Using Reddit to Grow Your Traffic (and Make Money!)

If you’ve been blogging for any length of time, you surely know the importance of your social media channels. You might also know that many of the major social media platforms, particularly Facebook and Instagram, are not exactly renowned for being friendly to adult creators. Sex bloggers, sex workers, sex toy companies, and others in the adult industry have lost their accounts and had their reach severely curtailed thanks to “shadowbanning.”

Twitter is slightly better, but the Terms of Service are still pretty unclear and they have been known to seemingly arbitrarily bring down the banhammer or slap someone with a shadowban. And that’s before we even talk about the infamous Tumblr Porn Ban of 2018…

It’s safe to say that social media, though essential, is often not the most welcoming place for smutlancers like us.

Enter Reddit.

Though not strictly a social media platform in quite the same way as the Big Three, Reddit functions in a similar way. In case you have somehow managed to be unaware of it until now, Reddit is a huge and sprawling social, discussion, and content-sharing website. It has around 330 million monthly active users.

It’s divided into “subreddits,” which are separate forums based around particular interests. There are subreddits for virtually anything you can imagine, and probably quite a few things you’ve never heard of. (Seriously, spend a few hours doing a deep dive. It’s a wild ride.)

And a huge number of these subreddits are dedicated to adult content in one form or another. It’s hard to say exactly what percentage but one user in the r/theydidthemath subreddit estimated that around 5.5% of Reddit was adult-oriented as of 2016:

screenshot from r/theydidthemath about sex on reddit

In other words, Reddit is not only undoubtedly the most adult-friendly of the major social and content sharing sites, but also an absolute goldmine when it comes to driving traffic to – and making money from – your blog.

How do I know this?

I’ve had a hunch that Reddit was a great place to promote content ever since I was a baby blogger with my now long-defunct first blog circa 2011.

I recently did a deep-dive into my Google Analytics to analyze what’s been happening to my traffic over the last few months and which of my promotional tactics are working. I quickly noticed a huge spike on one particular day, which wasn’t even a day I’d published a post. Upon investigation, I found that one of my lovely followers had shared one of my articles on Reddit that day, and that’s where the substantial influx of new readers came from.

I did a bit more digging and more or less every time either I or one of my followers has posted one of my blog posts on Reddit, there’s been a noticeable jump in the number of visitors to my site for a day or two. The analytics don’t lie: it’s clear that Reddit works as a blog promotional strategy for adult content creators.

Here’s how to do it…

Engage naturally

As with any other social media platform, Reddit works best when you use it in a social way. So join subreddits relevant to your interests, read, engage, and comment. It’s essential that most of your content isn’t promotional in nature so that people actually get to know you.

This means that people who enjoy your comments and insights will follow you and that people will actually trust what you have to say when you do have something to promote.

Your handle should ideally be your pen name or the name of your blog, and your avatar should be the one you use most often. You can link to your blog in your profile. Here’s mine for example:

screenshot of Amy Norton profile on Reddit

Share your articles

Always check the rules before posting, because not all subreddits allow self-promotion (and may or may not consider linking to a relevant article of your own to be self-promotion.) Don’t break the rules – at best you’ll annoy people, at worst you’ll get booted.

Make sure you share articles that are truly relevant to the subreddit’s content. In general, the more specific the better. If you’re a member of a subreddit related to a particular niche kink, for example, you might like to share a piece of erotica you wrote that focuses on that fetish.

Ask other people to share your articles

Having other people who enjoy your content share it is another great way to get it out there. I don’t mean encourage your readers to spam your posts in subreddits (especially if you’re doing this to get around “no self-promotion” rules) but you can absolutely encourage shares on Reddit in the same way you would with any other social media platform. (E.g., “If you enjoyed this post, please consider sharing it to Twitter, Facebook, or Reddit!”)

ShareThis offers a free Reddit Share Button. Consider adding this to the footer of your posts along with your other social media buttons:

share this reddit button example

Making it as easy as possible for your fans to share your content makes them much more likely to actually do so!

Start your own subreddit

I haven’t done this myself, but I know adult creators who have (the Life on the Swingset crew being the first example to spring to mind.) Running your own subreddit can be a lot of work, both to get it off the ground and then to run it when you’ve got some traction going. (Though you can always bring in moderators to help you.) The advantage is that it’s your own little corner of Reddit where you make the rules.

I generally only recommend this if you’ve already got quite a large following. Newer bloggers and smaller sites are unlikely to get the engagement needed to keep a whole forum going. But if you’re interested in building a community and starting discussions around your content, it’s an option to consider.

When people get to your site, give them an easy way to stay connected

Getting new readers to your site isn’t quite the end of the story. A short-term spike in traffic is great, but it’s even better if you can encourage these visitors to stay on your site for longer, view more pages, and become lifelong fans.

Here are the best tricks I’ve found for reducing bounce rate and turning people who find you by mistake through Reddit into loyal readers who keep returning:

  • Create a pop-up where visitors can enter their email address and sign up for your newsletter and new post notifications in one click.
  • Make sure your social media channels are linked prominently on every page of your site so new visitors can follow you.
  • Use an “Other Posts You Might Like” widget at the bottom of your posts. Example:

screenshot of more posts you might like section on a sex blog

Promote your affiliate links (without being spammy)

I covered this in detail in my previous piece for The Smutlancer all about affiliate marketing in the adult industry. Don’t discount the power of Reddit for sharing affiliate links.

The best place to do this is in spaces where people ask for recommendations, most notably r/sextoys. Keep an eye out for anyone asking for recommendations for toys, porn, adult books, or whatever it is you’re trying to sell, and use your affiliate links when you’re sharing your favorites.

Again: read the rules! Some subreddits don’t allow affiliate links at all, while others do allow them but require you to add a tag (called a “flair”) to the post which indicates that you’re an affiliate link user:

screenshot of recommending a sex toy with an affiliate link on redditor A

Have you used Reddit to promote your content? Let us know your favorite tips and tricks!

Amy Norton

Amy Norton is (amongst other things) a sex blogger, digital sexuality journalist, erotic fiction writer and kink community organizer. She lives in the UK with her primary partner and frankly ridiculous collection of vibrators.

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