Get into the habit of naming colors with two words. For example if you are using “gray” as a tag, or in a title, description, filename, collection name, wherever, call it “silver gray” instead. The you are not only going to get hits on the word “gray” but also on the word “silver ” and on the phrase “silver gray”. There are lots of grays, which one is yours? Charcoal gray? English grey? Tell us.
Here are some more 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.)
Tips and Tricks, Part 1 can be found here.
Redbubble Search Understands Common Plurals
In the Redbubble search engine, plural searches will often match singular tags — for example, the search “large dogs” and the search “large dog” return exactly the same number of hits. That’s because Redbubble understands that “dogs” is the plural of “dog”. One quirk, though, is that the results appear in a different order, depending on whether a design is tagged with “dog” or “dogs” or both.
Redbubble Search Doesn’t Understand Rarer Plurals
The tag “bowman” is different from “bowmen”: if you type each term into the Redbubble search engine you will get over a 1000 hits for “bowman” but fewer than 100 hits for “bowmen”. In this case Redbubble does not understand that one is the plural of the other. Therefore, if you want to get your design to be found for both searches, you will need to add both tags to your design.
Redbubble Search Doesn’t Understand Tenses
The Redbubble search engine doesn’t cope with verb tenses either. A search for “work” yields over 200,000 hits, but variations in tense like “worked”, and “working” hit far far fewer designs. In general, its the base form of a verb (or noun) that returns the most hits. (However those tags are well saturated with designs already and you are unlikely to rank well for any of them.)
Not All Designs Work On All Products
It common to hear the advice “Put your design on all products. You never know what will sell.” That’s such a bad idea. Redbubble almost certainly monitors the “click through rate (CTR)” on your designs. If your design is shown often in results but no one ever clicks on it because it’s ugly, your CTR will decrease. (This is also why, over time, designs with irrelevant keywords will start to disappear from keyword results, and explains why keyword stuffing with irrelevant terms is a bad idea.) Just disable the ugly products or upload an alternative image for them.
Add Your Shop Name as a Tag
If you add your shop name as a tag to each of your works you will easily be able to find all your products in the Redbubble search engine. For example I tagged all my sock patterns for the Euro 2020 football tournament (sadly now cancelled) with the tag “euro 2020 tiokvadrat”. Now, if I want to quickly see all those designs I can search for “tiokvadrat euro socks” in the Redbubble search engine and see all 39 sock products on one page. I can even use the URL https://www.redbubble.com/shop/tiokvadrat+2020+socks as a target for promotion purposes if I want.
Which Tags Are Useful?
- People’s names (essential for fan art).
- Colors (essential for patterns and abstracts).
- Locations (essential for photographs).
- Text (like “ok boomer” – essential for text memes).
- Style (“hippie, retro, art deco” – essential for patterns).
- Topic/subject matter (“trees”, “cats”).
What other tags should I consider?
- Your shop name (helps you to find your stuff).
- Prepositions and conjunctions (see below).
- Hobbies and occupations (essential for targeted memes, for example “fisherman, yoga instructor, dentist”.
When you upload your products to Redbubble the Product selector now allows you to choose “Optimized”. This seems to replace the old “Image only” option. However it seems the algorithm now tries to present the best view for the customer. The jury is out on this one, some of the older Redbubbler’s don’t like it, but it seems likely to help your product stand out in listings.
Got Patterns? They’re Hard to Sell!
Try these tags, they are some of the more popular and may help you hit the long tail:
1920s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, abstract, aesthetic, africa, art deco, art nouveau, artsy, beautiful, black, black and white, blue, bohemian, boho, chic, classic, clean, colorful, contemporary, cool, covers, cute, dark, designer, diamond, doodle, elegant, ethnic, fancy, fantasy, fashion, floral, flowers, fun, geometric, girly, glitter, gold, gothic, gradient, graphic, green, groovy, grunge, happy, hippie, hippie, hippy, hipster, india, indian, indie, interior, lines, mandala, marble, metal, minimalist, modern, navy, orange, pastel, patterns, peach, pink, pop art, popular, pretty, psychedelic, purple, rainbow, red, retro, rose, simple, spiritual, spring, style, stylish, summer, teal, trend, trippy, vintage, white, winter, yellow, zen
That Thing About Prepositions
When it is needed, include “the”, “and”, “on”, and “for” in your title field or tag field. For example, if you search Redbubble for “solar system”, you will find that there are more than 4,700 hits. Now search for “the solar system”. You will find that there are only 705 hits. It’s going to be much easier to rank against 705 rival designs than against 4,700. Therefore, include the “the” somewhere in either the title field or the tags field when you upload. You will still match the search “solar system” anyway. Some other common examples are: “salt and pepper”, “on golden pond”, “an apple for the teacher”.
Which Fan Art Brand Partnerships Are Worth Targeting?
I’ve been crunching some numbers to try to understand which of the Redbubble “Fan Art Brand Partnerships” are actually worth targeting. Looking at the number of designs uploaded for each brand and comparing it with the popularity of each brand in searches, shows that the following brand partnerships are the ones to target, in this order:
These are the six brands with the fewest designs but the most searches, as of the end of March 2020. (Expect this list to change as the underlying shows change in popularity.)
If you find this post is helpful and want to say “thanks”, follow me on Redbubble and like a few of my designs. You can find my shop here: tiokvadrat.redbubble.com.
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 stickers 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), 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; some stickers infringe copyright.
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 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 in high street shops. Why would you go online to by a geometric patterned floor pillow when you can buy the same 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. Only individual words seem to be indexed not the complete phrase. This also means that you don’t need to use those tags in your Tags field.
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.
Follows and Favorites are Important
So at the start, Google isn’t going to be much use to you. Rather you are going to need to rely on internal traffic at the Redbubble site itself. Obviously this means that you need to have good tags on your designs (see tips above). But it also seems obvious to me that that the more followers you profile has, and the more favorites your designs have, the better that internal traffic will be. Having followers internally gives you “link juice” — the reputation of your followers tends to rub off on you. The more followers you have the more likely your designs are likely to get a good reputation in Google. Not proven, but also likely, having many favorites is quite likely to improve the position of your product in the Redbubble search results.
If you are interested, join my Facebook Follows and Favorites group, which is dedicated to building these internal links.
And if you find this post is helpful and want to say “thanks”, follow me on Redbubble and like a few of my designs. You can find my shop here: tiokvadrat.redbubble.com.
This is a fun recipe for artists. It instructs you how paint an abstract in blue and orange. Use this recipe when you find inspiration lacking and “just want someone to tell you what to do”.
Take medium-sized, thick watercolour paper (for, example, Arches 300gsm). Dampen it thoroughly.
Take a damp brush and cover paper with a good coat of white gesso.
While the gesso is still wet, brush on a narrow, soft border in panes grey around the whole paper. Fade to a white.
Allow to completely dry.
With a black permanent marker draw an abstract design over the whole canvas with 1-2 cm spacing between elements. Draw circles, parallel lines, squares, rectangles, ovals, squiggles, waves, triangles, forks, crosses, t-shapes, ladders, gates, fences, roads, arcs, dots, leaves, eyes, spokes, branches, contours, whatever.
Use titanium white to bring out some edge shapes.
Fill about 30% of areas at random with paynes grey, diluted with airbrush medium.
Lift some grey paint while still wet with tissues to get gradients.
Mix yellow ochre, cadmium yellow, and a touch of burnt sienna and cadmium red. Dilute with airbrush medium.
Fill 30% of areas. Lift some paint while wet with tissue/brush to get soft transitions.
Darken a few of the already darker orange areas with burnt sienna and cadmium red. Soften transitions.
Glaze darker grey areas to deepen with panes grey using tissue to soften transitions.
Use Cerulean blue glaze over some 5-10% grey areas.
Highlight 0.5% of smaller areas with gold.