Reddit: the Secret Sauce for Traffic

What is wrong with me?? Oh, sure, I’ve dabbled in social sites like Delicious, primarily using them for social bookmarking. But it wasn’t until a few weeks ago I joined Reddit.

Reddit the secret sauce for traffic

Not that I wasn’t familiar with the network, I was, I just hadn’t jumped in. If you, like me, had heard of Reddit, but have no idea how it works, it’s pretty simple. People submit stories, photos (primarily through its sister site, Imgur) and links. Ones that are cool get upvoted, and ones that are not so cool get downvoted. The ones with the most upvotes rise to the front page of Reddit, getting them even more exposure. You can also comment on any post in Reddit as well, and give your opinion, or argue your point.

Reddit is broken down into thousands of sub-Reddits. There is literally a sub-Reddit for any topic you can possibly think of. Animals being Bros? Yup, there’s a sub-reddit for that. Additionally, Reddit is probably most famous for its AMAs (Ask Me Anything).

So… as a blogger, how can this help you? Well, let me tell you a story.

A few weeks back, I was obsessively checking my Google Analytics (as you do), and noticed a tiny percentage of my social media acquisition traffic was coming from Reddit. I thought that was interesting, because I didn’t belong to Reddit, and I’d never posted there. In other words, Reddit is not part of my blog marketing plan. So, just for curiosity, I decided to join. I read a ton of articles online so that I wouldn’t do something stupid, and then I slowly dipped my big toe in the Reddit waters.

Now, for this particular example, I’m going to use my food blog. over at Cooking By Laptop, I post quite a few recipes that are vegan. I joined a subreddit called Vegan Recipes, and began posting to it–not even my own content at first. Other people’s vegan recipes that I thought were cool. I began interacting with and answering questions people were posting in that forum, and upvoting other people’s content.

Basically, I jumped in and became a team player. Only then, after a few days of doing that, did I post a link to one of my own recipes. Let me show you a couple of charts.

Google Analytics Reddit

See those spikes in traffic? Those were days I posted to Reddit. There were days when it doubled, tripled, or quadrupled my average daily traffic.

Two weeks ago, Reddit didn’t even register as an option on this chart of my social media acquisition traffic, and it’s now the #1 source of social traffic to my site.

Google analytics social media aquisitions reddit

Crazy, right? I’ve never seen anything like this.

So, I’m understandably pretty excited about this, and I imagine you are too. But before you all run off and get Reddit accounts, you need to slow your roll.

Reddit is very, very high maintenance. I cannot emphasize this enough. You have to proceed very carefully. They will shoot you down for the tiniest thing. Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve posted a couple of links I didn’t think were spammy or self-promoting, but they were taking down for being so. Be careful. You don’t want to get banned.

Here are some best practices when it comes to Reddit:

  1. Join it as a social network and put some time in. Search out subreddits that excite you and join them. Comment on people’s stuff, upvote things. In other words, do the work. Participate. Show up. You’ll also begin to work on your score, which will help to make you look like not such a newbie.
  2. Start to post some interesting posts or links, but not yours. When you post for the first time to a subreddit, the moderators are pretty suspicious about people who are posting for the first time. When you start to post, make sure you are posting (relevant) content from a variety of different sources. Basically, be a part of the community.
  3. Write interesting headlines. You have quite a bit of space to write your headline, it’s what will attract people to click the link. Make it count. Have a sense of humour. Here’s an example of one I posted:reddit
  4. After a while, you can start to slowly integrate your own links into what you’re posting. One article I read said to post 9 other articles to Reddit for every one of yours. Make sure your content in relevant to the subreddit you’re posting in.
  5. Beware the hug of death.  Reddit has been known to break websites! They even have a name for it: The Reddit Hug of Death. So go slowly, don’t rush.

Here are a bunch of other articles about this for you for further reading.

I’d love to hear if you’re on Reddit, and if you have seen an increase in traffic since you have been on it? Let me know in the comments below.

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Rebecca Coleman

Social Media Marketing Strategist, Blogger, Author, Teacher, Trainer. Passionate foodie, mom to Michael, fueled by Americanos. I love my bike. Soon-to-be cookbook author. Localvore with a wanderlust.

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