Reddit Basics

It’s good to keep some basic facts about Reddit in mind before you start trying to promote your product or service on it. Reddit is – or likes to think of itself – as a community made up of thousands of different subreddits, each of which has their own name, focus, “crowd” (Reddit members are almost always subscribed to various subreddits, and thus overlap in some of them.)

Reddit’s traffic overwhelmingly comes from the USA and the wider English-speaking world – even in the subreddits of European countries such as Italy or Germany, a good part of the subscribers will be English speakers. We have another article that talks about posting times on Reddit.

Reddit’s system is designed in a way that favors submissions that receive more upvotes than downvotes in a short amount of time. Seems logical, right? If no one has upvoted your submissions or commented on them within a few hours, you can consider that submission dead and its chances of rapidly gaining popularity and exposure slim to none.

Reddit’s algorithm does not favor hours-old posts with little engagement, or with more downvotes than upvotes.

This applies to sorting by “hot” submissions, which is the default sorting style and the only one that most visitors to Reddit will ever use. There are other ways to view submissions (namely, by sorting by “controversial” posts), that show you submissions that have more even ratios of upvotes to downvotes.

You should aim to provide relevant, useful content that is original and not a rehash of the first few results of a Google search. Easier said than done, of course, but your target audience will appreciate it.

It’s crucial that you don’t even hint at or suggest your own personal gain in the submission – there are some posts that manage to combine obvious self-promotion with a good reception from Redditors, but they are the exception and not the norm.

Redditors hate being advertised to, especially if they feel that the promotion is being done in an underhanded way.

Getting Started With Reddit

In the span of three days, I submitted two links to Reddit that made the front page. What making the front page means is quite simple: a ton of traffic.

Around 20,000 visitors in fact.

Social bookmarking sites can either be a boon or bane to your website. That’s because, if you do it right, your traffic can skyrocket with the appropriate application of some simple rules.

There’s always an element of chance, but if you follow these tips to the letter, you’ll have a great opportunity to really augment your website’s traffic.

Make it good

I’m sure you’ve heard the webmaster’s adage, Content is King. This holds just as true for social bookmarking sites, especially Reddit. If your content doesn’t hold up, you will get downvoted mercilessly.

Make it good, and you’ll be well on your way to traffic nirvana.

Know what they want

Reddit is pretty easy to figure out. They love pictures. If you add [PIC] to the end of your anchor text, you’re in quite good shape.

If that’s not what you have though, make it political. Reddit has two congressional heroes: Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) and Ron Paul (R-TX).

So when writing about politics, make it either left-wing or libertarian and try to include either of those names in your headline.

Sensationalize your headline

That’s right. Throw out any journalistic precepts you may or may not have brought to the table.

Capturing the Redditor’s attention is your primary objective, and a cold and sparse statement of fact will rarely do the trick.

Choose wisely

With Reddit, you can choose a subreddit to which you submit your content.

These range from politics to pics to funny memes to WTF. As you’re not supposed to submit duplicate links, you essentially have one shot at this, so make your choice wisely and consider your audience.

Time is of the essence

The members of your audience are human and thus goes through the natural cycle of waking and sleeping.

In other words, don’t submit your content in the middle of the night, because no one will read it. Based on your target audience, there’ll always be a best time to post.

Reddit uses a formula including the number of points (upvotes minus downvotes) and time since submission to determine the placement of your link on its site.

That means that you should submit at a time with a large interval of high traffic ahead of it. I would recommend a weekday at either 9 in the morning (people surf during work) or 9 at night (people surf at night).

And that’s pretty much it. If you go in knowing what you’re doing, Reddit can be your best friend.

Now go out there and make the most of it.

How to Get More Visitors from Reddit

A large proportion of the Reddit crowd is fazed and has seen just about everything done on the Web.

So the best case scenario is that your content is unique and refreshing. To make more out of your average or not so unique material the following pointers will at least give you an edge over competing submissions.

Be Controversial

Reddit visitors can vote up or down for your submissions. Downvotes can also be of advantage as this gives your submission extra exposure in the Most Controversial sections. This again gives you extra views and clicks.

Get a Discussion Going

This can tie in with point 1 of being controversial. Getting a discussion going in the comment section of your submission helps to gain more exposure and votes, often generating multiple return visits to your link.

Put some Thought into your Link Title

Short and snappy or long and detailed? Every type of submission fairs better with different styles of link title. I have found that single page picture or video submissions do better with a short maybe 2-word title than a long descriptive sentence.

The opposite goes for text submissions. This again is my own experience so you should closely monitor your submissions and the style of titles used to judge for yourself and emulate the best content/title style matches.

Monitor the Time of your Submission

While monitoring your submission you should also take note of the time. Traffic amount and type on Reddit differ greatly during the day and also week.

Factors such as office hours and habits of your target demographic play into the perfect time of day to submit. e.g. Will your link be of interest to the guy at work, the stay at home mum or the (maybe) drunk college student at 2 in the morning?

Map out your submissions and note all important factors that play in. After a while, you will have a good idea of content type/time of day results.

If you do not see the desired results fast enough, don’t be tempted to register endless amounts of accounts to vote for yourself.

It is better to have one solid account with a good reputation that actually pulls some weight when submitting.