Fake it ‘Til You Make it (Or Don’t) Part 4: Are We All Catfish?
By Gemma JoyceSep 20th
Published October 13th 2017
Reddit is the 9th most popular site in the world and sees hundreds of millions of visitors every month. Signing up as user and getting involved is one way to participate, but creating a subreddit is another.
Due to Reddit’s open nature, anyone can create a subreddit around any topic they want (within reason). So if you want to set one up, how do you do it? Our full guide explains it all.
Let’s get the easy step out the way. If you want to create a subreddit, you’ll need an account first. Just head here. Depending on the purpose of your subreddit, it might be a good idea to set up a new account—particularly if it’s for a brand. It’s always good to keep personal and business accounts separate.
That’s about it on that one. The account doesn’t have to be active and can be created for the sole reason of running a subreddit.
Now we get to the interesting part. What subject do you think deserves a subreddit? Considering there are subreddits on everything from expansive subjects to the most niche jokes imaginable, you can create what you want.
For a start, it’s best to do some research and see what’s out there already. We’ve got a list of subreddit analytics tools which will do the job for you, but even a cursory search on Reddit itself is a good start.
There’s nothing wrong with starting a subreddit similar to an already existing one, but it will be harder to get subscribers. Of course, if you think you can do a better job, then go for it.
Have a think about what you’re trying to achieve. Is it just for fun or is there a more serious end game? This will be useful in deciding on a topic and how you frame it.
Once your account is ready to go, just navigate back to the homepage and click on ‘Create your own subreddit’ on the right side of the screen. Or you can just head straight here.
That will send you to a form with the following sections to fill out. We’ve included some explanation for each to make sure you get everything right first time.
This is not just the name of the subreddit, but will also create the url for it too. So if you wanted a subreddit about how much you love dogs, you might choose ‘ilovedogs’. The url for your subreddit will then be: reddit.com/r/ilovedogs. This choice will be permanent.
This is pretty self explanatory. You might keep it the same as your name, so ‘I Love Dogs’, for example. This will also be the page title as well. You can change this whenever you like, so don’t worry too much for now.
Here’s your chance to explain what your subreddit is about. This won’t appear on the subreddit itself, but will come appear in Google and social media descriptions. Keep things to the point and remember that in search results, descriptions can only be so long. You can test the length here.
Here’s your chance to get into a bit more detail. Anything you put here will appear on the sidebar of your subreddit. This sidebar appears at all times, whether it’s the front page or in the comments of a description. You can change this down the line, but you want to include a good introduction, links to relevant info, and any rules you want to set for the subreddit.
Submission text is what users will see just before they click submit on a link or text post. You can put whatever you like here, but it’s usually a good idea to remind people of relevant rules and reminders. For example, some subreddits require you to add a flair or leave a comment including certain details.
There are some setup options here. Just so you’re aware, ‘text posts only’ means exactly that. No one will be able to submit any links at all; they can only write something in text and submit that. There are numerous subreddits that do this to stop spam, or because it wouldn’t make much sense, such as for an advice subreddit like /r/Relationships.
The other two boxes allow you to change what appears on the submission buttons. Nice and straightforward.
Reddit offers the ability to create a wiki for your subreddit. Generally, there’s no point for smaller ones, but for the large communities that get complex, they can be really useful. If you’re unsure, just leave the wiki option disabled for now. You can reactivate it later.
If you do decide to have one, you can then set up restrictions on who can edit it. We suggest being pretty stringent on this unless there’s a specific reason to do otherwise.
This refers to how it takes for a submission’s upvote/downvote score to appear to everyone. This is often used to stop users from being influenced by other people’s scores. It’s not essential but can keep things a bit more natural. Experiment a bit, but ten minutes is a good place to start.
Nothing too complicated here. This just sets a colour for your subreddit when viewed on mobile. Not hugely important but good for keeping everything in sync.
Now it’s just a matter of time until the subscribers start pouring in. Well, maybe anyway.
The first way people will find you is through the search functionality of reddit. This is why it’s good to have clear titles and descriptions. Subreddits can be a great way to grow your community if you manage to jump on something before it becomes popular.
For example, you might have discovered a series of books and created a subreddit. A year later they become hugely successful films. If you’re all set up, anyone searching this topic on Reddit will find your subreddit.
For more obscure subjects, like rubber ducks, there’s unlikely to be much search traffic around that. In that case, you could set up some paid ads to bring people to your page (this is something /r/RubberDucks has done). Reddit ads are pretty cheap so take a look, chuck a bit of cash in, and see what happens.
Posting about your subreddit elsewhere is a good shout as well. Make sure you’re not being spammy though. Keep an eye out for relevant places to post about your subreddit or threads from within it. If you get it right, you can generate a huge amount of subscribers, particularly if you get a highly voted comment on a big thread. Keep an eye on /r/AskReddit when people want subreddit suggestions.
Finally, word of mouth always helps. Ask your subscribers to get the word out when they can. Ask them to invite new people or share it on other social platforms. This can work wonders.
In the end, most of the time it’s going to be a slow build, but once the numbers start rising, it’ll be all worth it to have a thriving community you built yourself.