Food & Nutrition’s Good Pinning Guide

So you’ve created a Pinterest account and you’re ready to begin your boards. Here are some tips to make your pinning as inspirational as it is informational.

Make Your Board Beautiful

The whole point to Pinterest is that is a visual representation of who you are and what you are interested in. To that end, successful boards are those that present interesting resources as a collection of art—hence the term Pinterest “curator.” So don’t clutter your boards with logos or distorted low-res images. Even if your pin links to a good article or resource, if the image is boring or pixelated, it’s far less likely to be clicked on, much less repined, by your followers. You’re also less likely to gather followers in the first place, so make your boards as visually appealing as possible. (This goes for your website to! See Why Artwork Matters.)

Be Discerning and Eclectic

Mix it up! If your board is “Kitchens,” it might include photos of architectural interiors, innovative appliances, building materials and cooking gadgets, in addition to illustrations and infographics, and articles about home food safety, cleaning tips and window herb gardens. The more diverse your collection, the more interesting it is to others and the more it says about you. Try giving your boards broader, more inclusive titles at first, which will make it easier for you to build them up. You can always separate them into more specific categories later.

Write a Good Description

Whether your pinning from another website, uploading your own images or repinning from another curator’s board, what your pin says is as important as it looks. Be descriptive! Instead of “Chicken recipe,” write “Roasted Saffron Chicken with Apricot Chutney.” Even if you’re not the original source of the pin (see next tip), this is your board—so add your personal touch. Also, pin descriptions are a good way to market your message. (For example, when Food & Nutrition pins a recipe, article or video by or about a registered dietitian, we say so in the description. That way, all our follower see it whether they actually click on the pin or not.)

Pin from the Original Source

If you’ve been reading any tutorials or blogs about Pinterest, you’ve probably noticed the “original source” references. It’s a little confusing at first, but this is what it means: When you are Pinning from the Internet—meaning you’re online and you’ve found something you want to pin—make sure you’re on the actual destination page. What that means: Say you do a Google Images search for “zucchini recipes.” You select a picture from the results, click on it, and it expands the picture. Do not pin from this page! Instead, click on the actual website where the image is found, check to make sure it’s the final destination page, and pin from there. See illustration:

Google Results

Above: Results from the Google Images search for “zucchini recipes.” Let’s click on the first image—a photo of what looks to be vegetable pizza.

Photos from RD’s Blog

Above: Hey, what do you know? This photo is from an RD’s blog! But we don’t want to pin at this point because if we do, then everyone who clicks on the pin will be taken to Google. That’s no good—for our followers who think we’ve pinned a recipe (when all we did was pin a photo), and for the owner of the image who is not getting any credit or recognition (in this case, Dietitian on the Run) because our pin isn’t taking people to her site. So the next step is important: Click on “Website for this Image” in the upper right.

Dietitian on the Run

Above: Now we’re on the website from which our Google Images search pulled the pizza photo. What we need to is check the URL (web address) to be sure this is a destination page. To clarify: The website is The destination page—which is the actual page of the website that has the zucchini recipes and pizza photo—is, and that is what we want to link. Behold the original source! Now we pin.

Pin It

Above: Select the photo, write a snappy description, and there you have it.

Unfortunately, just because you are now a pinning pro doesn’t mean everyone follows good pinning practices, so be just as diligent about your repinning. Read Food & Nutrition’s Guide to Righteous Repinning.

Liz Spittler
Liz Spittler is the executive editor of Food & Nutrition Magazine and creative media director at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.