Let’s Talk Pinterest


I’ll be speaking at Alt Summit in a few days on effective DIYs and how to market with Pinterest. Jill, one of my co-panelists, is very well-versed in Pinterest and will be covering that aspect of the panel very thoroughly. I do want to mention a couple of things here, though.

I’m not sure if this post is for me, for beginning Pinterest users or for my co-horts (not sure how many of my fellow blog friends actually read this) but I figure it’s good to get this off my chest and get my personal feelings out there on the matter. Feel free to chime in on the conversation in the comments below.


There were (and still are) a lot of mixed feelings about Pinterest when some terms of service changed, begging the question: What should be pinned to Pinterest? For me personally, I keep it to original sources only. DIY blogs, food blogs and shops are pretty easy ones. I also pin from fashion and interior blogs but only when the author of the blog publishes original content. For example, I’ll pin an interior that someone has styled and photographed themselves as opposed to the interior images they used for inspiration.

I never pin from tumblr, google images or stock photography sites.


This is a dumb question, I know. But some people may not necessarily think about this so I feel it’s worth mentioning. I pin directly from permalinks – I click through to the single blog post or product page, then pin what it is I want. Pinning from the main page of a blog is really annoying – content always shuffles on that front page, so you’ll never be able to get directly to that blog post after new content appears.

If I’m re-pinning from peeps I follow, I’ll quickly click through the link to make sure proper attribution has been given. If re-pinning a recipe from Pinterest, wouldn’t you click through the link to make sure that the site is still working and the recipe is worth making? I treat all other pins the same way. Especially with art and design.

I also pin with descriptive language. I want people to be able to find the same awesome things that I’m pinning, so I make the image searchable with key terms. I also like to write little notes to myself about what made me pin the image in the first place. I never pin full tutorial instructions in the comments. It’s just plain annoying and just like stealing the content from that site or blog.


This is kind of a funny thing. I’m getting more into this now. Pinterest is a great way to get your content out there, but I say this with hesitation. I don’t like following pinners that are self-promoting all the time, so I try not to. I’ve not done a great job of this recently, but I’m working on striking a good balance.

After much thought I’ve decided that if I’m going to be pinning my own work, I should be pinning to boards marked for self-promotion. I feel like this works in my favor two ways: 1) It clearly tells my followers that this is something of mine, I’m not sneaky about promoting my work. 2) It’s a great way to aggregate all of the stuff that I’ve done in one spot. It’s easy for people to find what they’re looking for and to repin as they see fit.

I’ve also enabled a “Pin It” hover over all of my in-line content images allowing readers to pin directly to a permalink without having to click through to a single post. Chris developed this widget for me (you can download your own ISLY Pinterest WordPress Widget below). When you hover over any of the graphics in the main column on this blog, you’ll see a pin it icon. Simply click the icon and it takes you to a Pinterest pop up where you can pin that image and the attached permalink straight to a Pinterest board. Slick, and properly attributed. If you plan on installing it on your blog, it comes stock with a Pinterest icon, but you can certainly customize it using simple code.

I don’t write about this stuff very often, but I thought it was appropriate to share since Chris put in a lot of effort to make the widget for me and we are more than happy to share this with others. I’m looking forward to hearing Jill’s insight and advice on Pinterest. I have a feeling that I’ll be learning a lot from her and my other amazing co-panelists: Jenny, Chris and Chelsea.


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    1. Kate says:

      Thanks again to both of you guys for making and sharing this plugin! It’s awesome, I love it!

    2. Kristie says:

      great information. Thank you for putting it together, and what a great reminder to those of us who pin without thought. I do try to make sure there is a permalink before I pin, but sometimes it is just too tempting to pin and forget about it.

    3. Kristin says:

      I full heartedly agree. Nothing drives me more nuts than an image linked to google or flckr or an entire blog. Dont worry about your recent self promotion, I like being able to directly pin from you – gives you even more credit and encourages more people to check out your pinterest.

    4. Kaylee says:

      Hi Melissa!

      Am I crazy? That link to download the widget isn’t working for me!
      Thank you, though! This is good stuff about pinning. It drives me nuts when people pin links to a blog’s home page!

    5. CoraD says:

      Good thoughts. I pin more for myself to remember things – do you think your thoughts apply to those without a decent-sized or cultivated following? Also, what do you think about giving credit to the finder of the Pin you are repinning – do you do that? Or is it necessary?

      • Melissa says:

        Pinterest automatically gives credit to the person you repinned from, and I think this applies to everyone – I search pinterest all the time and find great and terrible pins from people with little to no following. Hopefully that answers your question!

    6. Missy Harding says:

      Thanks so much for the plug in! I’m stoked to try it out. I’m in the long process of fixing all my pins and deleting the ones that go nowhere or to the wrong place. It’s taking FOREVER but totally worth it so the people that put in all the hard work get the credit they deserve.

    7. […] Let’s Talk Pinterest – 1 freebie(s)? […]

    8. Jen says:

      You have the first pin it hover that I don’t hate! The ones on Refinery29 and designlovefest (the most common types I see) where the hover greys out the photo drive me crazy, it’s so hard to scroll through the site to just read and look at the images. I love that yours is just a little pin logo in the top corner, super classy!

    9. 1) that widget is very very cool.
      2) I sometimes repin without checking and always feel bad, but I also feel irked when I see a full tutorial pinned and then attributed to another blog, augh!

    10. Lindsay says:

      Love your ideas on Pinterest. I agree with only linking directly to blogs, not to photo-sharing sites. So annoying to find broken links!

    11. Kemari says:

      Your font is too teeny tiny! It was awesome before, but now I can’t read it :( I can read the comments fine, but the content is Greek to me.

    12. Rach says:

      Yay! Nice one Chris :)

    13. Melissa says:

      Thanks all for your insight!! You are the best.

    14. Becca says:

      Oh Melissa, your new site is beautiful. So clean and unique! I also love the little smile at the bottom left :)

    15. Pauline says:

      I feel the same way about Pinterest users who always self-promote. However, making a specific board for self-promotion makes it reasonable. I should try that! I love your new blog layout btw.

    16. Juliette says:

      I think I needed your self promotion, that is how I found your calligraphy course!
      I feel that when you post to pinterest I can see what you are up to even if I have no time to check your blog… Which fundamentally is the problem with pinterest!

    17. […] My new favorite Pin-it plugin. […]

    18. Heidi says:

      First of all, the redesign looks great! I love the watercolor look.
      You made a lot of great points-I need to remember to click thru when I repin. I generally do but not as a rule. I’ll work on that.
      Also, I think you’re doing just fine with self-promotion pins, not annoying at all. I recently stopped following another well-known blogger completely because she was such an obnoxious pinner, mostly her own stuff.

    19. I personally wanted to share this particular posting, “ISLY
      | I Still Love You – Art, Sewing, Design, Bookbinding, Photography, Crafts”
      with my own pals on facebook. I personallysimply just wished to pass on your outstanding writing!
      Thx, Luke

    20. Caytlyn says:

      I love the redesign!!!

    21. adi edlen says:

      this is so great – I feel like as a blogger I notice what happens when people don’t pin with love but wondered how everyone else might come to realize it too – thanks for writing this!

    22. Amber says:

      Love this post. I always prefer to know where images are originally from and hate to go through 20 steps trying to find the original. It seems that Pinterest is full of images without proper links and it’s so frustrating.

    23. […] credit is due. Speaking of which, I got the ISLY Pinterest WordPress Widget from Melissa Esplin here. Thank you, Melissa and Chris (her husband who made the […]

    24. Nataasha says:

      I installed this on my wordpress and activated it but none of my images have the hover effect?

      Bit confused as to what I could have missed…

    25. Krishna De says:

      Thank you so much for sharing your pin-it plugin – the flexibility it provides is great too

    26. ashlee says:

      Melissa I love love LOVE the pin it plug in and I recommend it to everyone! thank you and Chris SO much!

    27. Marilyn Sheldon says:

      When I joined Pinterest a couple of weeks ago I looked for how-to use the site and found very little, maybe because I am new. Seeing lots of interesting ideas I have wondered “WHO originally did THAT” and I too repinned just the way it was. Hopefully thanks to your info I will become more responsible with what I pin. Not sure how the (Click) thing works yet but will try.
      Marilyn Sheldon

    28. marianne says:

      awesome plugin thank you so much for sharing! i was using jQuery Pin It Button For Images until it just stopped working today! I found your plugin and it works really great!
      Even though it works, I do get an error on the settings page though:

      Warning: Missing argument 2 for do_settings_fields(),….

      Not sure if i need to worry about it or not.

    29. […] best photo instead of editing later ………………………… Melissa has a even more tips here on her blog about pinning.  And a heads up that I will be pinning my own projects to Pinterest on a […]

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