Tempted to use a blurry selfie for your next Pinterest image? STAHP! You need these 8 guidelines for choosing a good image to use on your pins. Make smarter Pinterest choices for your blog, brand or business.

Let’s get this out of the way: Pinterest is not really a social media platform. It’s actually a visual search engine masquerading as a social media platform. Very clever, Pinterest. What this means is that although your search results are returned using some high-tech new-fangled algorithmic search engine technology (that’s the search engine part),  people actually decide what to click on based on images (that’s the visual part). So having gorgeous, clickable pins is crucial for success on Pinterest.

That said, not every successful pin is beautiful, and not every beautiful pin is successful. I’m sure we can all give some anecdotal examples of times that a hideous pin went viral (here’s one of mine. Like, it literally has terrifying clowns on it. How is it so popular?!) Or maybe there was a time that you created the most beautiful pin in the history of pins and it went …. Nowhere.

Well, if Pinterest success was as easy as creating a pretty pin and clicking “publish,” I’d be out of a job. Or I’d be a millionaire pin designer. Could go either way.

So, while beautiful pin design is one element of a successful pin, it isn’t the be-all end-all. That said, it certainly helps. Like, a LOT.

But what does it mean to have a good-looking pin? I mean, isn’t it all subjective? Isn’t beauty in the eye of the beholder? Like, my husband thinks I’m gorgeous, but if you saw what I look like when I roll out of bed in the morning covered in drool, chances are you’d recoil in horror. Are pins the same way?

The short answer is: no. Pins aren’t inherently beautiful; they adhere to the rules of design. And there is absolutely such a thing as good design and bad design.

The elements of a pin roughly break down into 2 crucial parts: Image, and Text.

We’ll get to text next time.  Today, we’re diving deep into the decision making process you’ll go trough before designing each and every pin: what picture should I use?

Why does your Pin image matter?

The first thing someone sees on your Pin is the image  (or multiple images) that you’ve chosen for your Pin design.

Your image needs to accomplish 3 crucial things:

  1. It needs to be attention-grabbing enough to stand out during a midnight scroll-session
  2. It must be beautiful enough to inspire that tingly “I want it” feeling that we all seek out on Pinterest
  3. It should convey something about the link that you’re trying to get people to click through to

So like, no pressure.

Here’s what you need to know about choosing what image to use on your pin.

Psst: This post has moved! To read the full post, head over to my blog, Practical Wanderlust.

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