How To Pinterest: A Beginner’s Guide For Bloggers

If you don’t know how to use Pinterest to promote your blog, what Pinterest’s SEO means, or how to choose the right keywords, then this post is for you.

Before we start, I just want to say that after reading all that has been said of Pinterest and how to use it (and there is a seriously overwhelming number of articles out there!), I found that the amount of this information cannot fit in one single post. Unless, of course, my plan was to write a 10k words long post, which it wasn’t, to be honest.

So, in this post, I go over some of the basics for those who just don’t know where to start with Pinterest. And I discuss a few major points, like Pinterest’s SEO and how to choose the right keywords, plus some tips that should help you get off the ground and create some changes towards better traffic.

However, there will, most certainly, be more posts to come on Pinterest in the very near future, so I can share the remainder of everything I learned.

Now let’s get started!


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Which niche can benefit from Pinterest?

I have seen so many bloggers use Pinterest to drive traffic to their websites and it amazed me how much traffic some of them could get. However, most (if not all) of these blogs are lifestyle, beauty, cooking, or travelling blogs. All of these blogs are great with images.

There is nothing more expressive than a photo to show a great outfit, or a beautiful scenery, or a delicious recipe.

So while I had Pinterest on my mind as something I was tempted to try, I honestly wasn’t sure if this was something that could work for me given the nature of my blog and how it doesn’t at all depend on beautifully taken photos.

So I was clueless as to what I could do to benefit from this platform.

But I was persistent and I didn’t like the idea of letting a chance of such an opportunity, to drive traffic to my blog, pass by me without even giving it a shot.

So, I started searching on Pinterest to see if there is anything that is relevant to what I blog about and to my surprise, it was FULL.

One of the things I realized I could benefit of is “infographics;” for some reason I didn’t ever think about that, and no one ever suggested it to me when I asked a few for advice. But it turns out this is the perfect way I could incorporate my website’s material into a “pinnable” photo on Pinterest.

This brings us to the answer of this question:

Which niche can benefit from Pinterest? – Every single one of them.

Should you use Pinterest to promote your blog?

Yes, you most certainly should.

At the moment, Pinterest has around 250 million monthly users and it is used by people in every region in the world. Pinterest has proven to be a lead competitor among search engines because of how resourceful it is (some even go as far as saying it’s competing against Google, but that’s a little far-fetched in my opinion).

But I also wanted to know what bloggers around me think of it, so I started a poll on Twitter earlier this week to have some sort of an insight; and it looks like the majority of bloggers do believe that you should use it since the majority of them are already using Pinterest for their blogs.

According to this very humble poll, 74% of the 197 bloggers who voted are using Pinterest.

However, it seems that Pinterest is quite the confusing platform, because I also asked bloggers to share their experience with Pinterest so far, and although 74% of the voters are in fact using pinterest, not necessarily all of them know how exactly they can benefit from it.

And those 26% who are not using it are mostly either not interested in the platform or, like myself, bloggers who had no idea where to start.

But before we dive into how to use this platform, let’s first make one tiny clarification..

Pinterest is not Instagram

There is a misconception that some people seem to still have about Pinterest from what I’ve read and that is that they dub it as a “social media platform,” like Facebook or Instagram, which it was at some point in time, but now Pinterest is mainly a search engine, more like a visual search engine.

Now, people use Pinterest like they use Google. Maybe some people still use it to connect with other followers, but the vast majority of visitors use it for search. They type in a keyword in the search bar and Pinterest provides matching results to what they are looking for.

If you use this site with that mindset, you will have a different approach as to how to better your rankings there.

Because just like you should pay attention to Google’s SEO for your ranking on Google’s serp, you should pay that same attention for Pinterest’s SEO rules to get higher rankings on it’s search result page.

I would very much recommend reading my last week’s post on Google’s SEO The Simplest Guide To SEO For Beginners, in addition to this post, because you will need to have an understanding of both SEOs to be able to get more traffic.

What is Pinterest’s SEO?

Pinterest’s SEO is optimizing everything on your Pinterest account to follow the specific guidelines and Pinterest best practices in order to appear on a Pinterest search results page.

However, Pinterest is known for continuously changing/updating their rules (much like Google), so what may have worked a year or two ago, could get your account penalized now.

That’s why you need to be on the lookout for any updates that might affect your current pins and how they rank.

How to choose the right keywords for Pinterest

One of the most important things to pay attention to when applying Pinterest’s SEO is focus on optimizing your account with the right keywords.

These keywords should be in the descriptions of your board, board sections, and pins, as well as the titles of each one of those.

(If you’re new to Pinterest and don’t know how to create boards or pins yet, I’ll get to that in the next section.)

To know which keywords to use, you can do the following:

1. Pinterest’s search suggestions

When you search for something on Pinterest, it shows you a list of relevant keywords that is related to your search. These words should be your guide as to what most users who search that word would be interested to see.

Pinterest search auto-complete showing the most popular searched words along with “blogging”
Pinterest’s suggested keywords for the search term “blogging.”

Try searching on Pinterest with relevant keywords to your niche and look for the type of results you get.

How much interaction the pins appearing for this specific word are getting? You want to aim for the keywords that are getting the highest number of interaction.

2. Category search

You can search in the specific category that matches your niche. When you click on a category it will show you how many users are following this category and the most popular pins.

Under each category there are several topics, each topic you click will show you the number of followers of this topic along with the most popular pins shared in that topic, which should also help you figure which titles and images work best for this topic.

It will also show you a list of other related topics to this one. This information will give you an idea of which topic branches in your niche would perform best on Pinterest.

You can also go to the popular category and find out which topics and pins are the most popular at the moment on Pinterest in general.

choosing keywords for Pinterest SEO, category search
I selected the “Popular” category and chose the “social media marketing” topic.
choosing keywords for Pinterest SEO, related topics search
Other topics related to the “social media marketing” topic.

How to start using Pinterest

I’m aware that probably most of those reading this post already have a Pinterest account set up; so if this is you, you may check if you forgot one of those steps or just skip this section.

If you are, however, brand new to this platform, here are the very first steps to take to start using Pinterest for your blog:

  • First you will need to go to Pinterest and sign up for an account.
  • Then claim your website; this may take up to 48 hours.
  • Upgrade to Pinterest Business account to get more in-depth analysis of your account’s stats (it’s free).
  • Install a plugin to your website that adds a “save it” button on your blog post images which allows visitors to share it on Pinterest. Or get it from Pinterest here.
  • If you’re using WP and want to add a “save it” button on your image without installing a plugin, check these steps.
  • You can also add a Pinterest share button on your page along with the Twitter and Facebook ones (for WP users).
  • Allow your site visitors to follow you on Pinterest by adding it among your social media links widget. (for WP users).
  • Start creating new images for your blog posts with image size 600×900 (more on this below).

How to customize your Pinterest account

Once you have done the basic work which is join the platform and set your website to become Pinterest friendly. It’s time to work on the Pinterest account.

creating Boards

First you will want to create a board. The title of this board should be the title of your website/blog, for the sake of SEO, but also to make it easier for your visitors to know they will find everything related to your blog posts in this one board.

You should then edit the description of this board. And, when doing so, use as many relevant keywords to your website as you can; this helps with your SEO.

However, add these words in structured sentences, don’t just stuff many keywords randomly. This is because apparently Pinterest algorithms can tell if your are trying to use too many keywords to rank and will consider it a spam.

Creating Sections

In your newly created board you can either add pins directly or you have the option to create separate sections and then add pins to each section.

This will entirely depend on your content. If you post about a variety of topics, it’s better to set a separate section for each topic.

This makes it easier for users to find the relevant material to their search query and, also, makes it easier for Pinterest to understand what your pins are about in order to suggest them under the right search terms.

And the section title should have relevant keywords and should give a clear idea to the user and Pinterest of what kind of pins it includes.

Creating Pins

Now this is where most of the work lies. Creating attractive and relevant pins that will drive the user to interact with it, either on Pinterest or through clicking the link to your website.

As I am not exactly an expert on this yet, I can only tell you what I found to have been working, looking at the most popular Pinterest accounts out there.

In order to create an attractive pin, you need to consider three main aspects:

A. Image size

The ideal Pinterest image size as of 2019 is 600 x 900 pixels. And it’s important to note that super long images are no longer working on Pinterest, so you don’t want your image to be much longer than this range between 600 x 900 and 735 x 1102 (which is generally a 2:3 ratio) to be on the good side of Pineterst’s algorithms.

Some articles I read claim sometimes a square-sized image (600 x 600) can do you well with traffic because, for mobile users, it is the fastest to load. And one of Google’s most important SEO aspects is speed for mobile users, with that being said, it makes sense if it would favor showing a faster loading pin.

You can also see that Pinterest now gives you the option to share your Instagram photos, which are ideally square-sized ones.

So while the ideal Pinterest image size is bigger than that, it won’t hurt to add a smaller sized pin for one of your posts every now and then and monitor the performance.

Remember that Google Image search results page shows Pinterest images, so don’t forget Google’s SEO when setting up your Pinterest.

B. Photo quality

This goes without saying, but in order to have an attractive pin you need to make sure that the photo you are using is of high quality. Pay attention to the colors and the contrast.

The photo should also be relevant to the topic and one that conveys the message you are trying to give to the user.

C. Text overlay

Whether you actually need to add text or not will depend on your content. Some Pins wouldn’t necessarily need text to deliver the point, while others would make no sense without a text overlay.

When adding text, you should make sure that it’s bold and clear, and that it compliments the photo and not just adding visual noise to it.

You can do this by trying to use proper, readable font styles and font size and use coherent colors that goes well with the colors of your photo.

You can experiment with different photos and fonts and monitor their performance until you figure out which style works best for your content and gets the most interactions.

Creating Infographics

Infographics are a very good type of pin on Pinterest; and it works well for mostly every niche as it directly provides information to the user.

This will hopefully also create a bigger motive for them to read more into the topic and, therefore, will result in a click-through to your website. Or can result in sharing your pin, which is just as good.

When creating an infographic, there are a few things you would need to pay attention to:

  • Creating useful content. Beneficial and useful content is important for an infographic. You need to bring the “info” to infographic.
  • Engaging content. While focusing on the quality of the information, try to put it in a way that will get a reaction out of the viewer. This can be through asking an intriguing question or adding a motivational, funny or even shocking sentences/info. (This may not be an option for every post, but just keep it mind.)
  • Using the right layout to deliver your message. Try searching for similar keywords to your topic and see what is the most popular? Is it lists? Is it illustrations? Is it charts? The content of the specific post you’ll link to may also decide that for you.
  • Organized look. Regardless of the layout you will decide to use, make sure that it is organized and easy to read, don’t overcrowd it with information or use fonts that are too small to read.
  • Always remember mobile users. You might want to check how your pin will look on a mobile phone to make sure it’s clear enough.

How to drive traffic to your Pinterest account

Alongside the number one factor in driving traffic which is using the right keywords and adding them to your titles and descriptions, here are four more tips that can help increase traffic to your Pinterest account.

A. Consistency

One thing that I found in common in all the articles I read is that being active on Pinterest is one the of the important factors in generating traffic to your Pinterest account.

So, just like with blogging, consistency is key in gaining audience and driving traffic.

It is best if you are adding pins daily. However, not everyone has enough time to login and add a new pin every single day, so Pinterest facilitated that for you by giving business accounts the option to schedule pins in advance; you can schedule up to 30 pins.

There is another way that I found a lot of users recommending and that is using Tailwind. It is an app that allows you to schedule pins to share on your Pinterest, among many other perks.

It is also approved by Pinterest, so it is safe to use. I honestly haven’t tried it (and I don’t plan to soon), so I can’t vouch for it, but I have only read good reviews about it.

B. Repin related pins

Another thing that can help your account be recognized on Pinterest is if you repin from other accounts that are related to your niche or things that those who would be interested in your content, might also be interested in seeing.

You can create a separate board on your account for those pins you add from other people and save those pins there, to keep everything organized.

C. Join group boards

Joining group boards on Pinterest that post about similar topics to yours, helps your account get recognized by visitors interested in this topic.

When you join a Pinterest group, you each add your pins and then repin each other’s pins to your board.

This way you get more exposure through the other accounts’ following and increase your Pin’s popularity by increasing its impressions and repin rates.

However, when joining borads, make sure to join ones that are in fact related to your niche and ones that aren’t overcrowded with members, a good number would maybe range between 20-25 members, as it is said that Pinterest has been paying more attention to group boards due to high pinning/repinning ratios which can equate spamming.

D. Use #hashtags

On Pinterest, you can use hashtags like you do on Twitter; and it is said that this can increase your visibility on the search result page for both the actual word and the word with the hashtag, as it let’s Pinterest recognize your content as relevant to this specific topic

Usually you would add the hashtagged keywords in the description box of your Pin, after you’ve explained what your pin is about in sentences that are also rich with the relevant keywords.

Conclusion

To get more pin views on Pinterest:

The below steps are the things you need to check and fix in order to help you get more pin views on Pinterest which can hopefully lead to more traffic to your blog.

Here are the 10 tips to get out of this post.

  1. Proper size (600×900) and high quality images.
  2. Put mobile users in mind (clear and bold fonts are best).
  3. Useful and organized infographics.
  4. Use Pinterest search suggestions and category search to choose the right keywords.
  5. Proper use of Pinterest’s SEO: Make sure you use as many relevant keywords in the titles and descriptions.
  6. Use #hashtags.
  7. Remember that Google Image search results shows Pinterest images. So pay attention to Google’s SEO.
  8. Join group boards and repin related pins to your niche.
  9. Treat Pinterest like you treat your blog, in that, be consistent with pinning (preferably daily).
  10. Create new pins for old posts. Pinterest likes active accounts with new pins.
8 pinterest tips for bloggers
Still experimenting with colors and fonts myself…..

Till next week, happy days!

To receive more tips like this, hop on board and join the journey!

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The 5 Dangers Of Sitting In A Bad Posture For Hours

Sitting for too long is bad for your health. Sitting for too long in the wrong posture is A LOT worse.
Read about the dangers and what you can do to avoid them in this post.

A post on health might seem like an odd topic to find here given the theme of this blog; however, this topic is directly related to my journey. In fact, the entire thing is dependent on it.


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Working on this blog is something I do while sat down. But it’s not just that, almost everything I’m doing, I do while sitting down starring at something, either reading for studies, writing assignments/homework, working on every single job I’ve ever had, watching TV, typing a blog post, researching a topic, or just scrolling through social media pages, etc.

That is a lot of sitting down! And this can be seriously dangerous if you are not paying attention to how long you are doing this and the way you are actually doing it.

I have been suffering from neck and shoulder pain for quite a long time, but only in recent months did it become so intolerable that I was forced to do a checkup, to find I have severe tight neck muscles and some kind of irritation in my cervical spine nerves (aka a pinched nerve).

An irritation in the cervical spine causes “pain that radiates into the shoulder, as well as muscle weakness and numbness that travels down the arm and into the hand.”

I have been taking medications and getting ultrasound therapy. But it’s not like the flu; and it doesn’t go away that quickly or that easily. I have been getting treatment on and off for the past 5-6 months. And many of the medications I have taken had some nasty side effects. So this is no walk in the park, it is bad and painful.

And I must say that, for the most part, I have been entirely dependent on the medications alone to do their magic and fix this, without much effort on my part.

But I’ve reached to a point where I got sick and tired of always being in horrific pain whenever I have to use my arm to carry something or, mistakenly, lean on it when I’m getting out of bed and feel as if a power drill is punching a hole through my shoulder.

So, I started to do some reading into this to try and find things that I can do on my part, to help fix this along with the medications.

But, first, let me tell you how bad this can actually get and why you should pay attention too!

How Sitting For Long Periods Of Time Affects Your Health

Sitting is the new smoking is a study made in the US claiming that sitting for one hour straight is as unhealthy as smoking two cigarettes.

They explain that sitting still for over 6 hours a day is as unhealthy for your body as smoking a pack and a quarter of cigarettes in a day. 

And that according to a study focused on the causes of chronic diseases, it is found that sitting for long hours is the number one contributer to developing a chronic disease (in the US).

Another study conducted by a number of leading professors in the UK was made on sedentary behaviour and its effect on both young and adults. And it concludes that sitting for long durations of time can cause obesity, type 2 diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular disease, and early death.

How To Avoid These Issues

It is highly advised that in order to avoid the serious health issues that accompanies sitting for too long, you should have a break every 30 minutes.

So every 30 minutes you need to get up for one or two minutes; you can do some stretches, walk to get a drink, or just do any kind of movement to break the idle position that your body has been in for the past 30 minutes.

There are some apps that are created specifically to help you do that, or you can simply set a timer on your phone for 30 minutes to work as a reminder that it’s time for you to move.

5 Ways A Bad Sitting Posture Affects Your Health

Image by medicaldaily.com

As per multiple studies and scientific researches made on the negative side effects of sitting in a wrong posture, it is found that your sitting posture can affect you in many more ways than just the way your body looks.

1. Back and spinal column

Starting the list with the more obvious problem that arises from sitting in a bad posture: back pain.

Sitting in a wrong posture can cause pain in the upper back, lower back, and the neck. The pain can also spread to include your arms, hands, legs and feet, depending on the part affected in the spinal column.

One of the medical conditions it can lead to is a pinched nerve.

Beside the fact that it causes a lot of pain, a pinched nerve, if left untreated, can cause chronic pain and permanent nerve damage which can lead to a disability, depending on the area controlled by the affected nerves.

And it is quite alarming to know that, according to this research, for every 2.5 cm your head moves forward, you add 0.45 kg of extra wight on your spine. A human’s head weighs between 4.5 and 5.5 kg.

So, if you are starring down at your phone, for example, that is about 13 cm of leaning forward which adds 5.85 kg of extra weight on your neck and spine. Adding to that the actual head weight, and you get an average of 11 kg of weight that is being dragged by your neck and spinal column. That is also the average weight of a 2-year old child.

2. Lungs and breathing

When you are sitting in a pitched forward position, the lungs slump forward and become compressed with the diaphragm moving up further in the chest which decreases the amount of oxygen entering your lungs by 30%.

Decreasing your oxygen intake, in turn, affects your energy levels and your ability to concentrate. It will also lead to feelings of fatigue and cause headaches.

3. Blood pressure

According to a study made in the UK, scientists found that sitting in the wrong posture where your shoulders and back are slouched is likely to affect your blood pressure.

The neck muscle cells signal the brain when sensing movement in the neck, to ensure adequate blood supply as the body changes posture. This system, however, breaks down when cells incur damage from poor posture, resulting in blood pressure either higher or lower than optimum.

4. Digestive organs

Sitting in a slouched posture compresses the digestive organs which can make them incapable of functioning properly. It slows the movement of your intestines which can cause digestion problems such as bloating or constipation.

This effect on digestive organs can also impact your metabolism.

5. Mental health

From my own take and what I noticed, when you are slouched in your chair, it creates a feeling of laziness and sometimes you’d feel down or easily irritated, unlike when you are straightened up, it feels like you are more open, awake and active.

And according to this research publication, the posture in which you are sitting does indeed affect your mood. A bad/slouched posture leads to being more prone to and easily affected by negative thoughts and emotions; while sitting in an upright position reduces stress and generally enhances the person’s mood and their mindset.

And as another experiment concluded, people that sit in an upright posture tend to easily remember more positive memories and have positive thoughts than those in a bad posture.

What Is A Good Sitting Posture?

There are a few things that you need to pay attention to when you sit down in order to make sure you are in the right posture.

  • Your feet should be flat on the ground with your knees making a right angle and are at the same level as your hips or slightly lower.
  • Your back is straight and chest is stretched so that your shoulders are not slouched/arched.
  • Your head is positioned where your chin is parallel to your hips and your ears paralleled to your shoulders.
Image by medicaldaily.com
A video by posture coach Michelle Janice showing how to sit up straight.

4 Things To Help Maintain A Good Sitting Posture

All that doctors have been saying over and over is that I should keep a good posture, “try to always sit with a straightened back and stretched
shoulders and don’t lean forward with your head.”

So, I am completely aware that this is what I am supposed to do. But how do I keep that posture for the entire 5-7 hours I am sitting on my laptop?

I’m only able to maintain this position when conscious about my posture, but then I get distracted with what I’m actually doing and, an hour later, I find myself back to the hunched-over-the-laptop position with slouched shoulders and forward neck again.

This happens because, to me, this is the more natural and comfortable position, where I don’t have to be all the way stretched. So, I needed a more practical solution.

Here are 4 things I do that can help keep a good, healthy posture for as long as you are sitting.

1. Sit on a cushion

Because sometimes the desk and chair I’m sitting on are not in good alignment where my arms and elbows are in a perfect straight line position.

In my case, it is usually that the chair is lower than the desk, and so I sit on a cushion which helps me maintain that position.

2. Roll pillow behind your back

This has been a real savior. Because, like I mentioned earlier, it can get really uncomfortable when I try to keep my back in a straight position for a long time, so putting a roll pillow* or roll cushion behind my back works as a support for the middle part of my back which both makes me feel way more comfortable and it sort of automatically enhances the way I’m sitting anyway without much effort on my part.

But even when I tend to slouch a little bit, it also works as a continuous reminder to get back to the right position.

3. Place the laptop at an arm’s length

This could be something that most people do already, but I only realized that recently and, oh my god, it is such a relief when I type now.

I have always had my laptop placed right at the edge of the desk and so my arms and elbows are usually just hanging the entire time I’m typing, which causes more pressure and therefore more pain in my shoulders.

How to make sure that you are in a good, comfortable posture where your arm is always supported is if you push the laptop far on the desk, so that your arms up until your elbows are supported by the desk itself and then type that way.

There is also a really helpful video that shows even more ways to help you keep a good posture, not just while sitting on a computer but when watching TV, playing games, or using your phone. You can watch it here.

4. Set a timer

Setting a timer to alert you every 15-20 minutes can work as a reminder to both move around or straighten up and correct your posture. There are even some phone and computer apps that can help you do this.

But if you are not interested in an application, you can simply create several alarms on your phone, or a timer every 15-20 minutes, as a posture reminder.

5. Stretches

One of the things that can help maintain a good posture at all times is if your body feels relaxed and comfortable at that posture. And one way to get your body to that level of comfort is if you do certain stretches that help with the back and upper body’s flexibility, so that keeping a straightened back and stretched shoulders no longer feels uncomfortable or weird (or, like me, makes you feel like a cyborg).

Below are some example stretches that I do. You can find more of them and information about each pose and its benefits here.

Standing cat-cow. Image by yoffielife.com.
Active child’s pose. Image by yoffielife.com.

Downward-Facing dog stretch. Image by forteyoga.com

Standing forward fold pose. Image by forteyoga.com

And eventually, if you are already suffering (like me), here are a few things to help with that too.

5 Things To Help Relief Back Pain

1. Heating pad

Placing a hot water bottle* or a heating pad* (this is the one I use) on the area of your back or neck that hurts can reduce the pain, because the heat relaxes the muscles and speeds the blood flow to that area. This is one of the things that I have been advised to do for my neck and shoulder pain and part of the physical therapy treatment I am getting.

2. Herbal cream

There are some herbal creams available that help ease muscle pain. They are made entirely of natural ingredients; however, you should still consult a doctor before using any.

You would simply take a sufficient amount of cream on the tip of your fingers and start applying it on the affected area. It can work even better if you do so after you have applied the heating pad.

3. Massage

A massage, especially in the neck and shoulders area, can work as a great pain relief because mostly the pain in this area is caused by the pressure put on those muscles to hold your head. So, by massaging that area, you help those tightened muscles to loosen and relax.

You can simply massage the area with your hand, go to a spa, or you can buy a massager that you can use at home or at work. (I found the latter to be a more convenient option and so I use a similar Shaitsu massager to this one*).

4. Stretches

Doing the same stretches above can also help relief back pain. But you can find more exercises related to relieving back pain in this article.

5. Medical treatment

This is of course an obvious step to take if you are indeed suffering from such pain, because leaving it untreated for a long time can cause even more damage which would take a longer treatment period or worse, could cause a permanent damage to your body.

So make sure you consult your doctor to get the right advice and treatment needed for your situation.

Till next week, happy days (and healthy bodies)!

*Disclaimer: Links with* are affiliate links. Meaning that, at no additional cost to you, if you purchase through one of these links, you are supporting me to get a small commission from this sale.

Passive Income: How To Make Money With Airbnb

In this post, I answer 7 questions that cover everything you need to know to start making money with Airbnb.

Previously, in the Passive Income: 4 Real Estate Investing Options post, I wrote about some of the many ways one can invest in real estate. And one of the methods mentioned there was buying a property and putting it up for rent.

Renting a property gives you a steady passive income source. However, some of the downsides to this was 1. you may end up with tenants who don’t pay and 2. the amount of money involved to actually buy a property.

But what if you can rent a spare room in the house you already live in and with a guaranteed payment?

Recently, I came across an ad for Airbnb, and I didn’t actually know much about the service other than that it’s one that provides houses for tourists and such.

I also didn’t know that the service was available in Egypt, which it is!


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1. What is Airbnb?

This is an American company that facilitates tourists’ stay in a country by providing them with an online service to rent apartments, rooms, and hostel beds, etc, for the short period of their stay.

The apartments and rooms available for rent is provided by the locals of that country. They put their available properties up for rent on the Airbnb website, and they get contacted once a tourist is interested in renting their place.

The website provides customizable search options for the guest to find the exact type of property with all the amenities they need. And it gives the host the option to set house rules for the guests to know and agree on before booking.

What you can provide as a host:

1. Place

You can list any kind of property. It can be a shared room, a private room, or an entire house.

The place needs to be clean, secure, and have essential amenities like a pillow and a towel for each guest. You can read more about the basic requirements for hosting here.

2. Experience

Airbnb Experiences are activities designed by locals. They go beyond typical tours or classes by immersing guests in a special kind of activity that they wouldn’t be able to experience on their own.

It’s an opportunity for anyone to share their hobbies, skills, or expertise without needing an extra room. Read more about experience hosting here.

2. Why do tourists use Airbnb instead of hotels?

For the tourists who are looking to spend a short time in your country, most of them want to get the most out of their stay with the least amount of money possible. Airbnb provides them with this option when they put properties or rooms for rent at quite low prices compared to any hotel room in that same area.

It also gives the tourist the ability to live like locals in the country which maximizes their experience.

Besides, many Airbnb hosts provide their guests with more than just a stay, but they help them make the most out of their stay by advising them of places to visit that only a local in that area would know.

That is of course beside the ability to actually book an experience; something that you can only have when touring with a local.

People don’t use Airbnb overtly to trust people more. They use it because they want to get a better sense of the culture and to save money. A by-product was that they live in someone else’s shoes.

Brian Chesky

3. How is Airbnb different from traditional renting?

There are huge advantages to renting through Airbnb instead of the traditional renting, but there can also be some disadvantages.

Advantages:

Guaranteed Payment

As opposed to renting your house the traditional way where you can face an issue like a non-paying tenant, when you rent through Airbnb, you will never have to deal with this kind of hassle because they handle all payments for you. And the guest makes the full payment through the website in advance.

Host Guarantee

Airbnb have insurance programs which secures you and your house in the rare case of any incident occurring that causes damage or injury.

Whenever a guest makes a reservation and stays at your place, you’re automatically covered by their Host Guarantee. You can read more about the terms and conditions of benefiting from this here.

Home Insurance

Host Protection Insurance program provides primary liability coverage of up to $1 million USD per occurrence. The program protects against liability claims that happen in a listing, or on an Airbnb property, during a stay.

You can read more about what is covered by this program here.

Experience Insurance

Experience protection insurance provides experience hosts with free liability insurance of up to $1 million USD to protect against personal injury or property damage claims.

You can read more about what is covered by this insurance here.

Disadvantages

Not a stable source of income

Unlike renting a house to a resident who is going to live there for at least a year and possibly more, renting to tourists will not provide you with that monthly stable income.

Some people can have guests booking their place every month but that is not necessarily the case with every host.

How often you would get a booking would mostly depend on the location of your place (how close it is from sightseeing areas that tourists would be interested in) and how appealing it is (the reviews you get).

Possible damage

There is still the possibility that you might encounter damage that is not covered by the Airbnb Insurance.

4. Is Airbnb safe?

This was an obvious concern when I first learned about the service. If you have a spare room that you want to put up for rent, is it really safe for you to invite complete strangers into your house? Or if you are the one looking for a place to stay, would you feel safe staying with a complete stranger in a foreign country?

“On any given night, 2 million people stay in homes on Airbnb in 81,000 cities all over the world. There are nearly 5 million listings in 191 countries to choose from —that’s more than the top five hotel chains combined.”

So how did this service actually manage to get so popular and have millions of users around the world, whether hosts or tourists? How do all these people trust this kind of service and feel safe using it?

Here are some of the measures taken to provide safety for the host:

They run hosts and guests against regulatory, terrorist, and sanctions watchlists. And for hosts and guests in the United States, they also conduct background checks.

Every guest is asked to provide their full name, date of birth, photo, phone number, email address, and payment information to Airbnb before booking. Home hosts also have the option to require guests to provide Airbnb with a government ID before booking their listing.

Reading reviews from previous bookings from that guest and what other hosts had to say about their stay with them can also be helpful. These reviews can only be added after the reservation is complete; so they are based on actual experience.

Every Airbnb reservation is scored for risk before it’s confirmed. They use predictive analytics and machine learning to instantly evaluate hundreds of signals that help flag and investigate suspicious activity before it happens.

And their customer service is available 24/7 in 11 languages.

You can read more about the Airbnb terms of safety and protection for both hosts and guests here.

Airbnb has proven that hospitality, generosity, and the simple act of trust between strangers can go a long way.

Joe Gebbia

5. Is Airbnb legal?

The service is legal to use in Egypt, so far. However, Airbnb services has been banned by a number of cities and countries due to housing and rental shortage and pricing issues.

So you will need to check whether or not it is legal to use this service in your city before you list your property for rental.

6. How do you become an Airbnb host?

All you need to do is visit their website to sign up and list your property for free.

When listing your property you will be asked to specify all the available amenities and facilities provided, and of course the exact address of the property.

You will then need to provide photos of the place and a short description for the guest to know what to expect.

After that you will have the option to set the price you want, the timing and duration this place is available for rent, any requirements you look for in the guests you will host, and any house rules you want them to follow during their stay.

You are also asked to provide your personal details, such as your full name, your phone number and your ID for verification.

There is a very good article I read by someone who has been an Airbnb host for a few years, advising on how to be a great host, you can read it here.

7. How do you get paid with Airbnb?

First, Airbnb takes a commission fee of 3% from the payment you receive as the host (and between 6%-12% from the guest booking).

As mentioned earlier, guests make the full payment for their stay through the Airbnb website in advance. This payment is held for 24 hours after their check-in, which is the time the guest has to report to the company if there’s anything wrong with the booking or if they couldn’t reach you, the host, in which case the money will be refunded to the guest.

However, in the normal case where you are there for the guest or provided the key for them, following whatever scenario you’ve both agreed on beforehand, you will have your money transferred to you after the 24 hours.

There are several payment options provided. You can have the payment sent to your Paypal or Payoneer accounts, or you can have it directly deposited into your bank account, or it can be mailed to you as a check. The time of the transfer will vary based on the method you choose.

Conclusion

This is a service that can certainly make a difference to your income with little to no effort on your part. It can also be fun for you, if you like to meet new people from different countries and make connections.

And while using this service can come with a potential risk, especially if you will be sharing the place you live in; however, you still have control over the guests you accept and you can ask for all the information you need about them before confirming their booking.

It will be less risky if you will rent a spare property, as long as you make sure you keep any personal or valuable belongings in a safe place (preferably not in the same house).

For me, I think this can be a really good source to increase my income and I do love meeting people of different nationalities. So I plan on trying this myself soon and will be sharing my experience in a later post once I have had my first guest.

Till next week, happy days!