How to launch a startup on Reddit

I managed to bring 100,000+ visitors to my websites with Reddit, without spending a dime and barely any followers. Here’s everything I know.

I brought 100,000+ visitors to my websites with Reddit, without spending a dime, and no followers back then.

Reddit is a gold mine. But it’s also easy to make mistakes, break the codes, and get banned.

Here’s everything I know. And a short building in public update.

Estimated reading time: 4 min 36 sec

Building in public update

I packed 7 years and trial and error in ShipFast and launched an MVP in 7 days.

People loved it. It made $38,000 in 4 weeks so I decided to build new features.

Too many ideas… So I polled Twitter.

1,000 votes! This is such a great way to know what to focus on.

So I dived in and learned the NextJS App Router. It’s now available in ShipFast!

How to launch on Reddit

1. Reddit codes

With 1.6 billion monthly active users in 2023, Reddit is one of the biggest community out there. It has a strong culture and codes you want to follow to get the most out of it. Let’s start:

Reddit hates spam. Redditors will downvote and report your post (unless it’s allowed in some subreddits) and sometimes even threaten you. So you have 3 options:

  1. Promote free projects

  2. Only post in ad-friendly subreddits

  3. Disguise your paid service into a free one (more on that later)

Reddit hates emojis. I still don’t know what, but avoid them.

Reddit has a strong sense of community. Once your post is accepted and gets traction, people will expect the OP (Original Poster, you) to reply and even make updates on the product/app/service. It’s great to get valuable feedback, so make sure you have a few hours ahead of you who you post.

Reddit is always ON. Some of my posts went viral at 4 p.m. Bali time (when most of the world is asleep). I don’t think it matters much when you post, so don’t overthink it.

Finally, all subreddits are different. Some allow ads, but most don’t. Some require you to be a member for months before posting. Make sure to read the rules before you post.

2. Best subreddits to get traffic

If you need some inspiration, here are all my submissions on Reddit since day 0.

- r/InternetIsBeautiful

One of my apps got 47,000 visitors in 24 hours from just one post. This subreddit is about fun and novelty apps made on the internet. You’ll find apps you’d never thought of. It feels like TikTok somehow.

Posting there is easy, you just need your link and a title. Your title needs to be very sharp. I used this formula all the time and it works well:
“I made a site to [benefit for user]”.

Tip: Create 10 variations of your title. Send them to 5 friends. After 24 hours, delete the message and ask your friends which headline they remember. Pick the most remembered.

Be careful though, no promotion is allowed. But there are a few ways to bypass this.

  1. Use a special URL parameter to hide your paid plans and only show the freemium ones. Like this:

  2. Replace your pricing with an email collection form and send a free lead magnet.

There is no optimal but that’s the best you can get from this subreddit. You can also re-activate your pricing table after going viral. Your post will get banned in the near future but you’ll get a few sales.

Other marketing channels to get customers and grow your micro startup:

- r/dataisbeautiful

It’s exactly the same type of subreddit as r/InternetIsBeautiful but for data-specific projects. If you can show some cool data charts with your app, give it a go!

- r/SideProject

This is a big (and growing) subreddit of like-minded people. It’s similar to our 𝕏 indie community but on Reddit. Users provide good feedback and most importantly it’s ad-friendly. C'est genial!

The best way to climb up the feed is by posting a video of you demoing your product. Explain why it exists, what’s in it for the customers, and how you built it. Your title is also very important. Remember the previous formula? “I made a site to [benefit for user]”

Do not include your website link in the title. Instead, write a first comment, introduce yourself, and add a link to your website there.

You’ll get thoughtful replies and feedback, make sure you reply to all of them!

- r/Entrepreneur

This is a community of entrepreneurs and wannabes. Promotion is not allowed, so you can’t directly share your startup.

But you can share an interesting and valuable entrepreneurship story. People will be curious and ask questions, then you can plug your startup (if it’s relevant, otherwise don’t).

The subreddit is so big, you can expect good traffic if your story picks up. I got about 2,000 visitors in 12 hours with this post.

Other subreddits

There are tons of subreddits. Find those who fit your market, join the community, read the rules, and start engaging. If you play well for long enough, you’re almost guaranteed to get traffic when you post.

3. Your Reddit profile

Your profile shouldn’t be like an 𝕏 profile. Redditors hate ads, remember? Avoid salesy descriptions, just say what you do. Also, avoid using your real profile picture, use an avatar (if you unlock one) or nothing.

Just like everything else, Reddit gets easier and easier as you keep posting. You’ll get karmas and authority in subreddits, increasing the chances of going viral.

Whenever you're ready, there are 5 ways I can help you:

  1. ShipFast: Ship startups in days, not weeks with the NextJS boilerplate loved by 1,500+ developers.

  2. LaunchViral: Grow your startup with viral launch videos.

  3. IndiePage: Join 3,000+ solopreneurs and showcase your startups.

  4. PoopUp: Turn your visitors into customers with wake-up call popups.

  5. ZenVoice: Stripe invoices without the fee

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