October 17, 2011

Five tips for getting the most out of Pinterest

✯ Day 290 of Vintage 365 ✯

As some of you may recall from this post last month, like many of us, I've become heavily enamoured with the online inspiration board making (and bookmarking) site Pinterest (if you missed my previous post and aren't sure what all this Pinterest jazz is, be sure to give it a read, as  it explains the fundamentals of this delightful website).

I've been using Pinterest for about a couple of months now, often pinning (adding new images I want to save to my inspirations boards) on a daily basis. I usually try and squeeze in a spot of Pinterest time in the evening, sort of like a well-earned reward for getting through the various demands and "must do" tasks of the day.

{A screenshot, taken yesterday evening, of my Pinterest homepage, showing a small selection of the many diversely themed boards I have on the go there.}

Having navigated the waters of this fabulous site (which is incredibly straightforward and super fun to use) for a while now, I've personally discovered a few simple tips that have made my Pinterest experience a better, more pleasant one.

These handy suggests are far from being state secrets by any means, they're just five things that I've picked up along the pinning path and thought all my fellow vintage loving Pinterest users might enjoy, too.

Five great Pinterest tips

1.) Quickly find out who's been pinning images from your website or blog. We're all curious to know who's pinning the images we include in our posts, so to find out which images from your site have made it onto Pinterest so far, simply use the following URL http://pinterest.com/source/whatever url you want/, changing the "whatever url you want" part (which I text I just made up for this example) to the domain of the site you're interest in seeing all the pinned images for. In the case of Chronically Vintage, what you'd type in the browser bar is http://pinterest.com/source/chronicallyvintage.com/.

You can do this for any website or blog, and if images have been pinned to Pinterest from it, you can see them all on one handy-dandy page. So cool and useful!

2.) You can never be too thorough or have to many boards. I'm sort of an organizational perfectionist. I'm one of those people who organizes my closet by garment, then style, then by colour for each of those categories. I have all of the batteries in my house organized in to labeled zip-lock bags (AAA, AA, D, etc) that are housed inside one big zip-lock bag. I have on occasion even started tidying up and lightly organizing  the messy shelves of stores I was shopping in (messy stores drive me nuts!).

As such  it's a safe bet to say that I'm not one of those people who cannot get by with just five or six broad topic Pinterest boards. Luckily there's no limit to the number of boards you can add, so I highly encourage new (and existing) Pinterest users to think about how precisely detailed you'd like your boards to be.

When I first started pinning I created a generic board for all of the food related images I wanted to save. However, as food images are amongst my favourite to pin, I quickly amassed well over 900 food pins alone! I knew that going back through all of them to find and/or share something again might get tricky, so I took a weekend and spent a few hours creating many different food boards, each devoted to one type or category of food.

Having made those boards (and here's where the time consuming part comes in), I then went through manually moved every single one of those 900+ pins onto the new board where it fit best. While not hard task at all, it did eat up (pun intended) several hours and was something that I could have avoided had I created a more diverse group of food related boards from the get-go (or at least much earlier on).

So my tip here is to give consideration to how many pins you think you might add to a given board over time. If that number is small, it be fine to have one generic board per category or topic, but if you think the number of pins will climb well into the hundreds or even thousands, consider creating more than one board for a topic (for example, instead of a generic "vintage" board, you might want to create boards for the 1920s, 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s, or maybe by topic instead of decade, so you'd have boards like "vintage fashion", "vintage holidays', and "vintage ads").

Doing so can truly make searching back through your pinned images much faster and easier - and save you the hassle of having to reorganize hundreds (or more) pins later on.

3.) Take a few seconds to add keywords to the images you pin. Pinterest is all about helping inspire one another with the things we deem important/funny/helpful/meaningful/creative/beautiful/etc enough to save for our own personal use, and one of the best ways for others to find the things you pin is by adding keywords to them (if you've tagged a pin with a keyword and someone searches Pinterest for that specific word, you pin is much more likely to appear in the search results they're shown).

I know that one of the perks of Pinterest is how quick it is to add an image, but I think that it's courteous and helpful to others to add at least a couple of relevant keywords to each image you pin (or repin, if keywords don't already exist for an image you're repinning).

I usually like to add about five keywords (for example, if I was pinning an image of a beautiful Dior dress from the 1950s, my keywords might be "vintage", "dress", "Dior", "fashion", and "clothing") that describe the pin itself, as well as the broader category that it may belong to.

If unsure of how many keywords to use, I find it best to veer on the side of generous (and indeed I've sometimes used a dozen or more keywords on one pinned image alone).

Just as you want to be able to search and find tons of images for topics you're interested in, so too do others, so help them by tagging your pins with a few relevant keywords.

4.) Get creative with how you organize your pins and have fun with the names of your Pinterest boards. Sometimes it's practical and a smart idea to organize your pins by concise topics, but other times you can be more creative.

Try organizing images by colour (eg., have boards titled "pink", "turquoise", "red", "black", or any other colour), by the material that the items in the photos are made out of (for example, "wool", "pearls", "wood", or "plastic"), by sense ("sound", for music related pins or "scent" for bottles of perfume or beautiful flowers), or by any other classification system you wish.

Create your boards and organize your pins in a way that makes sense to you! While, as mentioned before, Pinterest is all about sharing images, it's also very much about helping you effectively keep track of the online finds that inspire and speak to you the most, so categorize and sort your pins however your heart desires.

5.) Find all of the latest pins from someone else's boards. When you're logged into Pinterest and click on the Pinterest logo (homepage) you'll see a selection of pins that have been added most recently by the people you follow, however this list is not infinite, so if you haven't checked these updated pins in a few hours/days (or longer), you may not see all of the newest items the people whose boards you follow have added.

In order to skirt around this point and see all of the pins from a certain person, go to the main account page of that person (for the sake of example, I'll use my own Pinterest account). In doing so you'll see url such as http://pinterest.com/vintageblog/.

To that url (right after the last backslash) add the word "pins" (so that the url now appears as http://pinterest.com/vintageblog/pins) and hit the refresh (reload) button on your internet browser.
Volla! Just like that you'll have all of the most recent pins for the Pinterest user who's account you're viewing. Pretty awesome, eh? Smile

One of the most delightful things about Pinterest is that it's (relatively speaking) anything you want it to be. You can pin images spanning hundreds of topics, or just a couple. You can use it to help promote your own site and/or products (something I haven't done yet for any of my websites, but my do in the future), gather images to inspire your wedding/new home/dream wardrobe/next photo shoot/Christmas party - you name it, and connect with others who share your interests.

The notion of bookmarking sites and saving images online is not a new one, but few sites have ever come even remotely close to Pinterest in terms of ease of use, effective functionality, and good old-fashioned fun.
I hope that the five tips in this post will help make your time spent Pinning (be it five minutes or five hours a day) more productive and enjoyable (they certainly have for me!).

After all, Pinterest about those very things – having a great time while storing an inspiring selection things that matter to you online


  1. Jessica,
    I just started Pin interest. I am wondering how to put a picture from the wed onto a board. I have only re pinned, so far. Can you shoot me an email to let me know. Thanks so much!

  2. Hi Robin,

    Hi Robin,

    Thank you very much for your comment and may I extend a very warm welcome to Pinterest to you! In order to pin an image from the web onto one of your boards, you will need to grab the Pinterst "Pin It" browser button, which you can get (and super easily install from) here: http://pinterest.com/about/goodies/

    Once you've got that in place, you should be able to start pinning right, left and center!

    Many thanks again for visit to Chronically Vintage today - please don't hesitate to let me know if you have any other questions.

    ♥ Jessica

  3. Hoestly, how did I ever live without Pinterest? It is so inspiring and since I am a very visual kind of gal, I love having all my images in one spot!!!

  4. love love love your pin boards! You always have so many beautiful pins happening:))

  5. Why can't I see all of my pins on my boards? It says 29 pins but I only see maybe 12.

  6. Hi ladies,

    Thank you very much for your lovely comments today, it's great to have so many Pinterest users amongst my wonderful readers.

    @ Anonymous, I'm not 100% sure why so few of your pins are showing up. I sometimes have a few of my pinned images show up as broken links, too, however (interestingly) I've found that if you click on that pin itself, it usually shows up (if you view it as a solo image, as opposed to one pin amongst a board of images, that is).

    If you're experiencing this problem an inordinate amount of the time though, you should by all means contact the Pinterest support team and let them know about it.

    Tons of thanks again, everyone - definitely do not hesitate to share your Pinterest user names with me here in the comments, so I can check out your fantastic pins, too!

    ♥ Jessica

  7. Jessica, I just wanted to say how much I love your Pinterest site. Your images are all so gorgeous as is this wonderful blog, what are we ever going to do when the 365 days are up? I hope that you will still post your art and interests at the end of this year even if not on a daily basis.
    Love and hugs,

  8. Thanks for sharing these great tips about Pinterest. I had been hearing about it for a few weeks, so maybe a week and a half ago, I took the plunge. What a fabulous idea it is. Now, I dont' have to bookmark everything. And I don't have to take the time to write down every single recipe the minute I see it.

    I espcially appreciate the advice you gave about categorizing. I had originally had one board for desserts, but upon your suggestion, I realized it would be better broken down into several smaller categories.

    As you already know, I've been "pinning" some of the fabulous things I've discovered through your blog.

    Have a great day,

  9. I LOVE all of your boards! And your tips here are exceedingly helpful. I wonder if you're able to monetize any of your pinning as yet?

  10. Hi Juliet,

    Thank you very much for your lovely comment and for following me on Pinterest. Truthfully, I haven't looked into monetizing my Pinterest activities at all yet. For me Pinterest is equal parts inspiration filing cabinet and guilty pleasure (aka, I'm happily addicted to it!), and not something I've considered viewing as a potential money maker. If you've been going down that path though, I'd certainly be interested in hearing how things have been going for you (as I'm sure many of my readers would, too).

    Thanks again for your comment & have a beautiful start of spring,

  11. Hi, I love your Pinterest tips & boards!! I am also addicted to the site! The only thing that has me a little afraid is losing my pins! Today I noticed that in my recipe board some of my pins from previous weeks are disappearing as I add new ones. I also noticed my # of pins listed on each board are incorrect as well. Have you encountered this problem? Is there a certain # limit of pins per each board?

    1. Thank you very much for both for your comment and for liking my Pinterest boards. For a long time I heard others talk of those very points you mentioned, but didn't feel they were happening to me...until about six to eight weeks ago, when I started noticing some of my boards were shrinking in size and that my overall "pin count" was down. I'd sometimes pin 200 things in a night and the next day my pin count would only be thirty of forty higher than before all those pins. I don't pin for the sake of raking up number of course, but I do feel that we as loyal Pinterest users are owned a formal explanation as to why this happening. If you happen to hear of one, please let me know here, and I'll do the same if I hear anything.

      ♥ Jessica

  12. Just a note. I have hit 352 boards and it says I have reached my limit. There is a limit to how many boards you can have. I wish there wasn't I like have catagories too and want to expand but can't Not sure what to do next. Keep that in mind when posting.