My Favorite Pinterest Tips

Updated January 20, 2017

Pinterest is big deal. If you’ve spent any time on there, you understand the draw. It’s the most gigantic image candy store you can imagine. In this post, I’ll briefly cover the basics and then share tips for driving traffic to your site and more.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I’ll earn a commission, at no additional cost to you. Read my full disclosure here.

What is Pinterest?

It’s a place to save and organize images and videos you love from around the web. In Pinterest terms, these items, like visual bookmarks, are called pins. Your pins (think, pinning things to a virtual bulletin board) are visible to other Pinterest users and you can see the boards of others as well.

How does Pinterest work?

Here’s the basic process:

  1. Surf the internet.
  2. See an image / video you like.
  3. Pin that image / video to one of your Pinterest boards to keep track of it and to share it with others.

How do I get on Pinterest?

Go to Pinterest.com to sign up.

Use the Pinterest browser button

Simply add the button to the browser of your choice. Once it’s installed, whenever you come across something great to pin on the web, simply click the “Pin it” icon in your browser to quickly save an image and the accompanying web address on one of your Pinterest boards.

How do you add a pin on Pinterest?

If you’re not using the browser button (above) or repinning directly on Pinterest (below), go to Pinterest and click the + sign to the left of your profile picture in the top right corner. From there you can upload your own image.

Repin right on Pinterest

As you use Pinterest, you’ll see pins added by others you might want to add to your own boards. Look for the Pin it button by hovering or on the pin’s main page. Edit the description and choose the board you want to pin it to.

How to create a new board on Pinterest

Hover over your profile picture and select My Profile. Make sure the Boards tab is selected and click the red + icon to create a new board.

How do you move a pin on Pinterest?

Hover over any pin and click the pencil icon to edit. A popup will appear. Choose a new board by selecting it from the dropdown menu or click the Delete button.

Use keywords in your descriptions

A lot of people leave inane descriptions (“Cute!”) on their pins. I’m guilty too. However, keyword-rich descriptions will help get pins and boards found more easily via search. Great for all of us!

Write your own summary description

Don’t copy and paste the whole post, the whole recipe or all the instructions from the original post directly in your pin. Not only does it clutter the images with unnecessary text, it’s not good Pinterest manners. Plus, posts are copyrighted so pasting them in their entirety is copyright infringement.

When you pin something to one of your boards, write your own description or use the description many site owners bake into their images.

Edit your pins

If you need to edit a pin, while logged into your account, hover over your pin and click the “Edit” button.

If you need to find the pin first, hover over your picture in the top right of your screen, click on the “My Profile” link in the dropdown menu and then “Pins” at the top of the page. This will show you all your pins listed by the most recent. If it’s an older pin, click on the “Boards” link and you can find your pin by topic.

Pin from the individual post, not the home page

When you’re pinning from a website, make sure you are pinning from the individual post on a site, not the site’s homepage. (To get to the individual post, click on the post title. If you can see comments at the bottom, it’s a sign you’re on the individual post.)

There’s nothing more frustrating than clicking through a pin, only to realize the post with that image has long been pushed off the home page.

Take the extra time to see if a pin is a good one

Have you ever clicked through a pin only to discover it leads nowhere or to a place totally unrelated? Frustrating, isn’t it? So, before you repin, make sure you check it out first. We gotta work together to weed out the dud pins.

Add a price tag to a pin

You can do this easily by adding a “$” or a “£” in your description. This works well, let’s say, if you are pinning from an Etsy shop or something similar.

Space out your pins

Before Pinterest introduced the smart feed, pinning a lot of things at once would often overwhelm followers. For example, if you were researching black shoes and spent an hour pinning a gazillion pairs of black shoes to your “Rockin’ Black Shoes” board, anyone who followed you would see a sea of black shoes in their stream.

These days, this doesn’t happen quite the same since the smart feed uses an algorithm to determine which pins to show to whom and when. Still, Pinterest says it’s better to pin consistently every day over months than it is to pin in bunches.

Set a timer

If you find yourself squandering your time on Pinterest, why not set a timer? Allow yourself a set number of minutes to browse and when the timer dings, you’re off to something else.

Organize your boards well

If your boards are clean, organized and categorized you’ll get more followers than if everything is hodge podge and with no rhyme or reason to your pinning. Vague board titles aren’t so helpful either.

Use secret boards

You can use secret boards as a holding place or when you want to save images for a project or on a topic you don’t want the whole world to see.

Follow individual boards to cut out the noise

One of the nice things about Pinterest is the ability to follow individual boards. You don’t have to follow a person and therefore, all of their boards (although you can do that too). To subscribe to individual boards, simply click the name of any Pinterest user and you’ll see the tab for their boards. If you follow the person, you’ll follow all their boards. Otherwise, just pick and choose the boards you want.

Find people and boards to follow by reverse rabbit trailing

That is, when you see a pin (or board) you like, click on the person who pinned it. Or click on the original source. I’ve found a lot of good boards to follow that way.

Categorize your boards

This will make your pins more easily found and will potentially result in more people following you. When you create a new board, or edit one, you’ll see the option to choose a category for that board.

Personalize a board for your kids

You might consider making a board especially for your kids so when you’re out and about and you need to kill some time, they can look at the things you’ve found especially for them. Supervise of course.

Use Pinterest to drive traffic

If you don’t yet have your own little space online (like a blog or website), I highly encourage you to get one. Everyone. Why? Because as things become more and more digital, this will be one of the primary ways we connect. Think of it as one place you can call “home” online from which you can organize and centralize all your other online activities.

How does Pinterest benefit us? Assuming people use it as it’s intended, your images can be pinned and anyone who clicks on them will be taken to your site.

Use Pinterest to build your list

You have a landing page for your email list right? (Here’s mine for the Useletter®.) Create a Pinterest image for that page and pin it, with a link to your landing page.

Related: Email Marketing 101: A Beginner’s Guide to Building an Email List

Get a business account

If you make money on your site, or hope to, get a Pinterest Business account. It’s free & will give you access to analytics and more. Here’s how to do it.

Claim your website

This puts your picture of you on any pin from your site. It’s good for branding and recognition. Here’s how to do it.

Enable rich pins

When rich pins are enabled, your pins get extra bells and whistles. Here’s how to do it.

Pin your own stuff

Just like other social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, Pinterest is a great place to promote your own stuff. Having said that…

Don’t only pin your own stuff

Pin your own stuff, yes, but pin others’ stuff too. I think this spreads good will and it builds community.

Pin affiliate links

A long time ago Pinterest allowed us to pin affiliate links. Then they didn’t allow us. As of May 2016, they allow us again. Don’t be spammy about it, but don’t be shy either.

Related: Affiliate Marketing: The Ultimate (Free) Guide

Join or start group boards

Group boards these days don’t have nearly the power they used to but you can create a board and allow contributors to pin to it as well. To do so, edit your board and invite collaborators. You can also join others’ boards. Always follow group board rules. Contact the first person listed on a board to join.

Create a board for your own stuff

A “Best of {Your Site}” board is common so people can get an idea of your content in one spot. I recommend you put this board at the top of your profile.

Include your Pinterest follower counts in your media kit and business cards

Just as you would include your Facebook and Twitter follower numbers, your Pinterest numbers provide PR and advertising folks another glance at the influence you have.

Related: How to Create a Media Kit.

Use Pinterest for topics that don’t fit into your blog niche

After blogging a while, a lot of bloggers want to branch out from their main niche. If you are someone with varying tastes, encourage your readers to follow a particular board on Pinterest for “more on that subject” if you are concerned that it doesn’t fit within the scope of your blog.

Find out what of yours has been pinned

Type this into your browser, replacing “yourdomain.com” of course: http://pinterest.com/source/yourdomain.com

Create keyword-rich board titles and board descriptions

Just as you should make your pin descriptions full of relevant keywords for better searching, do the same for your board titles and descriptions (instead of vague or cutesy). To edit your boards, simply click on your name in the top right, choose the “Boards” tab and click the pencil icon (“Edit”) on the board you want to change.

Related: What is SEO?

Include your website address in your Profile

Click on your picture in the top right corner and select “Settings” from the dropdown menu. Scroll down to the Profile section (or click on “Profile” in the left column). Add your website URL in the space provided.

Use images in your posts

Pinterest is all about images. Your posts are much more likely to get pinned if there are images in them. Obvious, right? Tall and narrow images have historically done the best on Pinterest, but square works too.

The perfect size has changed over the years. For a while, super tall images were popular, but now Pinterest will truncate (cut off) too-long images. Currently Pinterest recommends using a 2:3 vertical aspect ratio, like 600 x 900 pixels.

Related: Tips for Using Images on Your Website

Go back through your posts and add or improve images

Now’s the time to go back through your old posts and add images if there aren’t any already, or upgrade if they could use improvement.

Use text in your images

Tools like Canva make this easy to do when you use their Pinterest template.

Be particular about your images

If you’re like me and don’t do the image thing very well, less is more. Some bloggers can include a dozen images in a post and they are spectacular. If I did that, I’d spend about 20 days writing one post. For the rest of us, take the extra time to find really excellent images.

Link your Pinterest account to Facebook and Twitter

You can do this in Settings.

Use Pinterest to get your creative juices flowing

If you need some post ideas, do a search on Pinterest with relevant key words from your niche. Note which pins have a lot of repins and/or comments. These are hot topics. Find your own unique angle and write on the topics people are already interested in.

Capitalize on the seasons

If there’s one thing people pin, it’s seasonal stuff like recipes, crafts, decorating ideas, gift ideas, etc. Use an editorial calendar to plan ahead. Write blog posts that coincide with the seasons. Post them early (like 45 days ahead) so they can be pinned and get a little traction before the holiday passes.

Also, move your seasonal boards to the top of your profile as the season approaches.

Make your site sticky!

If you notice a lot of traffic coming to a particular post from Pinterest, think of ways to optimize that post for Pinterest users. Find ways to make it better and more importantly, get them to stay on your site a while. I wrote some tips for this in my post 10 Easy Ways to Improve Your Exit Pages.

For example, if they’re coming from Pinterest to your Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie recipe, add links to your Chocolate Peanut Butter ice cream and Chocolate Peanut Butter Squares too.

Ask for followers

Blatantly ask others to follow you on Pinterest. You can use the widgets Pinterest provides to create a button to put in your sidebar, like this:

Ask for followers in your posts

You can also ask for followers directly in your posts. Simply link to your Pinterest page with the following code, replacing my profile name with yours:
<a href=”http://pinterest.com/amylynnandrews/”>Follow me on Pinterest!</a>

Pin a coupon for your product

Got an ebook or other product? Why not pin a coupon, exclusively for Pinterest users?

Use Pinterest to connect with brands

You’d better believe companies are taking notice of Pinterest. Of course, we, the little people, have an advantage. That advantage? We’re small enough so we can dive in and get our hands dirty quick. Big companies, on the other hand are sometimes a little slower to the punch. What about approaching a large company you don’t see on there, let them know of the rage that Pinterest is and suggest ideas for the two of you to work together? Be respectful of course, but lead them by the hand and make suggestions from which you can both benefit.

Create a “Reader Feature” board

Create a board just for your favorite readers. Or if you’ve done a tutorial, create a board where you highlight those who have used your tutorial and pin what they’ve created. Spread the love!

Connect with others

Don’t think of Pinterest just as a fun place to whittle away your days and get lost in your own world. Comment and follow and interact just as you would Facebook or Twitter. This is part of networking too!

Get creative

I think we’re going to start seeing all kinds of creative ways people market their blogs and products via Pinterest. Brainstorm. What kind of fun things can you do with Pinterest? If your house is for sale, direct people to your Pinterest board showcasing it? Hold a contest (read the Terms first of course)? Create a scavenger hunt? Word scrambles? A board in lieu of a blogroll?

*There are affiliate links in this post.