience).

The Pinterest Pin It button (from Shareaholic) is another essential I use daily and if there is something sleeker and more feature packed, I have yet to stumble across it. It does what it says on the tin, “the easiest way to send images from any website to your pinboards”. Either click the button or right click on the image. Simple’s

One more on the Pinterest browser plugins that I use.  Share As Image Pro (until recently known as PinAQuote) lets you highlight text anywhere on the web and easily convert it into an image and post as a nicely coloured Pin. So, good for all those classic inspirational quotes and snippets of wisdom we all love so much. The ($2.99) Pro version lets you customise the text and background colours you pin. Worth it.

Share As Image Pro Browser Plugin
Share As Image Pro Browser Plugin

There’s an increasing amount of Chrome browser extensions for Pinterest and you’ll find all the official Pinterest tools on the Goodies page. These include a simple browser bookmarklet, follow and Pin It buttons for websites and the official iOS Pinterest App.

Calculate Your Pinfluence !

This is probably as irrelevant as Klout scores (CNN Money had a piece called ‘ Why Klout scores are possibly evil’ last year) but Pinreach is actually a quite useful mixture of ‘influence’ and analytics. The fledgling service analyses your popular boards by using repin numbers and shuffles the data from your boards via repins, likes, followers, pins and comments. You can also get data on your most popular repins.

Its great for gaining some quick insight and stats as to what is working best on your profile and for calculating which board needs more work.. You get a PR (Pinreach) score out of 100 (much like Klout) though I found Pinreach to be of much more  relevance  than Klout.

Pinreach Pinterest Analytics
Pinreach Pinterest Analytics

If you want to get more indepth on the analytics and what traffic Pinterest is sending to your website, Mashable have a very useful guide on How to Track Traffic From Pinterest in Google Analytics.

Pinerly I haven’t yet got access too, but Mashable have (natch!) but ploughs a similar furrow to Pinreach but with more onus on running Pinterest marketing campaigns.  Pinpuff is another of what they’re calling Pinfluence tools, along the lines of Klout, with the promise of ‘pinperks’ but other than that looks very similar to Pinreach.

 Pinterest, Meet WordPress

Pinterest WordPress RSS Widget

When I last looked there was already 86 different Pinterest plug-ins for WordPress bloggers to add to their websites. Naturally, one will be enough for your site, which one depends on your own preferences but the majority of them simply give you the ability to display activity from your Pinterest account either in your sidebar with a drag n drop widget or via short codes, which let you add activity to pages and posts.

I looked and tried a few here on BzzzSocial and settled on the ‘Pinterest RSS Widget’ which enables you to display thumbnails of your Pinterest general feed (or a specific pinboard) in your sidebar and also the ability to add feeds to any posts and pages using short-codes.

Pipped into second place was ‘Pinterest Pinboard Widget‘ which displays some very nicely laid out thumbnails in your sidebar of your activity but unfortunately (as yet) no ability to display from specific pinboards which was the clincher for me. If you just want to display action from all your boards in one neat looking display this is the way to go.

‘Pretty Pinterest Pins’ was my weapon of choice initially but display size options were limited with no thumbnail square option which meant the pins took up much more space in the sidebar. Other than that it allows you to choose from specific pinboards, item count etc.

The neatest (at least for me here) social sharing WordPress plugin at the moment is Digg Digg, which gives you several options to share content, including ‘Pinning’. You can display buttons above or below content or choose the floating social sharing bar (which you can view next to this post). Similar to the one used by Mashable no less. Easy to set up, modify and looks great.

Pinterest, Where’s The RSS?

The Sociable have a great guide on how to pull in RSS feeds from specific Pinterest Pinboards so I wont ramble on repeating what they’ve done so well.

” Following a specific board created by a user via RSS is less obvious. If you visit a user’s Pinterest Board you’ll see that there are no links to subscribe to that board’s RSS feed. But you can still generate a feed for it. To do this, first open the board (e.g. Felicia Day’s Geekin Board), then, Remove the last “/” from the URL and add .rss – your end URL will look like http://pinterest.com/feliciaday/geekin.rss ” read the full post at The Sociable…

12 More of the Most Useful Pinterest Articles from this Year

13 ‘Pinteresting’ Facts About Pinterest Users:Infographic (Mashable) Who are these feverish pinners? According to full service agency Modea, the majority are female mothers — 28 percent have a household income of $100k+.

Shopify Survey: Pinterest Users Spend 2X More (PinnableBusiness.com) Ecommerce store platform Shopify just released numbers on the profitability of Pinterest for their shop owners. They looked at over 25,000 Shopify online stores to see how Pinterest drives sales. The results are dramatic.

The Ultimate Guide to Mastering Pinterest for Marketing (HubSpot) As with any hot new social network that comes onto the scene, marketers are chiming in with, “Can I use it for marketing?” “…and, how?” The short answer? Absolutely. The longer answer? Read on to find out how.

20 Awesome Tools Which Will Have you ‘Pinteresting’ Like a Pro (The Next Web) With such an active community, it’s no surprise that there are a ton of other interesting tools, apps, and sites which aim to enhance the Pinterest experience beyond the Follow Button and Pin It button which can easily be installed on any website.

Proof That Pinterest Drives Sales, And Its Fans Spend Big (Fast Company) Pinterest users not only buy the products they pin, but spend more on average than their Facebook counterparts, according to new data from Shopify.

16 Ways Educators Can Use Pinterest (Infographic) (Mashable) OnlineUniversities.com have put together an infographic, which details how teachers can use Pinterest to organize lesson plans, distribute curricula, collaborate with other faculty, and even encourage student participation.

56 Ways to Market Your Business on Pinterest (CopyBlogger) Think those inspiring vision boards don’t result in referral traffic to websites and blogs? Think again. In January 2012, Pinterest drove greater traffic to websites than LinkedIn, Google Plus, Reddit, and Youtube — combined.

Infographic of the week: Pinterest Marketing Strategies (Populate Digital) The infographic gives you 64 marketing tips and tactics that you can apply to your Pinterest account now, to help give you a head start.

Pinterest Marketing Tips & Tricks to Drive Targeted Traffic(Search Engine Watch) Having little experience beyond personal playing around on it, my view was that Pinterest was shaping up to be a fun toy, but had little value for marketers. Of course, I love to be proven wrong when someone can bring the numbers to back up their experience with a new “toy.” Steve Gerencser from Steam Driven Media did just that.

How local businesses can do research and gain an edge with Pinterest (SmartBlogs.com) Sure, it’s easy for big brands such as Whole Foods to be successful but what about small and local businesses? The good news for local businesses is that Pinteret’s search feature makes it incredibly worthwhile for local businesses to be on Pinterest.

Why Online Marketers Better Get An Interest In Pinterest, Fast (Forbes) A few months ago I wrote of the need for brand managers to get “pinterested” due to the fact that women, AKA the one responsible for the majority of household purchase decisions has “developed an affinity for the latest and greatest social media platform.” It would also appear that those in the e-commerce world better also get “pinterested” if they have not already.

The Ultimate Pinterest Guide for Your Online Store (Shopify) The whirlwind of excitement that surrounds Pinterest provides online store owners a great opportunity to leverage it’s popularity (and overall awesomeness) to bring attention to their online store. Whether you’re already setup on Pinterest or you’re a complete newbie, this is a guide that will teach you the basics, and also help the more experienced pinners get the most from this popular social media platform.

Happy Pinning!

And don’t forget to connect with me on Pinterest OK and dig into one of my most popular boards too: Social Media, SEO & Digital Marketing , packed with close to 600 carefully curated resources and infographics on Social Media and SEO.

Follow BzzzSocial on Pinterest

20 Killer Resources For WordPress Users & Developers

I’ve been using WordPress since 2005 and I swear by it these days, simply because its so versatile, infinitely customisable, robust, oh, and its free too. My early experience with content management systems was with PHP-Nuke, then Mambo, Joomla and B2Evolution (B2/Cafelog, was the precursor to WordPress).

20 Killer Resources For WordPress Users & Developers

But there has been incredible development on WordPress in the following years and I really couldn’t see myself using anything else, such is the support, the plug-ins and the adaptability of the platform. Its something you never stop learning too, learning about plug-ins, themes (free and paid), how to tweak themes, add text widgets….

Anyway, I’ve collected a whole box load of very useful resources over the years and really that’s the thing, if you’re prepared to read a lot you can turn yourself into something of a WordPress guru with a little patience.

Remember that old Chinese proverb:

“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

 

I’m not saying this is the definitive list of WordPress resources but its a great starter kit and will save you a lot of time should you be considering whether to go it alone with your own install, or whether you’d prefer to let someone else do the heavy lifting for you!

Getting Started Resources

Getting started with WordPress

Getting Started With WordPress from Tasty Placement is a great instructional that holds your hand with writing and editing webpages on your WordPress site and shows you the basics on how to manage WordPress, including logging in, posting new articles and pages, uploading images, creating and editing menus and widgets and some more advanced features.

Another good easy to navigate WordPress starters guide with easy to understand instructions is ‘A Simplified Users Guide to WordPress’, which, according to the authors is intended to be a simple guide to using WordPress for those new to managing a WP powered site. In particular those who’ve had their WP site set up for them by a web designer or developer.

And another worthwhile guide,if you had any lingering doubts, is from WPBeginner, called ‘Why You Should Use WordPress?’.

WordPress Mentor has a very handy WordPress setup checklist which runs through five difference stages and checklists to tick off. Install: The basic WordPress installation. Secure: Hardening the WordPress installation. Configure: Adjust WordPress settings. Connect: Connect WordPress to online services.Optimise: Adjust WordPress performance. There’s the HTML version or a much neater PDF download which you can get free for an email address. Worth it.

As if that wasn’t enough to read, Tentblogger has a huge series of blog posts under the umbrella, ‘The Ultimate Guide to Launching a WordPress-Powered Blog’. Sit yourself down, strap yourself in, there’s 55 posts on everything from WordPress security settings, SEO tips and tools, recommended Plugins,  setting up Google Analytics and all points in between. Brilliant.

Not forgetting the help pages from WordPress themselves, which of course are very detailed. There’s also support forums and a repository of Themes and Plugins.

Serverpress.Wordpress Desktop-Server

Another useful tool that is aimed squarely at developers, is DesktopServer from ServerPress, which basically enables you to have a server on your desktop machine (PC/Mac) so you can test and develop your WordPress install locally without publishing online until you’re quite happy with the results.

There’s a basic free edition which allows you to create up to three websites, or the paid version which has unlimited website projects. There are several other similar tools for Devs, like Bitnami, Instant WordPress and WampServer (and the Mac equivalent MAMP).

Now We’re Up And Running.

Things to consider after your WordPress install is up and running. Content writing tips, SEO and tech tools.

Ready-Set-Write-The-Ultimate-Guide-to-Blogging.Free PDF download

‘Ready, Set, Write: The Ultimate Guide to Blogging’, is a free PDF guide to getting the most from your blogging experience. Put together by the Content Marketing Institute, the 37 page guide runs through everything from developing your blogging voice and strategy, tips for writing really amazing content, getting your content seen and shared, measuring your impact and ensuring success. There’s a host of tips, case studies and tools here you can use to build and maintain a successful blog that benefits you and your business.

Ways To Create Compelling Content:Infographic.
Ways To Create Compelling Content:Infographic.

And, a really handy infographic on finding inspiration for great content, which today, a lot of the time means re-imagining other people’s ideas as infographics, but, seems to work for many. The title of the piece says it all, ’22 Ways to Create Compelling (When You Dont Have a Clue)’. 

And more content ideas from the Content Marketing Institute. ‘12 Things to Do After You’ve Written a New Blog Post‘ , ideas that I’m going to have to put into action once I’ve finished writing this blog post! But basically the post delves into ideas on how to spread your content successfully using social media, RSS and forums. Its basic stuff nowadays, but if you need some kind of bullet list you could do worse than start here.

Windows Live Writer
Windows Live Writer. Compose WordPress Posts Offline

You don’t always have WiFi when you’re on the move, despite this utopian dream of always on, everywhere, that’s hardly the case for most unless you have bottomless pockets! So, if I get the urge to write offline, Windows Live Writer is my weapon of choice. Why not just use Open Office, MS Office Word or a text editor?

Well, the advantage of Windows Live Writer is that as long as you sync it up with your WordPress blog (or multiple blogs) when you first set it up, it formats everything just like it would in WordPress and it has a preview function. You might even like it so much you could bypass going into the WordPress admin all together and use Live Writer from your desktop. Excellent tool.

Performance & Plugins

How To Speed Up WordPress And Boost Site Performance
How To Speed Up WordPress And Boost Site Performance

Here’s a really cool infographic that lays things out in easy to digest nuggets with instructions on ‘How To Speed Up WordPress And Boost Site Performance’, which kind of speaks for itself and looks into problems and solutions, like database cache and maintenance, javascript and stylesheets. Unashamedly geeky.

More geekiness (I guess!) from DBS Interactive who have an awesome WordPress reference guide, which basically is an online handbook ‘WordPress V3.0+ Template Tag Reference Guide‘, which guides you through the various template tags (obviously!) and is one of the best reference’s I’ve seen of this nature, comprehensive, well laid out and extremely useful. Naturally if you haven’t got to the stage where you want to get your hands dirty with coding then fair enough, but if you do….

And finally a couple of SEO resources.

The first is from Yoast, ‘The Definitive Guide To Higher Rankings For WordPress Sites‘. Yoast know a thing or two about WordPress SEO, being the people behind the super popular WordPress SEO Plugin and this is one of the most complete SEO guides you’re likely to see. Essential. And if you want a second opinion, DIYThemes have an equally essential, self explanatory guide, ‘WordPress SEO for Everybody’. An ongoing tutorial which the writers say, “in it, you’ll learn how to use ethical, legitimate ways to get your WordPress blog ranking higher in the search engines.” Good enough, and it certainly is.

That should be enough to keep you going for weeks I hope. If you have any further tips and resources I’ve missed out please mention them in the comments and we’ll keep this thing updated.

Related Reading

WordPress Now Powers 22 Percent Of New Active Websites In The U.S. (Techcrunch)
How to install and test WordPress on a local server (CNET)
7 Ways to Build a Business Around WordPress (Mashable)
The Reason You Should Draft Your Blog Posts Outside WordPress (Tentblogger)
WordPress Support Forums (WordPress.org)
The Many Advantages (and Secrets) of WordPress Sites (Blueglass.com)
Manage All Your WordPress Sites From One Dashboard (ManageWP)

Download this article as a PDF.

 

12 Free Small Business Tools To Bootstrap Your Start-Up

We did a inventory this week to try and discover what our most crucial tools in the office were. Things we found crucial to the way we work, things that we found cost effective (mainly free!) and things that made our lives easier, cheaper and more streamlined.

We’re probably considered tech nerds to many, we spend way too much time online, we collect social media infographics on Pinterest, we jailbreak our iPhones and are early (over) adopters of anything to do with social media, but one thing we do have in common with most is that we appreciate free stuff and it kind of took us by surprise at just how well equipped a small business can be on a shoe-string budget.

How small business is using social media
Graphic via Mashable.com

1.UBUNTU 

We’ll accept that, at least for now, the Apple Mac book’s are on hold and we like the variety of software and the familiarity of the Windows OS. So.

Having said that, if you’re really feeling the pinch you can give that old PC or laptop a real speed boost by loading it up with Ubuntu . Ubuntu is the totally free OS that runs on Linux so there’s something of a learning curve vs. Windows, but the GUI (the graphical user interface) is surprisingly easy to get to grips with and you can run Firefox, Chrome, Mozilla Thunderbird and thousands of other similar software tools that’ll make it possible to run everything you need to run a small business just as well as Windows.

Take into account too, that Linux is known to be more stable than Windows and is based on Unix, which also powers Apple’s OS. If you want to try it out without committing yourself you can even boot it up from disc first.

The free Open Source Linux/Unix based OS, Ubuntu

 

2.LIBRE OFFICE 

If you’re grabbing the download of the Ubuntu OS then this office suite will be included in the install. Libre Office is a newer spinoff of OpenOffice, which was originally run by Sun Microsystem’s as a free alternative to Microsoft Office (you’re not still paying for that are you?) and does pretty much the same things as the paid software. So, you can write documents, do spreadsheets, edit Word docs (here called ‘Writer’), edit vector graphics, do database editing and presentations (similar to Powerpoint).

 3.SKYPE 

Still paying over the odds for your phone calls? Why? Skype is pretty much ubiquitous these days and as well as using it for (free) Skype to Skype calls worldwide, you can extend its usability by using USB phones (those headsets really aren’t that cool right!) and on the move (over WiFi) with Skype mobile apps for Android and iPhone handsets.

4.DROPBOX 

I had a recent laptop burn out which not so long ago would have crippled my productivity stone cold dead. Thanks to my Dropbox sync from laptop to cloud, all my working files and documents were safe and accessible immediately. You can sync up to 2GB for free and there’s an iPhone app for handheld access and a ton of add on services to squeeze even more usability out of the service. 50GB will cost less than $10 a month. You might also try Box.net (who’s free version extends to 5GB) and the much hyped GDrive. Essential.

5. TWEETDECK 

There really is only one choice (in desktop apps) for me, for managing my Twitter (and Facebook, Foursquare and Linkedin) accounts. I’ve been using Tweetdeck for quite a while now and it was my favourite social media management tool until Twitter purchased the company and messed up all that I liked about it. Never mind, you can still ‘downgrade’ from the latest version to the ‘pre-Twitter owned’ version (hunt down the older Tweetdeck 0.38.2 from Oldapps.com) if you hate the latest version.You’ll need to install Adobe Air too.  Schedule your social media posts, keep track of hashtag searches and monitor your @mentions and followers in real time.

Hootsuite is almost up there (for me) in terms of features and usability but is web-based vs desktop and its user interface is a little cluttered for me.

6.GOOGLE ALERTS 

Besides being a voracious user of the often much maligned RSS (for which you should be using Google Reader of course) for keeping in touch with news, my most useful ace up the sleeve is by telling the mighty Goog to alert me when ever anything with my chosen keywords gets mentioned via Google Alerts. I can even tell them how often to let me know, as it happens, daily or weekly. Brilliant.

7.GOOGLE APPS FOR BUSINESS

For smaller teams (of 10 or less), Google Apps is an excellent set of collaboration tools in the cloud and include Gmail (please tell me you don’t still have a Hotmail address?), Docs and Calendar and has transformed how we work with others in many ways. Convenience.

Essential office tools in the cloud with Google-Apps

8.BIT.LY 

I love Bit.ly, the ubiquitous URL shortener. It tracks every click on those URL’s  I scatter across various social media networks, it gives me real time analytics and even lets me use my own custom shortener. Particularly useful for tracking the effectiveness of social media campaigns.

9.INVOICEABLE 

Invoiceable (ex-Invoice Bubble) is an alarmingly simple and useful free tool that enables you to use invoicing to clients. You can create professional looking invoices for free, hook it up to your Paypal account, have recurring invoices and even fire off invoices and estimates as PDF’s. Invoice Bubble is financed by small ad placement which you can remove for $5 a month.

10.TEAMLAB

Yeah, we’ve all heard of Basecamp, which kind of set the standard for online collaboration and project management, but here’s a younger upstart out of Latvia. Teamlab offer a brilliant set of business collab, document and project management , CRM and team management tools. You can import projects from Basecamp, documents from Zoho, Google Docs and Box.net and even have your team enter blogs, forums, polls, bookmarks and Wiki’s. Free. Pretty awesome. Alternatives to consider? Freedcamp and Project Bubble.

teamlab free online project management tools for business

11.WORDPRESS

We will never stop raving about WordPress simply because it offers a brilliant platform for any young (and old) upstart to launch an online enterprise, blog or store, super quick, simply and cheaply. Hook yourself up with a reliable webhosting account (one with CPanel and Fantastico) and a domain name and you can be up and running in minutes. Absolutely indispensable.

12.MAILCHIMP

We love Mailchimp too, primarily as its a great intuitive mailing list management service and also because they have a ‘forever free’ service if you have fewer than 2,000 subscribers which lets you send up to 12,000 emails per month absolutely free. You can hook it up to your WordPress blog and if things really take off upgrading isn’t going to break the bank. Such is the nature of ‘disruptive tech tools’, we are now looking into Wysija WordPress newsletter plugin (you’ll see it in use on this site very soon!).

Honourable mentions go out to Gimp (free Open Source image editing alternative to Photoshop), Google Analytics, PortableApps.com (your desktop apps on a thumb drive), Rapportive (social GMail plugin), Survey Monkey (though Goog just released this) and Remember The Milk (task manager) amongst others !

If there’s any we missed (and because of space we know there are many!) do let us know in the comments.