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“Follow the plan outlined here and you can create your own website from scratch without writing any code for less than $300.”
Pinterest grew to massive success years ago.
For a while, you couldn’t do anything online without seeing or hearing something about Pinterest.
Things are a bit different now.
Where’s the opportunity?
Pinterest is still hugely popular and successful, but its days of outrageous growth are over.
What made Pinterest so successful is that it created a new place for an underserved market to congregate and collaborate. There wasn’t anything quite like Pinterest, and now many people can’t imagine living without it.
If you want to create a site like Pinterest and be successful, you need to pick your market wisely.
Now, I’m going to leave that part up to you because that’s not what this guide is about. This guide is about showing you how to make your own website just like Pinterest without hiring a team of developers or spending tens of thousands of dollars. In fact, it’s much easier and cheaper than that.
How much does it cost? Creating a site like Pinterest using the tools recommended here will cost $106.40 with an annual cost of about $75/year after that.
The site you’ll create
There are a few approaches to make a site like Pinterest on your own without writing any code. In fact, you could simply use a Pinterest plugin to embed content from Pinterest, but if you want to create a site with your own content, you’ll want an original design.
I’m going to recommend you use WordPress and a theme called Pluto. Here’s what the site will look like:
Pretty cool right?
There is an optional slider of featured content up top and then a masonry grid of content just like on Pinterest. You can even turn on lightboxes so that the content opens in a popup instead of taking visitors to a new page.
How to create a site like Pinterest
There are really just six steps for anyone to create a website like Pinterest.
- Get a domain
- Signup for web hosting
- Install WordPress on your domain
- Install Pluto
- Configure & customize Pluto
- Launch your site
By following this guide, you’ll see how each of these steps fit together and get access to all the resources you need to create and launch your site.
What you need
Mostly, you need a good work ethic and time to make your site. The good news is that you don’t need to do anything really technical like writing code, and you only need a few products to create your site.
No matter what site you visit on the web, the content creators and marketers aren’t working with code. Nope, they’re using text editors to create and publish content with their CMS (content management system).
WordPress is the world’s most popular CMS, and it’s 100% free. Here’s what the post editor looks like:
WordPress gives you an interface for everything from configuring your site and publishing posts to uploading images and moderating comments. You can then install a theme to change the design and add new customization options. That brings us to Pluto…
Themes are used to completely change the design of any WordPress site. When you install Pluto, your site will instantly look a lot like the screenshot I shared above.
It also adds tons of options for customizing the layout and other aspects of the site.
Why you should use WordPress
If you’re new to creating sites, there’s no better option than WordPress.
Here’s the thing…
Other website builders like Weebly are great for quickly setting up a blog or small eCommerce shop. However, they don’t have the capabilities to do much more than that. In addition, there aren’t nearly as many people using them as WordPress. Here’s why that matters.
WordPress is over a decade old and powers 26% of the web, so there are a huge amount of resources available.
You can find a plugin to add any functionality to your site you can imagine. There are themes for every kind of site design – even sites like Pinterest! And, if you have any problems, there is a ridiculous amount of support forum threads and blog posts published on every issue you could ever have with WordPress.
Why you should use Pluto
There are a few themes that have a similar style to Pinterest and I have some other recommendations at the end of this guide. However, Pluto gets my top recommendation for a few reasons.
Pluto pretty much nails the Pinterest style design. The images are laid out in a “masonry” grid where the items don’t need to line up, and the header can be made really small at the top of the site. The experience for users adding their own content is simple and user-friendly tool.
There are quite a few layout options available, so make sure to test them out on the demo site to see all the styles available.
Pluto includes a ton of cool options.
Some of the best features include photo protection to prevent visitors from stealing images, plenty of advertising spaces, and QR code integration. Of course, there are also all the standard customization options you’d expect like custom colors, layout options, and social profile integrations.
In addition, Pluto comes bundled with the UserPro plugin.
UserPro is an awesome plugin that adds all of the user registration and front-end submission features required to make a site like Pinterest. The Pluto developers designed the theme to integrate well with the UserPro plugin so there are no compatibility issues.
How to setup WordPress
To get your site online, you’ll need to get a domain, hosting, and then install WordPress on your domain. I’ve covered all of this in great detail in this step-by-step tutorial:
The good news is that you can do all of this in a free afternoon. It doesn’t take a long time or require any super techy stuff.
Once your site is up and running, you can install and configure the Pluto theme.
How to setup Pluto
Installing WordPress themes is very easy.
If you’re totally new to WordPress, follow along with this guide on installing a theme and configuring the basic settings.
It will also take you through customizing the styles using the built-in Live Customizer that comes with WordPress. Once you’re finished with these steps, your site will be looking a lot like the demo (minus the content which still needs to be added).
When you’re ready to begin adding the features for users to register and add their own content, you can install the UserPro plugin that comes with Pluto. The developers have a dedicated knowledgebase including tons of tips and tutorials.
Alternatives to Pluto
While Pluto is an excellent theme for recreating Pinterest, there are some other decent options as well.
Pressgrid is a really attractive theme and has a style similar to Pinterest too. It also has some of the user submission features built-in, so you don’t need a separate plugin. The main drawback is that it isn’t as customizable as Pluto.
The Pin theme was made specifically to recreate the user experience of Pinterest. It has all the features you need already included. The issue I have with this theme is that I don’t find it particularly attractive, but if you like the aesthetic then it may be the best choice for your site.
Prep for launch
As you get close to launch, you’ll want to prepare your site to record analytics. This will let you know how many people visited and where they came from.
For WordPress users, Independent Analytics is a free plugin for adding visitor tracking to your site.
Independent Analytics is easy for beginners to use while still including lots of interesting and customizable data. Make sure to have it installed before your big launch so that you can see your numbers and understand your site’s performance.
Launch your own site like Pinterest
There’s no way around it:
Making this site is going to take a lot of time and persistence. However, you won’t need to write code or acquire any challenging new hard skills. You’ll learn a lot along the way and in the end, you’ll have a site just like Pinterest, but without hiring a team of developers or needing to code it yourself.
When you’re ready, the last step is to launch your new site. Then you can begin growing your audience and promoting the site you’ve created with these steps.