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Climb to the front page of Reddit in just 6 steps
Billing itself as ‘The front page of the internet’, Reddit (or ‘reddit’ – the company likes to be lower case) has every right to be so sure of itself. Since it was founded in 2005, the California-based social forum and news network now attracts millions of users a month, from 190 countries. The site’s traffic speaks for itself.
It’s getting to that hallowed front page which is the holy grail for redditors, posting in over 7,000 subreddits in an attempt to get to the number one spot. If you’re not a big name doing an AMA – the modern way of doing an interview – these steps might help you up the ladder, if you also get a big push from Lady Luck (see tip 6)…
1. Get the Subreddit right
If you’re posting a joke or comment in an unsuitable subreddit, you’ll probably be downvoted right from the off, and there’s no margin for that if you want to get on the front page. Pick your subreddit carefully, and if you do get it wrong, delete the post and try again elsewhere. As Digital Trends pointed out, “succeeding on Reddit is a process of trial and error – mostly error”.
2. Be funny, interesting, and/or original
There’s no point posting old news or rubbish gags that everyone already knows if you want to get on the front page. In his article “Reddit: how to win the internet”, Tom Lamont notes the randomness of front page posts – the science behind goosebumps; tips on using Sellotape to remove smudges from drinking glasses; a photograph of a commuter reading a sex guide on the subway. Literally anything can get to the top, but it helps if it’s intriguing, unique and clickable.
3. Choose a good headline
There’s no hard rule to this, but do be aware of what sort of headline suits your content and subreddit. For news posts just using the headline of the article or a punchy quote is usually best. For fun posts, try to be witty, such as in this example cited by Digital Trends: “The headline of this post is ‘Great pic of the Apple store on 14th st.’ It was posted in the /r/NYC subreddit, which implies that it’s a photo of the Apple Inc. store. But it’s not. It’s just a regular apple stand. Mildly clever, but it garnered more than a 1,000 upvotes in under a day.” Oh, and for pictures use Imgur – an image-hosting site created for Reddit and trusted by the community.
4. Time it right
Although a global community, the majority of Reddit users post from the US (68%). So theoretically the best times to post are first thing in the morning and first thing in the evening in the US. In fact, according to one user, the exact best time to post is 7pm (Eastern Daylight Time) on a Monday night.
5. Keep trying
Reddit uses a ‘hotness’ algorithm to rank every single post according to its ‘virality’. It’s very complicated, but basically, as explained in this article by Business Insider, posts older than around 12 hours hardly ever appear on the front page. The first six hours are the most crucial, and you need to get your first 10 upvotes almost instantly. If you do get to the top, don’t try to analyze it; just enjoy it, it’ll be fleeting.
6. Be lucky
When all is said and done, it’s luck that you need on your side. Whether a social media post goes round the world is mostly down to the viral gods. Even if you follow tips 1-5, you’ll still be shocked, lightheaded and a bit delirious when your post flies up to the number one spot on ‘the front page of the internet’, overtaking an AMA with, say, the President and making you the king of the world wide web. For a hour, anyway. So good luck.