There are a lot of different social news sites out there but personally I feel there are only two really worth investing time and effort into; Reddit and Stumbleupon. I’ve broken them down by site and then list how to get the most out of them.
How to get max traffic from Reddit
Hands down, one of the best sources of good, quality traffic anyone can use is Reddit.com. Forget the rumors that Reddit is going away or that it’s not what it used to be.
Reddit has the potential to drive more traffic to your site than another other unpaid source I know of. The trick is knowing how to use it.
Here is a crash course on getting Reddit to actually work for you.
The initial steps are like any other member driven site where you simply register and start using it. The first part is simple.
The second is also simple to do but where most people screw up. You do not simply post a link to your article and watch the traffic roll in. Unless you get lucky, there is a lot more to it.
You need to first understand how Reddit works, how its community works and give careful consideration to where you post things and how you post things.
To understand how it works, you really just need to know three simple but important things:
- 70% of all users on Reddit are from either the UK, USA, or Canada. This means for your link to have a chance to go viral, chances are you will want to post something that will be of interest to these demographics.
- Reddit is made up of many, many sub-Reddits. Think of these as categories, but are actually more like clubs. One sub-Reddit is Technology. Pretty straight forward what should get submitted here. Then there are more obscure ones like Shower Thoughts. These are just random, thought-provoking (and sometimes funny) people have supposively while in the shower. There are sub-Reddits on all different things so find one, or a few, that your link will fit into. I’ll talk more about finding the perfect one later on. For now, just do a search for a keyword your article might fit well in.
- Every user account is ranked by age and karma. Aged accounts tend to do better when posting links and accounts with more karma tend to do better. Reddit does not talk much about this and depending on what you read, some people will say it will help or does not affect your post. From what I have found, it helps a lot, so create an account and start collecting karma before you start posting.
So with those 3 basic tips, anyone can be a Reddit master, but let’s break down each item a little more and talk about how to use these things to your advantage or hack the system to make them work for you.
Catering to the masses – It’s a basic rule of thumb. Give your audience what they want. So if most of all Reddit users are from the UK, USA, or Canada, talk like them, post about things that interest them.
What I have found is that an article with a title with “WTF” in it tends to get a lot of attention. Attractive article titles are a must. If people don’t look at it, they won’t click it. Look how many post there are on Reddit.
25 per page and countless pages that are updated every second with new posts. Find something that will stand out. *Caveat – and this is important – No clickbait.
If you are not familiar with the term, it’s using titles like “You Won’t Believe What They Found In This Car!” Keep your titles descriptive so people know what they can expect when they click your link.
Avoid stupid things like using more than one exclamation mark or writing your titles in all caps. This just comes off as tacky and immature. If your article title is not interesting on its own, don’t publish it until it is.
If you are reporting on something topical, do it quick before someone else does. If members of a community or moderators see duplicate posts, they will remove yours.
Sub-Reddits – This is how Reddit is broken down and what can make or break your post. Do some searching and find a good sub-Reddit(s) for your article. Before you post anything, I strongly consider you taking the following into consideration. This will ensure better success in the future and prevent your account from being banned.
If you have just been skimming this chapter, please be sure to spend some time reading these key points:
This is probably the most important rule to adhere to. If you have a blog that you plan to post articles from into Reddit on a regular basis and it’s articles fit into one or two sub-Reddits, start out by trying to be as active in that subreddit as possible.
What this means is once you find a good sub-Reddits, start out by simply commenting and upvoting other posts within this category. After a few days, try posting links from various well known resources before you start submitting your own.
This means post articles from Mashable.com, ESPN.com, or HuffingtonPost.com. Websites that people will realize are not your own. This is key to coming off as a valuable member and not some newbie spammer.
Believe me, you can quickly get banned from a sub-Reddit, get your domain name banned, or worse yet, get your entire account banned for posting just links from your own site(s).
The general rule of thumb is one of your links for every 4 site links that are not your own. Do not take this suggestion lightly.
Start out with any sub-Reddit by reading the rules. Every sub-Reddit has its own rules and each one is different.
Some only allow text posts, some photos, some video, etc. Failing to not follow the rules just once can get you banned from that sub-Reddit.
Spend time watching what others do and what does well in your subreddit. Pay careful attention to what posts get listed on the TOP page, which ones get lots of comments and upvotes.
Also see which posts don’t get upvotes or ever get past the “New” page.
Learn to craft your titles based on what works. Again, all sub-Reddits work different so know your subreddit before posting.
Tip: You can post your link to more than one subreddit. This will take some time to get to know what sub-Reddits work, but once you do, post your link to a new sub-Reddit every 15-20 minutes. Trying to post too fast will look spammy and can get you banned, but posting to more than one sub-Reddit increases the possibility of your link going viral or at least getting more eyes on your post.
Since there are so many existing sub-Reddits with new ones popiung up daily, consider using redditlist.com to find a good sub-Reddit for you.
There is also http://www.searchreddit.com/ which helps you search for sub-Reddits related to your niche.
Reddit doesn’t always show the best ones so use other tools to help you find what’s trending or best suited for you.
When first looking at a sub-Reddit and considering posting to it, look at a few things before making a decision. How many members are in the subreddit?
This is not a great indicator because it does not mean they are active, but it does show that there is a lot of (or little) interest in that subject.
Now there are two schools of thought on this. With fewer people in a subreddit, you have a chance to be a big fish in a small pond.
Or you can look at it as fewer eyes on your post.
Consider mixing a few small sub-Reddit groups in with larger ones when you create your list of sub-Reddits you plan to post to.
A better indicator is how active a sub-Reddit is. How fast does an article move down from the top of the “New” page.
The more active it is, the more you will need to post at prime times in hopes that people see it and click on it or upvote it.
If you see a sub-Reddit that has not had new content in days, run away and don’t look back.
Leveraging Stumbelupon traffic
One of my first great sources of traffic came from Stumbleupon. If you are not familiar with the site, you register as a member and select categories you’re are interested in. From there, you surf web pages that have been submitted within those categories.
You can give the article a thumbs up or down, or just choose to “stumble” to the next one.
As a publisher, you can easily submit a blog post or article of your own to the site and submit other articles you enjoy, essentially creating a list of articles you like and think are worth sharing.
If you submit an article and it gets a few “thumbs up” from other visitors, chances are it will be shown to more visitors, potentially growing to thousands of views.
I’ve had articles that seem to have got stuck in their daily showings and received thousands of hits per day for months.
Just keep in mind that for every article of mine that went viral like this, I’ve probably submitted 20-40 that received almost no traffic.
Don’t get discouraged, just keep at it.
The pro’s to getting an article in Stumbleupon (let’s call it SU from now on) is that is can provide a lot of traffic, increasing your chances of banner clicks.
Articles that did well for me could get 10,000 views and return $20-$40 per day from banner clicks. Not bad!
The con’s to SU traffic is that no matter how good your article is, it may not get traffic.
And the ones that do get traffic may show a really high bounce rate in your Analytics since people on SU will typically look at your one page and move on to the next one.
Some people try to avoid a high bounce rate because the search engines tend to look at that as people visiting your page and not finding what they want, so it could get ranked a lot lower.
If you goal is just to get banner clicks or crazy traffic, then SU could be a great source of traffic.
One note about getting the best possible traffic to your post: SU has over 100 categories you can submit to.
Definitely take some time to find the right ones for your article but also do some research and see what categories have the most members.
For me, I was posting in the category ‘Humor’ which has one of the highest member counts of all of their categories.
When creating your articles, consider tailoring some of your sites content towards several different categories and keep track of which ones work best for you and do some testing before committing to one or two.
Something to think about when submitting articles to SU is that for every article you post, it would be good practice to submit at least 3-5 articles from other websites.
If they see you posing too much from one site, they can blacklist the site, not allowing any articles to appear in their site, essentially halting a potentially great source for traffic.
Do not think I’m just saying this because their terms and conditions state this. It’s happened to me personally. I’ve had one account suspended and one website blacklisted by SU.
It can be really tempting to submit more and more from your site once you start seeing the traffic come in, but consider only submitting one article per site per day and remember to submit other sites.
You can look on Fiverr for SU gigs that offer to “thumbs up” your article from several different accounts.
I have tried this using several different people and not had good results. I don’t know if SU is on to what they are doing or it was just coincidence, so try it at your own risk.
In theory it should work great but I don’t have any facts to back that up.
There are however “upvote” groups you can find on sites like BlackHatWorld.com where people put Skype groups together in order to get the group to upvote or thumbs up Stumbleuon and Reddit posts.
I’ve had pretty good results with these, although it will depend on the group you get into. Give it a try and see how it works for you.
One of the best tips I can give you in regards to using SU is to get an account and start stumbling. Upvote, downvote and just be active.
I generally tell people to signup and spend a week just stumbling before submitting anything.
Although I don’t have hard facts to back this up, it seems to have worked well for the people that did it compared to those that did not.
If there are an social news sites you’ve been able to leverage good traffic out of, I’d love to know what they are and how you got the most of out of them, so please leave a comment below if you have suggestions.
Photo by Matthew Guay on Unsplash