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What Is Pinterest and How Do You Use It?


Pinterest has been around for a while, but not everyone has used it. Even more, not everyone knows what it truly is.

Pinterest allows you to do more than look at images. You can find recipes that your family will love. You can look up images to inspire your next tattoo. You can even upload your own idea pins to share with the world.

This raises the question—what exactly is Pinterest, and how do you use it? In this article, you’ll learn the basics of Pinterest and how to create your own boards and pins.

What Is Pinterest?

Computer on table with Pinterest open

Ultimately, Pinterest is an image-pinning website. Its picture-collecting capabilities are designed to curate and share visual ideas while also connecting like-minded people. Since its launch to the public in 2012, the website has grown to be used for so many different things.

You can use Pinterest as a social networking tool—though, not everyone does. You can even use it as a way to promote your posts from other social media sites. For example, adding a YouTube video pin to Pinterest with a link to the video itself.

However, it’s more common to use it as a source of inspiration to collect ideas on all types of things like fashion, DIY projects, art, and even popular trends. Even better, many of the images have links that are attached to articles, so you’ll have more material if you find something that interests you.

Pinterest helps you quickly find the visual resources you need, whatever your project may be. The ease of it along with its user-friendly interface is why it remains popular. You can literally spend hours just scrolling.

How Does Pinterest Work?

Pinterest Icon with notification

Pinterest consists of several different elements that you should be aware of to use it to its full potential.

1. Your Home Feed

When you first log in, either as a new or returning user, you’ll see an endless, scrolling wall of pictures related to your interests.

This endless wall of photos is called your Home Feed, and the Home Feed—much like other social networking sites—is where posts from people you follow are aggregated.

Pinterest Home Feed with image tiles

The big difference here is that it’s largely visual with just titles for words. It’s designed to allow you to continuously scroll while being able to take in as many pins as possible.

It’s important to note that the subject matter on your Home Feed will change as the algorithm learns what kind of topics you’re currently interested in.

For example, if you wanted to make a cake, you would type “chocolate cake” into the search bar to find pictures of them. Along with showing different images of chocolate cake, Pinterest’s algorithm will decide to show you other forms of cake on your Home Feed, like cupcakes or tutorials for designing a cake.

At the top of your screen, you’ll see the search bar. By typing a keyword into this bar, you can look up particular tags or topics that might not be showing up on your feed.

Before typing a word, Pinterest gives you your most recent searches along with some “Ideas for You” and “Popular on Pinterest” suggestions.

Pinterest Search bar

Once you start typing, Pinterest will suggest other topics that may be related to it and also people you follow whose name is similar to the typed-out word.

Pinterest Search bar suggestions

3. Your Pins

The next most important part of Pinterest is your ability to “pin” or save pinned items. Pinning basically means that you’re storing a collection of images together into what Pinterest calls Boards.

When you see an image you want to save to a board, either from your Home Feed or from your search results, all you have to do is simply pin it.

To save a pin, you can either hover over the image or click on it to see more details. First, choose the board you want the pin to be placed in then click the Save button.

Pinterest pin of tattoo idea

To create a pin, simply click on Create in the upper toolbar. You have the option to create an idea pin or a pin. Select Pin.

Creating a Pinterest Pin

Add all the required information including the title, image, description, and link if there is one. Select the board you want to place your pin in and click Save.

4. Your Boards

Boards are where you store individual pins, either for private use or for the public to see what you’ve gathered together. Typically, each board will have a theme that the pins within correspond with.

Pinterest boards on Profile page

To create a board, click on your profile picture in the upper right-hand corner. On the next page, you’ll see your profile page with all your boards and everything you’ve ever pinned. Click on the + sign. Select Board.

Creating a Pinterest Board

From there, you can create a board with a specific theme or purpose and set it to private or public.

5. Your Profile

Your profile is where anyone who clicks on your name can see your public boards, your avatar, and your links. They can also see your total follower count and the number of people you’re following.

A Pinterest Profile page

Take note that the followers versus the following relationship can vary from user to user, as people either use Pinterest for personal interest or social networking. You can find entire companies creating an ecosystem of curated boards on their profile pages—so naturally, they would have more followers.

There’s also an option to upgrade to a professional business account, which gives you access to analytics tools and the ability to pitch ads through the network.

Be Careful When Using Images From Pinterest!

Pinterest Home feed with random pins

Pinterest is an incredibly fun, easy, and stress-free way of looking for inspiration on the internet. However, it should be noted that Pinterest is not a good way to find stock images to use on your blog or website.

Many of the images still have their copyrights attached. If you save these images to your computer and then re-upload them for your own use without seeking permission to do so, you could find yourself in a lot of trouble.

Instead, it’s best to use one of the several royalty-free photo websites available.

Start Using Pinterest for All Your Inspirational Needs

Pinterest can be used in so many different ways, but it all boils down to inspiring its users. Whether you’re on the hunt for your next renovation project or simply admiring art in the form of tiles, Pinterest can motivate you to be creative.

Try logging into Pinterest to see what the algorithm has in store for you.

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