Setting up a Pinterest account for your blog or online business can seem overwhelming at first. There’s so much that goes into setting up a Pinterest business account — trust me, I get it! But, the most common question I get from new bloggers is, “What Pinterest boards should I have?”
The Pinterest boards you have on your account should be relevant to the content you create on your website. The number and type of boards will depend on what kind of website you have and the number of categories you cover. If you have an e-commerce business or lifestyle blog, your boards will need to be set up so that each product or blog post can be saved to several relevant boards on your Pinterest account.
In this guide, you’ll learn exactly how to figure out which boards your account actually needs to have. First, let’s cover the different types of Pinterest boards.
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What are Pinterest boards?
Pinterest boards are virtual pin boards that hold ideas from all across the internet. You can save photos from any website online (unless the owner of the website has restricted pinning of the photo using a plugin like SocialPug/Grow).
There are three types of Pinterest boards:
- Public boards – these can be seen by everyone
- Secret boards – these boards can be seen by only you and other contributors of the board
- Archived boards – only you can see these boards (if you are the owner of this board)
FYI: This post may contain affiliate links, which means when you click them, I receive a small commission. I only recommend products and services I actually use and love.😘
How do Pinterest boards actually work?
Knowing how Pinterest boards work will actually help you know which Pinterest boards you should have. So, here’s a brief summary:
Each time you add a new pin to a board, it will get shown to your followers and to the followers of that board. Yes, you read that right, the board can have its own followers.
When “following,” Pinterest users have 2 options:
- Follow all of your boards (by following your profile)
- Follow one or several of your individual boards
This is H-U-G-E! This means that the pins you post on that board will be reaching targeted followers – for free! This is why it’s so important to create strong boards from the start. Your pins need to be saved to healthy, optimized boards if you want to get more views, saves and clicks over time.
Now that you know how important your Pinterest boards are for getting your content in front of the right people, let’s figure out which boards you need on your account.
Step 1: Evaluate Your Categories
First, evaluate exactly which categories your blog (or business) covers. Knowing the categories your content falls into will help you decipher the best Pinterest boards for your audience.
Your categories should generally be broad. For bloggers, these would be the topics written about on your blog (examples: parenting, DIY, travel, baking, etc.). You probably already have them categorized on your website, so this should be easy!
For e-commerce businesses, your categories would be your product collections (examples: home decor, clothing for kids, electronics, etc.)
You don’t want your categories to be too specific because we will be creating a list of boards for EACH category. You will have the opportunity to get more specific here shortly. 🙂
List your main categories on a spreadsheet or word document.
If you would like to follow along with this tutorial using the spreadsheet I use here (and in my Pinterest management biz), you can get a copy here.
The actual number of categories will be different for each blog or business. As a matter of fact, the highest number of categories I’ve seen on an account was 9 total categories. But, in case you’re super ambitious, I’ve included spaces for up to 15 categories on the spreadsheet. 😉
Lifestyle bloggers tend to have around 5 main categories. E-commerce stores tend to have more. For my example in this guide, I’ll use a lifestyle blog.
Let’s say the blog covers these categories:
- Healthy Recipes
- Home Decor
These are extremely broad categories. And yes, we could create just one board for each category, but that’s not the best strategy. We want to create several boards for each category. This way, our boards can be hyper-relevant to the content we are pinning so that Pinterest knows exactly who to show it to.
Step 2: What Pinterest Boards Should I Have for Each Category?
The best way to set up your boards for each category is to think about your pinning strategy first. In general, I want to save new pins to at least 5 relevant public boards. As a matter of fact, saving a pin to multiple relevant boards gives the pin more opportunities to get seen and a much better chance of going viral!
So, this pinning strategy tells me I need a minimum of 5 boards for each category. If this strategy was a flow chart, it would look something like this:
It should be noted that you can have up to 500 total boards on your account, but it’s best to start with just 5 for each category. You can add more boards to each category over time as needed.
Avoid adding too many boards in one sitting. Adding boards gradually will be more in alignment with the habits of real Pinterest users and will not cause an unusual activity spike on your account. (Unusual activity spikes can trip the spam alert and may lead to an account suspension, especially on new accounts. Avoid this by spacing out activities like pinning, following accounts, and adding boards. I space out my pinning using a Pinterest approved scheduler.)
Step 3: Name Your Boards Using Keywords
Now that we know how many boards we need for each category, it’s time to choose boards and name them.
Remember, we want our boards to be:
- relevant to our content AND
- search engine friendly
The best way to choose board titles is by checking to see what Pinterest users are actually searching for on the platform. To do this, type your first category into the Pinterest search bar. The colorful list of related keywords that displays underneath the search bar is the Pinterest Guided Search tool.
This built-in Pinterest keyword tool tells you what users are currently searching for. This is where we will get the titles of our boards from!
NOTE: You can also use the suggested search tool which works just like other search engines and is the drop-down list shown as you type a keyword into the search bar.
Choosing Your Board Titles
Now, it’s time to look through the related keywords that come up to see which ones are the most relevant to the content you will be saving to the board.
For my example here, the lifestyle blogger blogs about casual fashion trends, so she chooses the following keywords for her ‘Fashion’ boards.
- Fashion casual
- Fashion casual comfy
- Fashion casual outfits
- Women’s fashion casual
- Fashion outfits for work casual
All of these terms are proven to have search volume since they show up underneath the category (fashion) and the most relevant keyword (fashion casual).
These keywords are great and describe the blogger’s content perfectly, but they don’t sound very natural. It’s totally OK to rearrange the words to make them sound more natural. The board will still show up in search results for the awkward-sounding keyword.
Organize the board titles you come up with while doing keyword research by listing them underneath the matching Category/Keyword in the spreadsheet. There are 10 spaces for board titles, but feel free to add more if you find good, relevant keywords during your research!
Repeat this process for each category in your blog or business. Your board planning spreadsheet should look something like this:
Overall, the recommendation of 5 boards is a minimum number. Between 5-10 boards is optimal for each main category. You can definitely have more boards per category if you only have 2-3 categories. The more relevant boards you have, the more opportunities you have to promote your pins.
(NOTE: The same pin should not be posted to the same board ever again. The most important strategy in the new algorithm is to minimize the number of REPINS on your account. You can learn more about the algorithm changes here.)
Step 4: Optimizing Your Boards Using Pinterest SEO
The next step is to optimize your boards to rank high on the Pinterest search engine. To do this, you will need to:
- add a board description to each board (using the related keywords in the Guided Search Tool — check out my FREE video series training on Pinterest SEO if you’re not sure how to do this)
- select the correct category for the board
probably definitely the most time-consuming part of Pinterest board set up. But, you don’t want to skip this step! Pinterest is a visual search engine, and we want our pins to rank high in results, don’t we? The best way to set our pins up for success is to make sure the boards we save them to are healthy and optimized for search.
Pinterest has told content creators to avoid keyword stuffing their board and pin descriptions.
(NOTE: Although the platform is not actively penalizing pins and boards with overly keyworded descriptions, they are liable to change the algorithm at any time to de-rank any pin or board that is keyword stuffed. Always follow the best practices given by Pinterest!)
How to Write Keyword-Rich Board Descriptions Quickly
To edit the board, select the little pencil icon right above the board title.
Here, you can add a board description.
Pinterest tells us to create descriptions that sound natural. So, take the time to write out your board descriptions in complete sentences using the related keywords you found. I usually start off writing a board description like this:
This board is all about ___(board title)___ and ___(related keywords)___. Here, we gather the best ideas about ___(more related keywords)___ and ___(more related keywords)___ to help you ___(more related keywords)___. Learn more about ___(related keywords)___ at ___(your website URL)___.
Using this simple template helps me write board descriptions quickly and efficiently while still having sentences that make sense! You have a total of 500 characters to use for each board description, so try to use as many relevant keywords as possible without having it sound too keyword-stuffy.
To learn more about how to do Pinterest SEO and how using it can boost your Pinterest traffic, check out my FREE Pinterest SEO mini-course here. Pinterest SEO is probably the easiest SEO to learn, and I’ve streamlined everything you need to know in video lessons so you can learn it ALL in less than 45 minutes.
Choosing a Category for Your Board
Next, it’s time to choose the correct category for your board. Pinterest categories can sometimes be a little obscure depending on your niche. If there are 2 Pinterest board categories that make sense for your board topic, create 2 similar boards, one for each category. Over time, you will be able to see which category performs better based on the performance of the boards.
In the board planning spreadsheet, you’ll also find columns to track the date the board was optimized and for which category you chose for the board. Since this is the exact board planning spreadsheet I use in my business, this data needs to be documented and tracked. In your case, these columns are totally optional, but it doesn’t hurt to have the extra data! 🙂
After the optimization is complete, your board planning spreadsheet should look like this:
Step 4: Cleaning Up Your Other Boards
If you’re a blogger, chances are you’ve been a Pinterest user for years. So, you may be wondering, “What Pinterest boards should I keep for my personal pins that aren’t related to my blog?”
This often happens when converting a personal Pinterest account to a business account. Your personal boards all stay on your account even after converting to a business account.
If you’re actively use your business Pinterest account for personal browsing and pinning, simply convert your personal boards into secret boards. That way you can still save pins to them without disturbing your followers with off-topic pins and risking an unfollow.
If there are boards you no longer save pins to, archive them. Archiving inactive boards will help keep your secret boards’ area tidy. Mine was a total disaster when I first converted my personal account to a business account!
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Step 5: Which Boards NOT To Create
1) Unrelated Boards
There’s no benefit to having boards on your account that are unrelated to your categories. In fact, having those boards could attract the wrong audience to your account.
Make sure each board on your account is related to the categories you cover, even if they are loosely related. For example, if I have a blog all about gardening and lawn care, a board about clothing trends would not fit in with my niche. I would want to attract an audience who wants to learn about gardening and lawn care, not fashion!
2) Boards Covering a Variety of Topics
Many bloggers and online Pinterest teachers advise their students to create a board dedicated to collecting all of their blog posts. If you write about a variety of topics, I would strongly suggest that you do not do this.
It’s important to realize that the Pinterest algorithm indexes pins based on their category first using their Pin2Interest system. This is how Pinterest is able to show “related pins” based on interests in the Smart Feed and underneath individual pins.
The algorithm understands what your pin is about based on a variety of factors. One factor is the boards onto which the pin is saved. Especially the first board a pin is saved to.
If you have a board with a variety of topics grouped together, the interest won’t be clear to Pinterest. In fact, it may confuse the algorithm as to what your pin is all about. This is not what we want! We want Pinterest to understand our pins and show them to the right people.
To learn more about how to leverage the Pinterest algorithm in my annual free Pinterest Strategy Guide.
Can Adding Board Sections Help Pinterest Understand Pins on a General Topic Board?
In short, no! Pinterest has stated that Sections do not play a role in SEO and exist only to help you organize your boards. We should only use sections as an organizational tool to provide a better user experience.
Save this article for later! Pin it to your Pinterest Marketing Board.
Now that you have a clear process to plan out your Pinterest boards, you no longer have to ask yourself, “What Pinterest boards should I have?” Starting with your main categories and planning out your boards using keywords is the best way to make sure your Pinterest account is ready optimized for your content. If you’d rather have a Pinterest manager do the research and set up for you, check out our Existing Account Optimization and New Account Optimization Packages.