Pinterest 101

So, as if you haven’t noticed, many of my projects and posts lately have been based on ideas and photos I found on Pinterest. Several friends have asked about it: what is it, how to use it, etc. Even though I consider myself to be pretty tech-savvy, Pinterest was a little overwhelming to me too, at first! So I decided to put together a quick little tutorial on both the basics of Pinterest and some fun ways to explore.

What is Pinterest?

From the Pinterest site: “Pinterest is a virtual pinboard. Pinterest allows you to organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web. You can browse pinboards created by other people to discover new things and get inspiration from people who share your interests.” Basically, Pinterest is a visual bookmarking system. Each image on Pinterest has a short description (provided by the person who pinned it) and links back to its original source.

How do I pin?

As of right now, you need an invite to join Pinterest (any user can send an invite, if you want one, leave a comment with your email and I’ll send you one). The Pinterest site will direct you through the process of installing a “Pin It” button on your bookmarks toolbar. Now, browse around the internet as usual and when you find an image or link you’d like to save, click your “Pin It” button! You will now see a window with all of the large images on that page. Click the one you want to save, pick the board you want to pin it to from the drop down menu, and add a description. Done!

You can also pin from within the Pinterest site. When you see something pinned by another user that you want to save to one of your boards, click the Repin button. You can change the description and pin it on your own board.

What should I pin?

Anything you want! You can pin any image on almost any site (as long as it’s not flash-based). You can organize your pins onto separate pinboards by any theme you want. Some popular topics for pinboards are fashion, crafts, recipes, and decor. You can create as many boards as you want and add more as you please.

How do I follow other users or boards?

If you see some really great pins happening, you have two choices: you can follow that board or follow that user to see all the boards that user creates. Click on a user’s name to view their profile, and click either “Follow All” under the user’s picture, or “Follow” under the individual boards you wish to follow. Whenever a new pin is added, you will see it on you homepage, which is kind of like a “news feed” of all your friends’ recent pinning activity.

How to I browse others’ pins or find new people to follow?

This is the fun part! You can start on your homepage to see all the recent pins from the people and boards you follow. If you’re new to Pinterest, though, you won’t see very much here. You can see popular pins by clicking on “Discussions” or recent pins by clicking on “Everything.” These are both great ways to discover new people and boards to follow.

You can also try clicking on people who have pinned your favorite pins. Or check out the boards images from your favorite websites have been pinned on.

Other things to keep in mind…

Always try to pin from an image’s permalink (or permanent link). This is especially important when pinning from blogs or Tumblrs. On most blogs, you can get to the permalink by clicking on the title of the post. This is important because if someone is trying to follow your pin’s link back to its original source and the blog has been updated since you first pinned it, they won’t be able to see the image or post your pin came from. Also, if you found an image through a Google image search, click through to the website before pinning.

How do I see if my blog or website has been pinned?

Each pin has a link on the bottom left that reads “More from…” With a little change to that url, you can check the images that have been pinned from any website or blog.

(Be sure to leave off “http://www.”) This only works if your blog or site has its own root on which all of your images are stored. So, for example, it’s not possible to see which images have been pinned from a specific Etsy shop, since Etsy hosts all uploaded images in the same place.

Keep Pinterest etiquette in mind

Besides being generally kind to other users and doing your best to properly credit your sources, Pinterest also reminds you to avoid self-promotion. Pinterest says, “Pinterest is designed to curate and share things you love. If there is a photo or project you’re proud of, pin away! However, try not to use Pinterest purely as a tool for self-promotion.”

Hopefully these guidelines will help you to better navigate Pinterest! You can also check out the Pinterest help page. Please leave me a comment with your email if you would like a Pinterest invite, and let me know if you have any more questions about Pinterest!

If you found this post helpful, you can Pin It

What are your favorite ways to use Pinterest?

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13 Responses to Pinterest 101

  1. Lori says:

    Thanks for the help! I started and kind of got stuck.

  2. franjessica says:

    Kir, This is such a helpful post- I feel like you wrote it just for me! Now I know how to use it but alas, it still scares me because I know it will become a time consuming, sleep reducing activity… much like my facebook stalking became sophomore year when you had to sign me in and out! πŸ™‚

  3. nandini says:

    this is just what i was looking for! ive heard so much about pinterest and wanted to start figuring it out! would you please send me an invite?

  4. Anthea says:

    I’ve seen some of my FB friends active with pinterest. Your post is so informative ! Thanks. Please can you send me an invite πŸ™‚

  5. Jeni says:

    I want to be invited please ❀

  6. cynde says:

    I would love an invite! I have been trying for some time now!

    Thank you

  7. Carlene says:

    So glad I found your blog! PLEASE send me an invite me to join Pinterest. It would really make my day! Thank you!!! πŸ™‚

  8. Emily B says:

    Thank you for posting about this! As I said on Twitter, I’m new and really overwhelmed. This was so helpful!!

  9. Pingback: Pinterest + Christmas = SO MUCH FUN | A Leap Begins

  10. alicia says:

    Great info, thansk!

  11. Mary Townsend says:

    Thank you so much for the Pinterest 101! I would like to join. Can you please send me an invitation to:

    Thank you so much!

  12. rorywearabouts says:

    Please send me an invite! I just browsed all of your Primp My Blog features and I must say you sure are an expert! I read about you on IFB’s 50 Online Tools article. You know your stuff and you make it look gooood! πŸ™‚
    please send me an invite to

  13. Pingback: Primp My Blog: How to Add a Pin It Button to a Blog | her new leaf


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