Pinterest Tips for the Serious User

It’s no secret that I am a pretty serious Pinterest user.  I was an early adopter and have been on the site for about a year.

Or maybe over a year.

Who can remember 1,833 pins and 72 boards ago?

Despite all the controversy around ownership, I continue to use it because frankly, I’m addicted.

Pinterest has grown quickly and has become pretty main stream.  Even my son’s preschool teacher asked if I got my teacher gift idea off Pinterest.  I didn’t, but don’t think I didn’t pin it there.

But many people are casual pinners and I don’t fault them for not wasting hours of their lives living in pretty land.

Of course, they’re missing out on those homemade cupcake liners, but that’s their loss, my pin.

::Adds to Cupcake Board::

Some people are more serious users.  I love to find fellow addicts to follow.    As I look over profiles, I find some of the same “mistakes” being made over and over.

So let’s get your Pinterest shined up, Martha style.

The Profile

-For the love of social media, please have your Facebook page, twitter, and website linked to your profile page.  Your Pinterest boards may not be enough for me.  I want full coverage.   You don’t know how often I come across a page and I know that person has a blog and it’s not linked up to their profile.  **update since first posted> also verify your site on Pinterest as well.  There are instructions on how to do this through pinterest and it’s supposed to increase your searchability.


-Have an avatar that is the same as one of your other social media outlets.  A lot of people have their Pinterest names as their actual names.  For the most part?  I have no idea who you people are. My Pinterest avatar is the same as my twitter.

-Put a short bio up.  It’s really your only chance to write about yourself. If I changed mine I might say “The Martha Stewart editors follow my boards so you should too.”    Or “You can’t handle my pins”

The Boards

This part is going to kill me because I actually have to mess up my boards to show my point.   Or find my example in someone else’s boards which won’t be hard because they’re “wrong” everywhere.

When you’re looking at your profile all your boards are presented with a board “cover.”  This is sort of like the front cover of a book.  And a lot of people have ugly covers going on.  It drives me nuts.   I will NOT follow someone if their covers are just a mess.

See that?  That is what I see more often than not.   Even with way more popular pinners than me.

You can use any image in that board to create the cover.  Pick the most visually appealing one for the cover.  When you “set to cover” it allows you some movement of that image.  Make sure you get the MOST flattering angle for that image on the cover.  It may be the best idea in that board but not the best image.  You are trying to “sell” that book on its cover.  Choose wisely.

This is the same set of boards as above but with other images selected as the cover and “set.




If you start a new board?  You will need to set a cover.  If you don’t, whatever you pinned last will be the default cover and it’s usually not centered or adjusted to that frame making for a book that won’t sell.










Board Overload

I can’t tell you how many times I see a user with the following board’s titles:





And each of those boards has 245 pins in it.In my opinion this is defeating the purpose of Pinterest.  When I want to find that one French toast item, I don’t want to scroll through salads, appetizers and cupcakes to find it.I think a good rule of thumb is that once you have 100 pins in a board and have at least 10 pins in there of the same topic, break them out to their own board.

 I have 10 different food related boards.

Board Order

When you start a new board, Pinterest automatically puts it at the bottom of all your boards.   I like my boards to flow together.  To tell a story.

When you go to break out a set of pins, that board gets placed at the bottom of all your boards.  It really should just be next to the board you just broke them out from.

This is an example of a messed up board order.

(which I had to do to my boards and almost hyperventilated doing it)

I have a hard time “reading” your boards when they are not in an order that makes sense.




These are my boards placed an order that I think works.



Until recently, I had the 4th of July board as the first board.  I usually reserve the first board positions for current events.  That could be a holiday, or as in my case now, I have seasonal (summer, gardening) boards in the first row.  Once a holiday is about a month out, I will take those related boards and place them in the first row positions and take the boards that were in 1st position and place them back into their order on the boards page.

I know you just read that and thought “You are officially nuts”

Yes ma’am and can I have another.


-Please make sure that whatever you pin or repin goes back to the original source.  It’s just decent internet usage.

-Please check pin for spam.  I’ve clicked a “Tuscan sandwich” pin to the source only to find it connects to a site that claims “Your cellulite can be gone by eating these ice cream sandwiches”

-Don’t pin the ugly.  I have seen the greatest ideas or delicious foods that just have terrible images.  It hurts a little but I won’t pin it.  I have high pin standards.  If I really want to pin a less desirable image, I wait until late at night when no one is looking.

-Don’t put the instructions of whatever the pin is in the comments.  That’s just annoying.

-Don’t  facebook and tweet every pin.  It becomes spam in peoples feeds.  When it’s extra fantastic, please share those.

I hope you learned something.  If not?  Leave me your Pinterest link because your boards are worth following.


Pinterest posts I’ve written


Update: My tips must have worked because this happened. 

86 thoughts on “Pinterest Tips for the Serious User

  1. Alright, alright, I’ll fix my boards, but that whole cover thing was thrust upon me, like timeline in facebook, it’s a lot of pressure!!

  2. I just caved (I’ve been trying to hold out at the hope of saving my own life) and joined Pinterest. I’m using this post as my guide. I’ve been at it for hours. I KNEW THIS WOULD BE THE END OF ME.

    Thanks for the tips. :)

  3. Pingback: On Pinterest, BlogHer and Knowing What's OK to Pin | Alexandra Wrote

  4. Thanks, grat tips. I am having trouble rearranging boards and also repinning to the correct boards. Are these things possible on an ipad?

  5. I have never once opened my pinterest on a computer. Everything is pinned through iPhone. I don’t think some of this can even be done on mobile versions.

  6. Pingback: Pinterest, you betrayed me | Banana Wheels

  7. OMG! Like I don't already think of enough stuff on my own to be OCD about!!! Now look what you've done!!! I did have to create a board called "I did it! Pins I've Actually Done!" so I would get busy and get some stuff done instead of just pinning!

  8. OMFG. See, I wanted to "woo-hoo, uh-oh, crazy overload!" But I couldn't because I know if I was totally invested in Pinterest I would be the same way. It would need to be "just so" and anybody else doing it differently was just doing it WRONG. I started on Pinterest a while back and but when I started to get all these notifications of people from high school, people from work, people I couldn't care less about, following my boards then I sorta got less interested in using Pinterest. I can't even remember last time I logged in and I certainly didn't know I could customize so much shit on the boards. So I'll promise you this – if I ever recommit to Pinterest I will come back here and use your advice to get things cleaned up!
    My recent post On Doing My Best

    • Just followed your boards. The Pinterest sidebar thing is called "Pinterest Pinboard Widget" Thanks for reading!

  9. Ok, so I just made all my board covers pretty. Good tips, Pinterest is really for me, I am not networking/promoting myself but I think it will benefit those who follow me.

  10. Jen, this is GREAT! Thank you! I'm just getting into a more serious relationship with Pinterest, and I love having your experiences to guide me as I go. I agree about board covers, too. And, girl, you and Pinterest are like soul-love involved. Whoa. ;-)

  11. YOU CHANGED MY PINTEREST LIFE! I've been half assing it b/c I didn't totally get it and I haven't taken the time to learn. This was SO helpful. I fixed up my boards, set covers, re-ordered, create some new ones and now I'm so excited to pin – for real pin. Thank you!!!
    My recent post Babies come from magic beans

  12. And I officially have an item for my to do list for tomorrow. I promise to do better, with my right hand solemnly held up. Because Shhhhhhh! I only joined Pinterest this week. :)

    • Then it's sort of perfect that you're not 2K pins in and need to rework stuff. You can do these things from the get go. Also? HOW were you a hold out for so long?

  13. now see, I don't get like that but notice many do. I am a highly project motivated person anyways. I've done A LOT of my pins. Even if I don't do them, I love to look at prettyland.

  14. Yes. Yes. A thousand times YES. Gotta say, I'm not OCD enough to have the current season up top, but I give you props for that.

    And also? It makes me nuts when people just re-pin obvious bullshit without making sure it's true by clicking through. "Printable" things that are actually copyrighted content. "Miracle" masks that are anything but. Or worse yet, "round ups" that are driving traffic to a source other than the original.
    My recent post Bucket List.

  15. All very good points. Some of these I already do and some I am starting to do. I do wish I had thought of all these points before I hit 1800 pins. Now I am in the (very SLOW process) of checking that my pins all go where they are supposed to. And that my descriptions on the pins themselves make sense and are searchable. This is a ton of work when you have as many pins as I do! I like the idea of putting holiday boards in the first place when applicable to the season. Hadn't thought of that and it is such a great idea! So, thanks :)
    My recent post Always Dreaming

  16. “…and please can I have another.” LOLs. Yours is the kind of crazy I can totally relate to. So far I have resisted pinterest except to occasionally look at other people’s stuff. I am really really afraid to start my own because that’s a rabbit hole I could very well never find my way out of.

  17. I get frustrated cleaning up my board because I can't move a group of pins at a time, so if I want to subcategorize something I hadn't originally thought would be so voluminous, I have to essentially move them all, one by one, and after you've moved it you are sent back to the pin's NEW board, so you have to back track again. Not such a big deal if you're doing 2 or 3 pins, but if you want to move 20, it gets old…fast. I know they've updated since I've been on there regularly (oh sweet jaysus someone go back to school so mama can pin!) and I really hope that is something they've changed.

  18. I knew I loved you. while my boards are not in a "flow" that I like (I honestly didn't know I could move them around), I DO have an obsession with the covers. WHY do people leave stupid ish as their covers of their boards???
    My recent post my hearts

  19. About a month ago I went and cleaned up my food boards and put them into categories. Now you are making me want to go in and check the "prettiness" of my boards. But I do need to go in and clean up some more so thanks for the kick in a arse.

  20. I somehow did not have my profile linked to my blog or social networking sites, thanks for the reminder! :) Now, I might spend my hour wait in the airport resetting my board covers and breaking up the big ones, oy!

  21. Love this, what great suggestions! I had to laugh about you hyperventilating… you put to words what I was trying to grasp when I looked at my boards.

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