Everything You Need to Know About Pinterest: A Walk-Through for Beginners & Advanced Users

This post will cover everything (maybe not quite everything...) you need to know about Pinterest; beginning with the most basic tips and information and gradually building to more advanced tutorials. I have included information, tips, tutorials, resources & templates to help get you on your way to becoming a Pinterest Prince or Princess!

Depending on your level of knowledge, you can choose to click on each step in the process or skip to specific tutorials and information. Either way, this will be a great post that you will want to bookmark and keep as a reference.

What You Will Learn

1. What is Pinterest?
2. How Pinterest Works
3. Pinterest Interface: Up Close & Personal
4. Creating a Pinterest Account
5. What You Should Know Beofre You Pin (Copyright)
6. Content & Organization
7. Add Custom Covers to Pinterest Boards (Includes a FREE template to grab)
8. Pinterest Etiquette: 3 Helpful Links
9. Collaborative Pinterest Boards
10. Pin/Repin vs Like
11. Tools For Pinterest
12. Pinterest for Your Blog (Grab a Free set of Icons)

1. What is Pinterest?
Pinterest is one of the fastest growing social networking sites today! Unlike social media networks that focus on personal sharing, like Facebook and Twitter, Pinterest focuses on collecting and organizing various things you find on the web. Pinterest is an online portfolio, a visual resource for links you find and save, a business marketing tool, a way to connect, a way to find new resources, and a way to keep track of things you post online.

Pinterest is not a person and it is not a reference to site (but I will talk more about that later).
Here is a fun infographic with a visual overview of Pinterest below.
Why you should be interested in Pinterest A great infographic for beginners
Image Source

2. How Pinterest Works
I am very particular when it comes to organizing my files and saving data, so I tend to think of Pinterest as an online hard drive for keeping track of online resources and useful websites. Most users think of Pinterest as an online cork board where you can virtually “pin” a collection of online data. Those visual pins are categorized by digital “boards” that you create and label according to your personal preferences.

Because Pinterest allows the user to create specific boards, there is no need to have a separate Pinterest account for my personal links and business links. This saves me a lot of time and anything that I do not wish to share, I pin to a “secret” board (which I will discuss later in this post). 

3. Pinterest Interface:Up Close & Personal
Below is a preview of my Pinterest account page with labeled parts for you to explore.
 Familiarize yourself with the Pinterest interface by clicking HERE  .
This is a preview of some of the pins on my Digital Clip Art Board...

4. Creating a Pinterest Account
GCF has a great tutorial on Creating a Pinterest Account

This tutorial will give you instructions on how to set up the very basics of your Pinterest account and how to get started. Use the link above to set up your account, complete your profile, bookmark a Pin-it button, create a Pin board and add a pin.

5. What You Should Know Before You Pin (Copyright)
Just like anything else you find on the web, the images pinned to Pinterest boards almost always are copyright protected and you must have permission to pin things you find on the web. If a site includes a button to pin an image from their site then you are most likely covered. If not, you will need to look for a "Permission to Pin" button somewhere on the site. Do not pin something from a site unless you are certain you have permission to do so. Read through the Pinterest Copyright Policy thoroughly to make sure that you do not find yourself in the midst of a legal battle. It is also a good idea to familiarize yourself with the Pinterest Terms of Service as well.

Here are some online links you might want to check out before creating a Pinterest account. If you already have an account, this information might come as a shock if you have not read these yet..

 Avoiding Copyright Pitfalls on Pinterest

How your business could get sued for using Pinterest

A Word of Caution for Pinterest Users

Read about an artist who had to deal with copyright issues when images were being pinned from her site without permission

6. Content & Organization
The way you choose to organize your boards really depends on what you want to use Pinterest for and who your target audience will be. I use my Pinterest account for both personal and business uses and I organize my boards as such. Organize your boards well. If your boards are clean and organized, you'll get more followers.

Here are some sure ways to make sure your content is reliable, useful, and organized to catch the right attention.

Verify the Source!!

When pinning your own content or choosing to repin content you find, ALWAYS make sure that the source link is good. One of my biggest pet-peeves is when I find a great pin, but the image does not link to a source. I never pin anything without checking the link first and I always make sure my own links are working properly. If you have pin with an out of date or non-working source link, you can update the source link by hovering over the pin and clicking on the edit icon in the top right hand corner of the image. Paste the updated source link in the space provided and click to save the pin. If you can not find the source link for something that you pinned, it is better to delete the pin entirely. Another good reason to check the source links before you pin is to prevent spam on your boards.

Add a price tag to a pin. You can do this easily by adding a "$" followed by the number amount  in your description.

Feature Your Best Content
Eyes On Pinterest: How People Look at Your Boards 
An eye tracking study conducted for Mashable shows that the boards you place at the top and center of the page get seen by the greatest number of viewers. After reading this study, I organized my boards so that the boards I want featured are placed at the top and center of my Pinterest Page.

Click, drag & drop your boards to move and position them on your Pinterest page. Watch the quick video tutorial below, How to Rearrange Pinterest Boards by Andrew Macarthy (author of 500 Social Media Marketing Tips on Amazon).

7. Add Custom Covers to Pinterest Boards
To add a custom cover to a Pinterest board, simply hover over the board and click on the "change cover" button. This option will allow you to scroll through your pins and choose one of the images for the cover. Make sure the image is clean and attractive. 
One thing I have done is to create custom covers for my Pinterst boards.

What I did to create custom covers for my boards:
1.  I referred to The Pinterest Cheat Sheet to Image Sizes to make sure that I started with the correct size for the board covers. 

2. Open a new file in Adobe Photoshop CS6/CC with the dimensions of 217 pixels by 147 pixels.
Because the pixel size is small, I constrained the image size properties and enlarged the image size to 4 inches wide by 2 inches tall (rounded out). This way I could work in a larger space. I created a cute template, added text, saved the images in png format, and then opened my Pinterest page.

Once on my account page (where all of my boards are visible), I would click on the board that I wanted to add a custom cover image to.

3. Click to Add a Pin

4. Choose to upload an image from your computer

5.  Choose the image file for the board to upload, add a short description, and click to save the pin to the specific board where the image will be used as the cover.

6. Now go back to the main page where you can view all of your boards, hover over the board and click the change cover button to change the cover image. If the image does not show up, you might need to refresh the webpage. Choose the custom image and click save.

That is all there is to it... now do the same thing for the remainder of your boards... <3 Feel free to grab the template below to create your very own custom Pinterest Board covers. Check out this link ( from Mashable for free online image editing apps and tutorials

8. Pinterest Etiquette: 3 Helpful Links

      Pinterest Etiquette: 13 Tips to Pin By

9. Collaborative Boards
   Collaborative boards are a great way to connect with other people and gain followers! Collaborative boards operate more like a family and it is important to make sure to follow the board guidelines and show respect by sharing pins posted by other members of those boards. If you do not follow the rules of a collaborative board, the owner of the board may choose to remove you as a collaborator without notifying you ahead of time. Be mindful and limit the number of pins and the amount of extra long pins on collaborative boards. 

Here is a SUPER cute video to explain a little more about collaborative boards, how to find them, how to join them, and how fun they can be!!

10. Pin/Repin vs Like
When you "like" a pin, those pins will not show up on any of your boards. It is a great way to save something for later to return to if you are not sure you want to add it to a board or you do not have a board to place it in. To find the pins you liked, just click on the drop down menu by clicking on your name & choose "likes". This takes you directly to the pins you liked.

11. Tools for Pinterest
My newest favorite little tool for Pinterest allows you to create fun sticky's, text quotes, maps, music, and image pins for free!!! What could be better??

This online app allows you to enter a website address into the box above and click on the Snap! button to take a screenshot. To pin a website on Pinterest just use the dropdown on the right of the Snap! button and select either 'Pin to Pinterest' or 'Pin Full Page'. This is going to be a great tool for my Pinterest Portfolio Board for all of the custom work I have completed!!
The image to the left is a "Snapito" of the Snapito site... pretty clever!!
Shotpin is a Google Chrome browser extension that allows you to take a quick screenshot of any webpage, edit the screenshot and pin it to a board. This is something I have yet to try. 

Google Analytics!! Say What?? Yep... I said that write... Google Analytics!! Read the article from Mashable to see how to use Google Analytics to track your Pinterest traffic. This is something I am so excited to try out!! Another great tutorial on Mashable is How to Track Your Websites Content on Pinterest. This tutorial shows you how to see what things are being pinned from your website and/or blog!! A very cool tutorial!!
Find more tools for Pinterest HERE 

12. Pinterest for Your Blog
Below you will find some helpful resources to help create a Pinterestingly-Friendly blog!! Enjoy!!

Grab my FREE set of Pinterest Icons to use on your blog or website!! Click the image below to download these from my TpT shop!! Please make sure to follow my shop and Facebook fan page for updates!!!

Thank you for visiting & I hope you found some of the information in this post to be helpful!!

Visit my Pinterest Board below (Tech Tips for Teacherpreneurs) for more social media resources, links, & tutorials!! Click the link to follow the board and browse the goodies!!


  1. Michelle! I did learn some new 'tricks' and I consider myself a Pinterest Princess. Thanks for your specifics and all of the extra links to resources as well. I will be sharing this from my Pinterest board, for realZ!

    Debbie Clement

    1. You are so sweet Debbie!! I am hoping this post will keep me motivated.. hahaha

  2. Great topic! I definitely have it bookmarked so I can come back and read all of the articles and check out all the links. I had no idea that you can't pin any image you find on the internet. I thought they were all fair game. Thanks for this helpful post!!

    One, Two, Three: Math Time

    1. Thank you so much!! I learned a lot through this post as well..haha

  3. Wow Michelle! Definitely bookmarking this! There is so much great information. Thank you so much for pulling it together in one awesome post!!

    Christy & Tammy

  4. Michelle, this is FABULOUS (as always!) and the most helpful Pinterest how-to yet! Of couse, I just pinned the heck out of it! Thank you for putting everything I need to know all in one place!

    1. You are AWESOME!! Thank you so much!! I will continue to update the info and add to it as I find out more. One thing I would like to find out is why I am unable to add some people to my collaborative boards. It only happens when people use a business or blog name instead of their own name, but I am baffled by the problem and have yet to find anything online that explains this...

  5. hi..Im student from Informatics engineering, this article is very informative, thanks for sharing :)

  6. Thanks Michelle for putting all this information together. This is a great reference tool for all Pinterest users! Shazia

  7. Thanks for this great post! In particular I had never thought about the copyright issues. Great information!

  8. Hi Michelle!

    I am working on cleaning up my boards to make them awesome! I noticed you took most of your black and white covers off your boards since you wrote this post. Is that a no-no now? Do you have any major do's or don'ts??? Thanks so much! Christina

    1. Hi Christina!! For me, I want people to see my clipart and I have been organizing my boards and cleaning up the junk. It is a huge undertaking. I want to make it easier for people to find specific sets from my shops and immediately see those visuals. Right now, using real photos is a huge plus... and making sure you are using rich pins. It always changes though...haha


  9. I’ve been researching the topic of infographics and your article really inspired me on writing a complete guide on what is an infographic:

    It discusses different types of infographics with actual examples, as well as providing tips on visual elements and sharing a list of services for creating infographics.

    I hope it will add value to your article!


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