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.
10 Beautiful Space & Astronomy Gifts for Budding Astronauts & Space Scientists
Space is fascinating, educational and entertaining! We marvel at the asteroids, comets, moons, planets, stars and galaxies. We wonder about all that is to be discovered across our vast universe. And space science provides us with some of the most gorgeous images ever captured by mankind. Here are some stunning astronomy gift ideas that are perfect for the stargazer, cosmologist, or astronaut in your family … even if that’s yourself!
1. The Horsehead Nebula in Orion Wall Poster
2. The Crab Nebula Chiffon Top
3. The Tarantula Nebula iPad Case
4. Galactic Center Throw Blanket
5. Horsehead Nebula Close Up Throw Pillow
6. “Pale Blue Dot” Framed Print
7. Earthrise Over the Moon Tote Bag
8. BOSS Great Wall Graphic T-Shirt
9. The Pillars of Creation Duvet Cover
10. Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation A-Line Dress
These and many many more space and astronomy based products can be found in the Astronomy Collection in the Tiokvadrat store on Redbubble. Available products include colorful astronomy design for tops, t-shirts, skirts, scarves, leggings, socks, bags, phone cases, covers, mugs, notebooks, coasters, cushions, pillows, duvets, mats, blankets, clocks, prints, shower curtains. Perfect gift idea for astronomy and space sciences loving boy, girl, friend, wife, husband, partner, brother, sister, colleague, or the office. Happy shopping!
Redbubble Tips and Tricks, Part 2
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.
Redbubble Tips and Tricks
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.
Creating a Shopfront for Redbubble Products on Pinterest
I wanted to find out how to use Pinterest to create a “shopfront” for some of the products in my Redbubble store Tiokvadrat. This is how I went about doing that.
I will be applying many of the lessons I learned in my previous post, “Effective Pinterest Pins and Boards“, where I took an in depth look at how one experienced user’s was succeeding with Pinterest. I will be creating pins for my some of my mug designs in my shop on Redbubble. I won’t actually be selling the products here, this is just the shop window. (I think it important to think along the lines of being a shop owner.)
I will be using the Google Chrome browser for this task, with the Pinterest Save Button extension installed. That’s all the tools I need. I’ll be working on desktop because, although all this is possible on mobile, it can all get a little fiddly at the small size. It’s nice to have some big browser windows open when working — but remember, 75% of users view Pinterest and Redbubble through mobile devices.
I start by creating a new board at Pinterest. I want to create the board in my free business account at Pinterest (which is available once you have joined Pinterest as a member). Later, I will be able to later get some helpful visitor statistics. (Alternatively, I could just create a normal user board, but then I won’t get those statistics.) Creating a new board is as simple, I just visit my business profile on Pinterest and click Create board.
I name the new board Mugs and Cups by Tiokvadrat:
That’s two keywords and a brand name. A name that’s short enough to show well later. I leave the Visibility box unchecked because I certainly don’t want to hide this board, that would defeat the whole point of creating it.
As soon as I create the board, Pinterest offers me some random pins to save to it. I ignore this because I’m only going to show pins for my own products on this particular board. (However, building other types of board can also be fun, particularly if you start using Pinterest for research.)
The new board is just an empty shell at the moment. I’m prepare it by first giving it a good solid description. Pinterest lets you enter up to 500 characters, and I like to make use of as many as I can to feed the search engines.
While I am here I will also set the board category as Home décor. (I am not sure this is the best choice, but it seems to be the closest match in the category list Pinterest provides.)
OK, now the board is set up and I am ready to start pinning. In a new browser tab I open my Redbubble shop and display the mugs in it.
I have found the easiest way to navigate Redbubble is to tag all my designs with my business name (“tiokvadrat”) and then use the main Redbubble search engine. In this way I can just search for “tiokvadrat mugs” and see all my mug designs:
Redbubble tells me there are nearly 200 designs in my shop. As there are three types of mugs (classic, tall, and travel) that means I have nearly 600 mugs to choose from. Of course, I am not going to pin 600 mugs! Not only do I not have that much patience but I also only want to show my very best mugs on Pinterest. Hopefully, if someone like the mugs I’ve pinned they will then click through to Redbubble and explore more of my designs and on other products.
To start with, I will narrow down the selection of mugs to just the classic ones using the filters in the left margin. Clicking on the first image takes me through to the product page:
From here I can click the Pinterest Save Button in my browser toolbar:
Which will then show me images that it has found on the page. Here are some of them:
I like the first image best, so I click (once!) on that. The Pinterest Save Button opens a dialog:
Before going any further I want to change the text on the left side under the image. This description has been auto-generated by Redbubble from my work’s title (sometimes you get lucky and get the work’s description here, but in this case not). This text will be used as the description for the pin, so let’s beef it up a bit.
I use a common formula for product titles and descriptions that goes something like this:
[what] – [who] – [where] – [when] – [why] – [how]
I like to use this as a general prompt when writing text, but not slavishly. For this mug I’ll write:
Blue “Girly Swot” classic mug celebrating clever girls! Perfect gift mug for smart women studying at school, college, or university. Make a statement against casual misogyny.
That’s the “sales” text with some meaty keywords. Next I will add my standard “branding” tagline which I add to every product:
Blue “Girly Swot” classic mug celebrating clever girls! Perfect gift for smart women studying at school, college, or university. Make a statement against casual misogyny. Design by Chris Hughes of Tiokvadrat. tiokvadrat.redbubble.com
That should be just the right amount of text for a pin. (If you add too much it will be truncated; if you add too little you will reduce the chance of your pin getting found on Pinterest results.)
Notice that I have included my shop address in the text, but not as a full URL — for some reason, if you include the “https://” in the URL, Pinterest will reject all the text and you will end up with no description at all.
Now I am ready to save the pin to my Pinterest board called “Mugs and Cups by…”. When that’s done, you will get a link to See it now. Clicking that shows you the pin on Pinterest:
At this point it is worth checking that 1) the pin looks like you expect it to, 2) that the text shows and is correct, and that 3) clicking the pin links you back to the product page on Redbubble.
Did you get back to the main product page on Redbubble? You did? Great! Now you have posted a pin that will lead interested Pinterest straight to one of your products on Redbubble, ready to buy or explore your works and products further!
Now go back to your list of classic mugs. Add another mug. Maybe add some other mug designs too. Pin what you like around the theme of mugs. Just remember that every pin will link back to the product page you got it from.
After you have pinned half a dozen images, go to Pinterest and take a look at your board. Here is what mine looks like after a while:
Notice that as well as pinning mugs I have also been pinning designs. This is my preferred style for now, it may change in a few boards.
After a bit of testing to make sure my pins go to the right place and the pin titles and descriptions show up OK, I am now going to go on and complete this little shopfront in Pinterest. In a later blog post I will talk about how to analyze your shopfront’s visitor statistics.
If you would like to see the finished board on Pinterest, take a look here: Tiokvadrat Mugs and Cups.
Effective Pinterest Pins and Boards – How One User Makes Pinterest Sing
Pinterest is a great way to promote your website whether it is a business or a hobby but you have to make sure you are using it to full advantage. In this post I’ll take a close look at how to optimize Pinterest and pass on some tips to help you make it work for you.
As a new user, Pinterest can be quite confusing. How to make sense of pins and boards and things when you only have a few examples of each? How do you optimize Pinterest? The easiest way to understand how your pins and boards should work is to take a look at an existing, well-managed board and the pins that its user has saved to it.
Let’s start with pins. Pins on Pinterest are basically just images with links. You click them and they take you somewhere. That somewhere can be inside Pinterest, or out to another website. Unlike normal image links, pins have other visible clickable information attached to them.
The Home Feed
When you first go to your Pinterest home feed you will see 100’s of pins. These are the pins that Pinterest thinks could be of interest to you based on the favorites you selected when set up your account. Similarly, if you search for a topic on Pinterest you will see a similar feed of results. Here for example are the results I see when I search for tips on how to catch a certain type of fish:
What I am seeing in the results are shortcuts to pins; if I click on a shortcut in the search results I can see the full pin:
Structure of a Pin
The pin has both the main image (which in this case includes some graphical text on a black background) and some extra information below it. (This is actually a “repin”: that is to say it is a copy of an original pin. We will see the original pin a bit later. Be aware that in many ways a repin is more valuable than an original pin: making great pins that other user’s want to repin is a great way to raise your profile in Pinterest. Getting repins is one of the secrets of Pinterest optimization.)
Let’s take a look at the different fields that make up the pin:
The Title of this pin is “Trout Fishing Tips: How to Catch Trout [Fly Fishing Methods & More]”. That’s 77 characters in all but notice that Pinterest shows only the first 47 characters in our search results. It is worth checking that any title we set works in both its long and its short forms.
The creator of the pin used the terms “trout”, “tips” and “catch” at various places in the title of the pin, but not the term “rainbow”. “Trout”, “tips” and “catch” also appear in the pin description but “rainbow” doesn’t. Pinterest seems quite happy to return a partial match to my search rather than returning a full match.
The Creator’s Profile Page
Clicking on the Creator link takes you to the creator’s home page on Pinterest. That page belongs to a business user called “Wilderness Today”. (This is actually the user’s display name that they’ve set in their profile settings, not their username. You can adapt your display name on Pinterest to suit your business. For example one one visit to this profile I noticed that this user had added the tags “Hunting, Fishing, Survival, & The Great Outdoors” to their display name.)
The user describes themselves with the description “We are your authority resource for everything to do with hunting, fishing, survival, camping and the Great Outdoors.” You can see straight away that this user’s profile page is very well organized. Each board is clearly labelled with its topic making it easy to drill down into specific aspect of fishing, hunting, or survival. The title of each board appears in white text on a black background. You can immediately understand the purpose of each board. This is great Pinterest optimization.
(Note: if you are using the Firefox browser and you are not seeing this view it may be because some features of Pinterest are being blocked by Firefox’s cross-origin resource sharing (CORS) functionality. Do some research to resolve this issue or switch to another browser, otherwise many aspects of Pinterest will remain a mystery to you forever.)
While we are here, click the Community link and check the number of followers this user has! The user clearly knows something about optimizing Pinterest!
The Fishing Tips Board
Somewhere within these myriad boards is our original pin. After a little bit of hunting, we find that the pin is pinned to this board:
This board, like all the other boards owned by this user, Pinterest represents it on the user’s profile page by a group of images. On the left is a single black and white “promoted pin”; on the right Pinterest makes a collage from the latest 4 pins to the board. If we look in the board itself we can find the promoted pin. It is actually just a normal pin. The user has promoted it to the role of “cover” in the board’s settings. It looks like this:
Opening the board we find that the user has provided a full description to supplement the board title and further expand on what the board is about: “We could all use some tips in life. If you are a fisherman or fisherwoman, you are in luck, because…”
The user cleverly embeds important “niche” keywords into this description, including multiple uses of the core words “fishing” and “tips” alongside mentions of related keywords like “fisherman”, “fisherwoman”, “beginner”, “expert”, “casting”, and “saltwater”. This keyword smattering helps with search-engine optimization (SEO) both within Pinterest (helping to get pins found) and in the wider online world, for example major search engines like Bing and Google which also index Pinterest pages.
Notice also the use of “hashtags” within the description: “#FishingTipsForBeginnners”, “#LakeFishingTips”, etc. They are not links because, as the Pinterest help pages tell us, hashtags in board descriptions do not automatically become links.
The Original Pin
If we look through the board we will find the original pin:
Clicking on the pin zooms it as expected. Notice that now the name of the name of the pinner has changed. That’s because we are now looking at the original pin, not a repin as we were earlier:
Pinterest Hashtag Search
Notice also that the hashtags here are now clickable links. Click a hashtag to be taken to Pinterest’s search engine. There you will see other pins that share that hashtag in their description:
This is just the normal Pinterest search. Hashtags therefore provide another way of finding and grouping your pins outside of boards. If you add a unique hashtag to each of your pins, you will be able to use Pinterest search to return just your hash-tagged pins. Consider clever hash-tagging to be another good way to optimize you presence on Pinterest.
Linking to the Outside World
Clicking the image in the pin in the Fishing Tips board opens the www.wildernesstoday.com website. The link takes us directly to the article being promoted by the pin:
Abstract Recipe for “The Circus”
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.