Here are some random tips and tricks I’ve picked up while creating my Redbubble shop Tiokvadrat. (If you find this post is helpful and want to say “thanks”, follow me on Redbubble and — if they appeal to you — like a few of my designs.)
Redbubble Sells Stickers and Tees
It took me quite a while to work out what products actually sell on Redbubble. The answer is mainly stickers, posters, and T-shirts. More specifically, customers who come to the Redbubble site are searching for, approximately in this order: stickers, posters, T-shirts, sweatshirts, tapestries, greeting cards, prints, art prints, canvas prints, and mugs. As far as I can tell from the search data I have accumulated, sales of other products are minimal (although I will admit myself to selling some socks and notebooks).
Redbubble Sells Memes and Drawings
By talking to successful Redbubble artists I have built an understanding of what type of design sells best. In order of success they are: text memes (think “OK Boomer”), illustrations (including fan art in the Redbubble fan art program), photographs, and (some) fine art. You’ll need to pair these designs with the list above… for example, text memes sell on T-shirts, illustrations on stickers, photographs on posters and prints, and so on. Stickers are by far the biggest seller.
So Many Unsold Pretty Patterns
Pretty patterns don’t sell … or at least they don’t sell for me. I am sure there are several successful artists who are selling patterns on pillows and scarves, but I believe they are very rare. There seems to be two main reasons why patterns don’t sell. The first is that Redbubble is already flooded with them. Patterns are easy for new designers to create following YouTube tutorials, and they are a lot of fun to make, but there are so many of them it is almost impossible to stand out unless you have built a successful brand around them outside of Redbubble. The second is that patterned products aren’t actually very hard to find nor very expensive in normal high street shops. Why would you go online to by a geometric patterned floor pillow when you can buy the same thing in your local high street store at half the price?
There is No Single Correct Tagging Strategy
I’ve seen advice to add 3 to 5 tags, 10 tags, 20 tags, 50 tags … even the advice given by Redbubble themselves isn’t consistent. The truth is that the number of tags you use when uploading your design will have an impact on both the likelihood of being found and on your position in the search results. The fewer tags you use, the higher you will rank in the search results that you match. But the more tags you use, the more possible searches your design can match. Some designs, like common text memes (“OK Boomer”, “Let me Overthink This”, etc.), can get away with a few well-targeted tags. Other designs, like a geometric tiled pattern, will need many tags because you are going to need to match multi-word long-tail searches (like “pretty pillow for my kitchen”).
Title Words Get Indexed
Any word that you include in the title of your work is indexed by the Redbubble search engine. If your title is “Cute Bulldog Drinking Coffee”, all four words will be added to the search index. I strongly recommend that you include your most important tags in both the Title and Tags fields. Repetition helps tags to rank well.
Titles Can Be Long
Very long. Indeed I haven’t yet found the limit. Also there seems to be no penalty for long titles within Redbubble itself. (Note however that very long titles might not be liked by Google…).
Tag Phrases are Great
You can repeat individual tags within phrases for an extra boost. For example: “tower, bridge, tower bridge, tower bridge london” gives you 3 mentions of “tower” and 3 mentions of “bridge” for an overall boost in the search results for “tower bridge”. Furthermore a phrase containing several tags is counted as only one tag towards your 50 tag limit.
Redbubble Doesn’t Like a Lot of Common Tags
Redbubble removes some tags (and the tag phrases that include them!) when you publish your design. It also removes some other tags from a user’s search string before showing results. Removed tags include: apparel, clothes, clothing, tee, tees, t-shirt, tshirt, t shirt, tee-shirt, shirt, leggings, dress, dresses, pillows, sweatshirt, sweats, trendy, trending, sticker, stickers, gift, gifts, present, presents, relevant, home decor, canvas, wall art … there are many more. Every time you use one of these tags you are wasting space in your tag field. After publishing, check your tags. (Note that Redbubble does not remove these “banned” tags from titles.
Descriptions Can Be Useful
If you are pinning your products on Pinterest, having a good description can save you a lot of time. Clicking the Pinterest Save Button while you are on your product page should give you an image with a good pin description already filled in.
Double-Check Your Design Position and Size
After you have saved your design, Redbubble will show you it on all the products you have enabled. It is worth examining this view quite closely to make sure your design is nicely positioned on each product and at the optimum size. For example, it took me several months to understand that the standard placement of my design on greetings cards was way too high, and that my mugs were defaulting to a view that obscured the design.
Why Building Sales Takes Time
Everyone says that you need to have patience with Redbubble. That if you keep uploading sales will come. But why do we need to wait? The obvious reason is that it takes time for the most important search engine of all, Google, to index your designs. When you start with Redbubble you are not going to have that many links in Google so you are not going to get much organic traffic. As you start to post links to your designs on social media and on various websites like Pinterest, Google will start paying more attention to you. But it takes time for your designs to get indexed and to be findable. Be aware that something like 90% of all webpages are NOT indexed by Google. Take steps to make sure at least some of your designs are linked from somewhere outside of Redbubble.
Are Follows and Favorites Important?
Hmm… it depends who you ask. Many people think that followers are dangerous because they can be bad actors who will rip off your best designs! I on the other hand don’t think that is such a problem … it seems to me if someone is going to steal the work others there are easier ways to do it that becoming your followers. It seems likely to me that that the more followers your profile has, and the more favorites your designs have, the better your traffic will be. Having followers internally gives you “link juice” and the more followers you have the more likely your designs are likely to get a good reputation in Google. This is not proven and a lot of Redbubble designers will say that this is wrong, so make your own mind up about this.
Favorites on the other hand are very useful I find because they help me understand which designs are popular even when they have not yet sold.
And if you find this post is helpful and want to say “thanks”, follow me on Redbubble and like (or buy!) a few of my designs. You can find my shop here: tiokvadrat.redbubble.com.