RedBubble is one of my favorite websites. I spend a lot of time browsing the awesome range of designs available in any niche you can imagine. But, every now and then I find myself thinking, hey, they should try this, or that. So, I’ve collated all of those ideas. They are pretty much just in bullet point / short sentence format, but hey, I just wanted to get it all down.
Yo, @RedBubble, you may, or may not already be making use of a number of these tactics, but if you find something useful in the mix, high five!
Traditional On-Site SEO
Search engine result titles and descriptions (as specified in title tag and meta description) aren’t always great. This is especially the case on category / feature pages.
For example, this is the RedBubble snipper when I search for dinosaur t-shirts:
First the title, it does not read well to me.
Dinosaur Funny: T-Shirts & Hoodies – What?!
Wouldn’t Funny Dinosaur T-Shirts & Hoodies look / feel better?
Next the description, it doesn’t read well, or make sense to me.
High quality dinosaur funny related t-shirts – What?!
Where’s the unique value proposition, where is the call to action?
Canonical / Parameter handling in GWT
All products have colour / item variations, that when define can add many parameter to the URLs.
I note canonical URLs have been set on product pages, nice one. There is also a tool available in Google Webmaster Tools, URL Parameters, that can help control which URLs on the site should be crawled by Googlebot, depending on the parameters that appear in these URLs.
There is no XML sitemap in the default location. However, I would not be surprised at all if there was one located in a different location. If not, despite the magnitude, I would suggest implementing them.
No doubt site search is configured for Google Analytics, this is an awesome source for discovering what users are having trouble finding / content for features / identifying trends etc.
A/B Test Product Pages / Checkout
This could be a massive post in itself. So I won’t go into detail but… test all the things!
Markup All the Things!
RB have product markup in place, which is a good start. But there is much more that can be marked up, see schema.org. Logo markup is the latest that Google is promoting.
There are some awesome tutorials and interviews / features on the blog. However, consistency seems to be an issue. For example, there have only been 2 tutorial posts, and 1 artists interview during 2013.
Blog Post Author Box
Implement author boxes on blog posts. Currently, there is no way to learn more about the author, read more posts by them, or follow them on social media.
Gamify Artist Profiles
Many artist profiles are blank. By encouraging artists to create fleshed out, unique profiles, user experience and search engine performance will be impacted. This can be done with percentage complete meters, and calls to action when the artist logs in.
Better Product Descriptions
In the same vein, many product descriptions are blank or extremely short. Again, meatier product descriptions are beneficial for both users and search engines.
Tags are often underused or misused. Education and suggested tags may improve use.
Allow artists to define background image, which is the product close up area that sits behind the t-shirt. The default does not always look best and often cuts off the focus / most important part of the design.
On a side note, image file names could be improved, ‘fig,white,mens,ffffff’ does not tell bots a lot about what that image is.
More Visible Social Sharing Buttons
Other than the Facebook like button, all social media sharing buttons are hidden under a generic share button. Encourage users who are active on Twitter / Google+ / Pinterest / or Tumblr to share content by making these buttons more visible.
When a user adds an item to their shopping cart, or begins checkout, test suggesting other products that other people also bought – the ol’ Amazon trick.
Better Widget / Embed Options / FB Integration
I know there is an existing widget available, but it is quite hard to find within the menu system, I had to use the search / faq to get to it. Make this easy to find! Also, integration with Facebook that uses a custom tab to browse / buy via Facebook would be great.
Social Media: Facebook
All of the posts on FB that I saw were either images with links to products, or quotes. There is no user engagement that I could see. Why not ask users to vote on their favorite designs on x theme, hold a competition, ask a question etc?
I also noticed RB is using bit.ly for link shortening / analytics tracking. Why not use a solution that allows use of your own domain for shortlinks?
Coming back to engagement, I can see the analytics for each of the bit.ly links shared on FB by simply add a ‘+’ to the end of it. Despite the huge following on Facebook, these posts aren’t exactly setting the world on fire.
Take advantage of Facebook insights / analytics to post more of the content that has been successful on FB previously. Also, don’t forget to include a call to action!
Social Media: Twitter
Unlike Facebook, it appears Hootsuite / Ow.ly is being used for link shortening for Twitter. Wouldn’t it be preferable to use just one link shortener?
Social Media: Google+
It looks like RB gave Google+ a shot, kind of. The account was both started and ditched in Feb, 2012. It wasn’t handled very well by the looks of it, just a bunch of blog post links, you wasn’t to use big, sexy image posts for starters. I’d suggest getting back on board as Google+ has come a long way since. There are many active communities on G+ that RedBubble designs do well with. The audience is here, RB should have an active presence here.
Brand consistency seems to be lost across the social channels. Facebook and Twitter look very different. Both the logo (!?) and background images are very different.
The Twitter and Facebook markup implementation is well done, I especially like how products are embedding in twitter. Nicely done.
There is a lot of scope for testing new ads (there always is!)
Example #1, RedBubble Adwords ad when I search for dinosaur t-shirts:
Just like in the organic search results example, this is missing unique value, and a call to action.
I suggest testing specificity (amount of designs available, and price) and a call to action, “shop now”, “browse now”, “see them all”, “get yours here” etc.
Also, what’s with the random ‘Custom-Shirts’ display URL?
Shouldn’t that be ‘/Dinosaur-Shirts’?
The issue with this ad is that the it neglects the search query. The title is heavily branded and does not mention dinosaurs or t-shirts. The description mentions dinosaur shirts, and at least has a call to action in ‘shop’ and ‘now.’
I also note that this ad is utilising ad extensions, however, they aren’t relevant to my search query.
Side note: RedBubble Product Listing ads look good, but you might test bidding higher to appear first and perhaps more than once. I see competitors owning this space.
A number of t-shirt sites retarget me around the web. I’ve not seen any ads to suggest that RedBubble take advantage of retargeting.
Let’s take it up a notch.
Has a visitor added an item to their cart but not checked out? Or have they viewed a specific item a number of times but not purchased? Why not give them a friendly reminder about those awesome products with dynamic retargeting – showing them ads featuring those specific products with dynamic retargeting.
Test SEM Landing Pages
A/B test paid search landing pages. I noticed currently the trending products page is used. Try testing this against sorting by time popular and best selling.
The classic 20/80 rule applies to just about anything, including affiliates – 20% of affiliates will generate 80% of affiliate sales. Reward top performers with commission increases, bonus incentives, vouchers for use in giveaways. Identify and work closely with promising affiliate to attempt to increase performance.
Reach out to successful artists without a presence on RedBubble. Checkout DesignbyHumans, Threadless, Dribble etc for awesome, successful artists. Outreach with an offer to help set them up on RB. Include info about traffic / sales volume RB receives and give them a challenge to try RB for 90 days.
And… that’s a wrap!