How Does Pinterest Work?

PinterestPinterest is the social shopping and cataloging website taking the online world by storm. The concept is as simple as it gets. Pinterest is essentially a virtual pinboard where you pin up everything that interests you and also use it to organize certain things such as weddings, holiday shopping, recipes, home redecorating, dream vacations, or simple to create a wishlist of products.

So How Does Pinterest Work?

1. Sign-Up For An Account – the first step would be to create an account on All accounts must be connected through either Facebook or Twitter after you initially provide your email for signup. They are currently in “Invite Only” mode but all that really means is that it may take a few hours tops to get your invitation through email. If you have a friend who’s already a member then you can get them to invite you for instant access.

2. Setting Up Your Account and Boards – the next step is to quickly set up your account. This includes just putting in your basic information. You don’t have to do any of this but it does add some personalization. The second step you should do when setting up your account is to create boards. These boards will be where you pin the things you find both on the website and online. For instance you could create a board called “Dream Vacations” to pin cool places you see and create another board called “Wish List” for random things you see that you want.

3. Start Pinning – pinning is simply what it sounds like. It means that you are pinning things to the boards you previously created. You can pin things you find on any site on the internet or you can do what is called “repinning” which is when you pin something on the Pinterest website that someone has already pinned. Either way the pins all show up on your board as specified.

4. LIKE a Pin (Difference Between Liking and Pinning) – if you don’t want to pin something to a board but you like it then you can simply hit the “like” button. This is of course very similar to the “LIKE” button on Facebook and is used in pretty much the same fashion. Many people are getting confused between pinning and liking so make sure you know the difference. If you pin something it goes to a board, if you like something then it goes to your account under pins you liked.

5. Other Things To Know – some other things you should know about Pinterest is that much like Twitter you can follow people. This allows you to see what they’re pinning along with other pins from users that are popular. Along with that you can comment on pins from other people and allow people to contribute to boards you created by making them “contributes.” There are plenty of other small features but these are the other main things you should know.

How Does Pinterest Make Money?
One common question we’ve seen is how does Pinterest make money? Right now at the time of this post the answer is they aren’t making any money and instead focusing on developing a great product. In the future they will probably make money through a multitude of ways that include things like “Sponsored Pins” which would be paid product placement ads, sponsored text ads, and also commissions on sales of products that originate from their website. In a social shopping model the possibilities are endless but we only hope they aren’t intrusive as it would kill the great experience many are currently having with it.

So I hope this answered your question on how Pinterest works as the entire concept is pretty simple but it does take some getting used to. In the beginning it was a little confusing to me as well. The website is already hitting the mainstream crowd with people talking about how they’re addicted to it and you’ll really know it’s made it big when you hear someone using the phrase “you should pin that.” If you have any other questions about how Pinterest works then leave them in the comments and hopefully someone can provide an answer.


  • Reply November 29, 2011


    I am a HUGE fan of Pinterest. I am one of those who is addicted to the website and probably have a dozen boards full of stuff. I did get a few pointers from reading this such as being able to add contributors to my boards. One complaint about Pinterest that I have is that there seems to be a lot of junk filling up the pages now such as viral images and so on.

    • Reply November 30, 2011


      I agree on the complaint. I think that’s why they’re working on the curation aspect so you can unfollow those who are posting too many things you don’t want. Most of the front page items are awesome but some of the stuff were things posted on Reddit months ago.

  • Reply February 19, 2012


    Big fan of Pinterest right now even though there don’t seem to be a lot of guys on there to follow. This guide did help me as I was a little confused on the pinned, followed, and so on plus what the boards are best used for. Thanks for the Pinterest tips and I’m going to follow BuzzRaid on Pinterest.

  • Reply November 1, 2013

    Carol Burgener

    I’m new to Pinterest but when I see something clever I want to know either where to buy it or how to make it. Just seeing an image is cool, but frustrating. There just has to be some way to find out how it’s done…probably some real simple solution I don’t know about. Can anyone explain this?

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