How to Design a Subreddit for Your Own Business, Service, or Program

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how to market on reddit

Subreddits are – unknown to many – free to create and customize. Just like we might create our own forum or Facebook group, a subreddit bears many similarities to these platforms.

  • It has a theme: we can designate what type of content and discussions are appropriate and which are not.
  • It has rules: we can warn users ahead of time about what type of content, discussions, and general social etiquette will be removed or approved.
  • It can be public or private
  • They can be discovered (if public)
  • They’re free to create
  • People can post any type of media
  • They’re easy to share

Businesses can – and have – created subreddits for a variety of reasons:

  • Startups can grow faster and more efficiently when users can easily and quickly share their feedback and suggestions, along with developers/designers being able to ask direct questions to users for improving/adding/removing features.
  • Larger brands can create subreddits for the sole purpose of a game or contest which many redditors are fond of.
  • A common theme is to create a subreddit based on specific community contributions; such as tips, guides, photos, etc. For example a plumbing company might create a light-hearted subreddit for anyone to post pics of leaky faucets or broken water pipes. While the content itself is humorous in nature, the sidebar could display links and helpful information provided exclusively by the plumbing company. With enough popularity/traffic they could actually get some referrals and social traction, which is pretty impressive for a plumbing company.

Creating a subreddit, step by step

The only pre-requisite to creating a subreddit is having a reddit account. If you don’t have one already, simply create one – it’s free and easy.

On the homepage, in the right-hand sidebar, located and click the create your own subreddit button.

create subreddit button

Next, you’ll be greeted with a table full of customization options. To learn what each option does, simply reference the image below:
options for customizing a subreddit

Thousands of subreddits have their own unique customization. It helps personalize the experience and add variety to the collection of communities on reddit. For example, let’s peek at the Apple subreddit:

apple subreddit customization

The notable up and down arrows, navigation bar, logo position, links, colors, and sidebar are all completely customized. As such, the out-of-the-box style for a subreddit is pretty bare-bone. Let’s use a fictional example for a business that might not seem reddit/social media savvy, like a tax or legal firm. While we could simply make a subreddit to post our own content like guides, tutorials, and videos, that would defeat the communal nature of reddit. Isntead, we might go with a theme like “tax tips” – yeah, let’s go with that.

After filling out the settings and name for our subreddit, we get the bare-bone layout  you see below:

taxtips demo 1

While most business owners will be passing off the actual design onto their capable CSS-gurus, the following should prove as a helpful reference when attempting to target and alter the main elements and features of a subreddit.

A quick and popular way to implement a custom subreddit theme is to install Naut; a pre-built, modernized CSS framework.

In just a few minutes I had a custom header running and the rest of the theme styled with Naut:

customtaxtips

This can make it easy to go in and change all of the self-explanatory classes to our desired styles. As far as content goes in this example we’ve created an opportunity for tax and legal professionals of all corners in the world to contribute advice and tips. This presents opportunities for accounting firms to collaborate and contribute relevant content. Many of them already have helpful strategy and guide sections, such as tax strategies for business owners, but they could be grabbing more exposure contributing them to a highly trafficked community.

If the Naut style doesn’t suit your taste consider checking out a variety of other themes you can simply download and implement for your own subreddit.

As far as starting from scratch goes, let’s go from the top down. In general you’ll find it useful to have the reddit styling wiki up in tandem with the information below.

Tips & Links for Customizing from Scratch

To view all of the main selectors you’ll be using click here. This includes everything in the HTML, body, header, content, link listings, rank, vote area, score, thumbnails, entry, and comment area. This is what your in-house designer or coder friend will want to reference if you’re not attempting this yourself.

Customizing the logo:

The default logo image is 120×40.

The modified version can be of any dimension or file size, but is recommended to keep it no wider than 300 and shorter than 100. The file size is strongly recommended to be within 100Kb as not all users have 10MB+ connections.

Customizing arrows: view this guide.

A good size for the header background: 1920 x 180

Customizing the submission page:

Please refer to this guide to access all the elements on the submission page. This includes:

  • Tabs: link & text
  • Submission content body
  • Description
  • Title box
  • URL box
  • text box
  • reddit box
  • Submit button (you can also view this wiki for more details on custom submit buttons in the sidebar).

Other helpful code snippets you might need:

  • Change the “readers” and “users online” fields
  • Hide down vote arrows
  • Highlight post titles that contain a specific word (you could use this to allow members to filter between advice and tips)
  • View all common snippets here.

I hope that helps as I know that there are not many resources packed into one place when it comes to customizing subreddits. Hopefully this will provide you, as a business owner, with enough options as far as delegating the task out to someone in-house/freelance. For those with basic knowledge of HTML/CSS it should be relatively simple to download one of the ready themes and set it up for your own subreddit.

If you have any questions or tips for more resources, feel free to share below.

Jesse Aaron
This monthly Reddit column is contributed by Jesse Aaron. Jesse is a professional blogger with a passion for homebrewing. In his spare time Jesse enjoys redditting, brewing beer (as you may have guessed), slowly learning Python, and reading (currently reading Infinite Jest). His biggest inspiration is the satisfaction of building something from scratch. While challenging and time consuming, the rewards are unmatched. +Jesse Aaron
Jesse Aaron
Jesse Aaron

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