I discovered Reddit.com a few weeks ago. It is a website that allows users to submit links to other websites containing content of interest to the person making the submission. I’d heard about this site through other websites during my often superficial quest to promote my own website. It seemed easy enough. If I submit a link to my own blog, those who were interested in the topic would click through to my website. No harm, no foul. Needless to say, my primary purpose for opening the account was to promote the content on my own blog, while also surfing links on the site for information that I was interested in. I’d also joined Twitter and Mixx for the same reasons. I am very new to this style of marketing and soon realized that marketing through these websites was not quite as easy as it seemed.
The first couple of links I submitted to Reddit brought crazy traffic to my site, relatively speaking. It was crazy compared with the usual traffic to my site. I thought maybe after a few submissions not only to Reddit, but also to Twitter and Mixx, I’d get some people that would like my site and possibly return occasionally or maybe even subscribe. I’d done the same with Twitter and Mixx and although I’d get some traffic from those sites, it was nothing that even remotely compared with the Reddit referrals.
So, I’ll admit that, in the beginning, my submissions to Reddit consisted solely of my own postings. I’ve been noticing that, as I become more involved with writing content for Aspire to Grace, I have a lot less free time to ‘surf’ the net and take full and proper advantage of sites like Reddit. Since I am not surfing like I used to, I don’t stop to read some of the more interesting things that I might have found worthy of submitting before. It is ironic because I need the Internet for information-gathering more than ever now that I am trying to establish my own little proprietary space here, but the more that I commit to harvesting that space, the less time and energy I have to indulge in the Internet’s vastness. Nowadays, I feel that I only have the time to do very targeted searches, which doesn’t leave much for me in the way of absorbing information strictly for entertainment or creative value. It is the latter that I’d much rather submit to a Reddit or Mixx. But, for now, I must focus on educating myself and marketing this site. It is a conundrum.
What I have realized now is that there is a code, an etiquette even, to using sites such as Reddit and Twitter. The community moderates your presence. In the case of Twitter, the number and quality of the people following you are an indication of how you are received by the Twitter community. On Reddit, it is the stay power of your link submissions.
Soon after I began making submissions to Reddit, I noticed that my submissions would disappear. When you make a submission to Reddit, your link starts at the top of the ‘new’ page and people can vote it up or vote it down. Based on what I’ve read about Reddit, your link disappears if enough people vote down your link. So, whereas before, my links would remain on the page long enough for many people to click through the link and go to my website, as evidenced by the numerous referrals I would get from Reddit, soon, my links were not even lasting one minute on the ‘new’ page. Since they would disappear so quickly, barely anyone would have time to click on the link if they desired. So, my traffic numbers went from 30-35 referrals from Reddit, down to a mere 2 or 3. Not significant traffic by any comparison to more established sites, but considering that my site has been up now for less than two months, it was quite significant to me. I felt like, at the very least, if I could continue to attract this traffic to my site frequently, some of that unique traffic might turn into repeat visits and subscriptions.
I don’t know exactly why my submissions are being rejected so consistently now. It is rather frustrating. The conclusion that I have come to is that Reddit users are turned off by ‘blogspam,’ self-promotion of a website by that website’s author. I’ve been trying to read up on how the Reddit site works and will take an educated guess as to the following:
- Reddit users want to see interesting and unique content
- Reddit users reject blogspam and the self-promotion of websites and products
- Reddit users are very interactive and very finicky
- A user must respect the etiquette and interests of the Reddit community in order to be respected
While in my quest to find an explanation for why my links were mysteriously disappearing, I found this article by Chief Happiness Officer author Alexander Kjerulf. His article, entitled “Reddit made my blog a hit” caught my attention. He talks about how his site went from under 2000 visitors in a month to over 22,000. This article both excited me, because I know what potential is there, and angered me, because I was being prevented from taking advantage of this potential. But, there is one thing that Mr. Kjerulf explains in his article that I failed to do. He urges users to start slowly, getting a feel for what Reddit readers want and what the etiquette is on the site. He also suggests submitting other unique articles first, learning how to write titles for links that are more likely to be accepted. Finally, he recommends eventually submitting your own links and says that, according to Reddit rules, its ok to self-promote. Although, Mr. Kjerulf’s article was published in 2006 and I suspect that the netiquette of Reddit has changes significantly since that time.
I’ve gone from being confused to being angry at the sudden decline of my credibility on Reddit. Now, I’ll regroup and do a better job at playing by the Reddit rules. I’ll be persistent and hopefully, I’ll be able to see one of my own posts on the Reddit front page soon enough.
Have you ever used Reddit to promote your own site?