You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who has access to the internet that hasn’t heard of Reddit. Founded in 2005, it is made up of user-generated content (text, video, links) that as a whole is essentially an online bulletin board system. As of 2020, there are 400 million “Redditors” and over 1.3 million subreddit communities. With an ever-increasing number of subreddits to choose from covering topics like U.S politics, to even the bizarre like /r/BreadStapledToTrees, a subreddit whose content is self-explanatory, you might be wondering—are there ways to increase traffic to your website by using Reddit?
The good news is that yes, there are. If you run a website, you might think you could just join Reddit, post your content in subreddits related to your niche, and then get a chunk of those 400 million Redditor eyeballs on your website, right? Not so fast.
Using Reddit to drive website traffic is a different beast than Facebook, Twitter, and most other social media platforms. This is due to the fact Reddit is made up of individual communities, and just like real-life towns and cities, they each operate differently and according to their own rules.
So today I’m going to show you the right way to go about using Reddit to drive website traffic. Because if you take the time to craft your presence on Reddit organically, you will reap the benefits of building trust within these communities of Redditors and will be able to share your content for the long-term.
How to Increase Traffic To Your Website By Using Reddit
The way to increase traffic to your website by using Reddit is simple. You need to post your content and actually have real people be interested enough in the content to click it.
While the above statement is true, if using Reddit to drive website traffic was that easy, and if that formula provided a significant amount of traffic, everyone and their mother would be doing it.
The repeated posting of your content is only going to get you a lot of angry Redditors downvoting your posts, and might even get you banned.
But how can this be possible when the State of Reddit Marketing Report showed that 50% of the content in top subreddits comes from links? Why would you be banned for posting your content?
It’s because you’re either doing one (or multiple) things wrong when posting your content links.
However, there are ways to post your content authentically on Reddit. First things first, you want to join subreddits related to your niche.
Join Subreddits related to your niche
To make these tips more streamlined, all of my examples are going to be related to the r/Maine subreddit. It’s one I’ve been very active in over recent months.
Let’s say I’m a travel blogger that focuses on the state of Maine. So I join the r/Maine subreddit, a community of over 42,000 people.
Step 1 is done.
Additionally, it’s a good idea to join other subreddits that relate to your topic.
So as a travel blogger that covers Maine, I could also join r/Mainebeer, r/MaineFood, r/SkiMaine, and maybe even r/NorthernNewEngland.
It might seem counterintuitive to join the subreddits of other neighboring states of New England, like r/vermont, r/newhampshire, and r/massachussetts.
But after doing a little research as a Maine travel blogger, I discovered that the vast majority of tourists to Maine are from these states.
So it’s a good idea to join them as well. Those states make up the majority of Maine tourists, so they’d be perfect candidates for Redditors who might be interested in Maine travel articles.
Read the subreddit rules
Reading the subreddit rules is an absolute must. Hard stop, no matter what niche you’re in and whichever subreddits you join, there are almost always rules.
Not following these rules can result in your posts being removed. Or worse, the moderators could permanently ban you from the subreddit. And if that happens, no one will see your articles…
So, read the rules! These are typically on the right sidebar area on desktop. On mobile or in the Reddit App, they are located in the “About” tab.
Below is an example of the r/Maine subreddit rules. There are 9 different rules, and each has their own collapsible drop-down explaining them in detail.
Engage in threads by upvoting and replying to other Redditors
Alright. So now you’ve joined your niche’s subreddit and related subreddits, and you’ve also read the rules.
Congrats! Now it’s time to engage in these communities.
Pro tip: Do not share your content after you join a new subreddit! Give other users some time to get acquainted with your presence in the community and see what you have to offer. This will build trust and make other Redditors more likely to appreciate your content when you do post it in the future.
Below is an example of a thread posted by a Redditor named Randy in the r/Maine subreddit who is telling other Redditors a heartwarming story of how he is graduating high school and now realizes he is going to miss Maine when he leaves. It’s received a lot of engagement from other r/Maine Redditors.
This is a fantastic example of a post that doesn’t offer any immediate ROI or opportunities to post my Maine travel content, but engaging in the thread will make my presence in the community known.
Build trust by posting unique topic threads with non-promotional content
So you’ve been engaging in your niche’s subreddits by upvoting and commenting on Redditor’s threads.
The next step is to post on your own. If the first thing you post (even after you’ve commented on other’s posts) is your own content, other Redditors may be turned off by that.
In r/Maine’s rules, rule number 7 explicitly prohibits “Excessive self-promotion.” The rule says that Redditors “should contribute to the community in other ways if you plan on regularly posting your own content. Post other articles, comments, etc.”
So as a Maine travel blogger, what should be my first post?
Here are some ideas for this specific niche, but try coming up with similar ideas in your own niche:
- A news article relating to the topic
- A photo or video relating to the topic
- If I’m from Maine, I can post about my experiences growing up there.
- If I’m not from Maine, I can talk about a trip I took.
- Restaurants that I liked, breweries, sightseeing experiences, etc.
The ideas for a first post are definitely abundant if you think of them long enough. You can also look at which posts in your subreddit get a lot of engagement for inspiration.
Posting something that isn’t your own content is going to show the Redditors in your subreddits that you are authentic and not trying to “push” them a piece of your own content right out of the gate.
Apply to be a moderator in subreddits
The next step is applying to be a moderator of a subreddit.
This step is optional, but it’s one that can give you great leverage if you use the title responsibly.
Additionally, if you’re busy creating content for your website, moderating a subreddit might consume more time than you anticipated. Especially if it’s a small subreddit that only has a few moderators.
That being said, if you’ve become well-respected in the subreddit based on the quality posts and comments you contribute, becoming a moderator will only add to your authority in the eyes of the other Redditors.
This way, if you (tastefully and sparingly) post your own content in the subreddit, it is less likely to be removed by the other moderaters. And if you get approved to be a moderator, that shows that the community already respects you enough to allow you to moderate.
So if you’re up for it, go for it!
Promote your own content sparingly
This next step is the golden rule for using Reddit to drive website traffic.
Promote your own content sparingly.
How do you promote your own content the right way?
Below is a great example of a Redditor who actively promotes their oil paintings in the r/Maine subreddit.
The first thing you should notice is that the original post contains no links to purchase the oil painting, nor is it pushing for an explicit “sale” of the work.
The post has 469 upvotes and 20 comments. I’ve been a member of this subreddit for 8+ months and have seen a dozen of this user’s oil paintings posted in the community.
None get taken down.
This user is incredibly smart in the way they go about promoting their own content. A quick peek in the comments reveals this user’s strategy.
Another user comments, “I would buy this.” It’s only then the original poster replies and says, “You can buy it, this oil painting is for sale.”
This is a strategic way to advertise this user’s oil paintings without explicitly asking for buyers or pushing a “sale.”
The same could be true for a piece of content. Maybe a user is asking for the top hikes in Maine’s Bold Coast.
As a Maine travel blogger, I happen to have written an article on that same topic. Without even having to post a thread promoting my content, I could respond to the original post with a link offering the information on the top hikes.
Tip: The best way to do this is to list the names of the top hikes in the comment itself, and then linking to the article at the end of the comment in case they wanted to read more.
Be authentic—not pushy with a clear-as-day motive of trying to get someone to read your articles.
Are there additional benefits to having a presence on Reddit?
Believe it or not, there are other benefits to having a presence on Reddit outside of using it to increase traffic to your website.
There are other publishers who have written about how they use forums like Reddit / Quora and Facebook groups to source “expert” information from people.
Depending on your niche, you can actually use Reddit as a knowledge base for article topics. This strategy can work for many niches.
Let’s say you’re in a Goldendoodle subreddit. You have an article idea for the top 10 toys for Goldendoodles. Wouldn’t a community of Goldendoodle owners on Reddit be a great place to ask for this information?
I’d say so. Plus, it makes the information more unique. Of course, you should verify as much info as you can in your own research. But sourcing expert knowledge on niche topics without having to resort to reading other articles on Google is always a huge plus.
As a Maine travel blogger, this post below is showing a breakfast from a popular deli in Winslow, ME. To me, this sparks a content idea.
I could write an article on the “Top Breakfast Spots in Maine.” Then, I could ask the subreddit what their favorite spots are, and research each accordingly to create the list for the article.
Will using these tips for Reddit increase traffic to your website?
To summarize the steps for using Reddit to increase traffic to your website:
- Join subreddits related to your niche
- Read the subreddit rules
- Engage in threads by upvoting and replying to other Redditors
- Build trust by posting unique topic threads with non-promotional content
- Apply to be a moderator
- Promote your own content sparingly
While Reddit isn’t most publishers’ main driver of traffic, it’s a source that many website owners often overlook.
In reality, these tips are tried and true methods that will allow you to authentically engage communities that are actively interested in your niche.
Treat the Redditors like the real people they are, and they will likely do the same for you and your content.
Do you have any questions on how to increase traffic to your website by using Reddit? Let me know in the comments.
Allen is a published author and accomplished digital marketer. The author of two separate novels, Allen is a developing marketer with a deep understanding of the online publishing landscape. Allen currently serves as Ezoic’s head of content and works directly with publishers and industry partners to bring emerging news and stories to Ezoic publishers.