Reddit, the self-proclaimed front page of the internet can be a great source to drive traffic to your blog and get feedback. I only started being active in some of the subreddits that are relevant to programming and photography in the recent months, but it’s been a great experience, especially because of all the cool comments and critique of my posts!
How to use reddit or any social network for that matter for traffic is probably a hot topic anywhere, but I want to get into more than just gaining visitors. I actually have gotten some of the most valuable feedback as a blogger from posts on reddit and hacker news.
My most clicked post was a political piece about Obamas comment on allowing phones to be accessed by government agencies without restriction. Most hits came from Hacker News, but reddit was a factor too.
What is reddit?
Reddit is a very classic and simple board where users can post links or text-posts, comment on them and you can up and down vote. It’s like a like and dislike function.
The board or forum is segmented in subreddits or subs. They are usually referred to with /r/$subredditname_here, which means if you talk about /r/copenhagen, you’re talking about the Copenhagen subreddit which is located at reddit.com/r/copenhagen.
Usually subreddits though are not created by location, but by interest, which makes it interesting for you as a blogger, because you connect with a potential 100000 people at once, that are into the same, sometimes very specific stuff, as you are. Also they’ll engage with it in their free time, when they want to engage in that interest.
Now, as a small explanation, usually I get less hits in the weekends, than in the weekdays. That’s because I blog about boring topics that people need for work or studies, so for me getting a lot of hits in the weekend is very exciting.
What Subreddit to Post in?
Now, this is quite a tricky part, because you don’t want to waste peoples time by posting something that’s not of interest to them. Most sub-reddits have posting guidelines or how to tag linked posts. The Cosplay subreddit for example clearly states:
All posts that do not adhere to this rule will be deleted without warning: For all posts, please begin with the label [Self], [Found] or [Help]. This applies to all posts. If it is about you, you created the cosplay, etc. then use [Self]. If you found it somewhere on the internet use [Found]. (If you took the photo, use of [Photographer] is fine. If you wrote the article please use [Author]) If you’re asking for help or advice on a project etc., use [Help].
Be sure to follow subreddits rules when you post to them, believe them, they have their reasons for requiring what ever they want you to do, to avoid spammers, unrelated content and so on.
As you can see the same post can perform very different depending on which subreddit you post in. Depending on the length and work I put into a tutorial these days, up to a third of my traffic can come from reddit:
Best Feedback for Bloggers
Feedback is amazing and on reddit, you can be sure to get some. Some of it will be harsh, some of it will just be a single line going like:
please kill yourself.
but hey, everybody has a bad day. 95% of all the comments I get are either praise or criticism that points something out to get me further, to make me learn about something and so on. So don’t be afraid to post, don’t be afraid to be criticised for every last word of your blog post either.
I’ve received some incredibly nice feedback over the last months and also some feedback that pointed out I did something wrong or suggestions how to make my posts better, for example:
Thanks, this is something I’ve been wanting to learn
Good writeup. Never really taken the time to mess with SSH keys.
I’m fairly green to this malarkey, but your post is helping to gradually break down the barrier in my head that’s stopping me from understanding.
on something I posted recently How to use SSH keys for Authentication (for beginners).
Other comments were not so friendly, but questioning what it had to do with the programming languages subreddit that I was posting in or complaining about my digital ocean referral link, the majority though, were upvotes and other friendly engagements on the posts.
Kickstarting a Blog with Social Referrals
We had launched the blog for about a week when we posted our pictures from Comic Con Copenagehen 2016 on reddit, when it was picked up on the cosplay subreddit and gained a bit of traction. I honestly have never seen or expected that we’d receive 4000 hits in the first week, but again: There are communities for almost everything on reddit 😉 What do you know!
Where do you Promote your Blog Posts?
Now you know which subreddits I frequent, where do you post and promote your blog content? What have you experienced in terms of comments? Are people harm- or helpful? Has it gotten you a thicker skin or did you consider stopping it all together?
Also, feel free to follow me as jonathanmh on reddit 😉
I’m very thankful for all the people taking the time to read, to comment, to up and downvote. I’m still baffled how clearly I can see when I have not blogged, but when I have posted it on reddit: