How to Create a Reddit-Like Website with WordPress: The Ultimate Guide for Webmasters

Over the past 15 years of building websites, I‘ve found that some of the most engaged online communities emulate key features of mega-popular Reddit.

With over 50 million daily active users, Reddit is one of the largest and most influential social platforms on the web. The site empowers everyday users to submit content, have discussions, and collectively curate the hottest trending topics through upvoting.

As a webmaster, you can tap into this crowdsourced model by bringing Reddit-like features to your own WordPress site.

In this comprehensive guide, I‘ll share insider tips from my experience launching successful Reddit-style communities. You‘ll discover:

  • The advantages of building a Reddit-inspired community
  • Step-by-step instructions to add upvoting, user posts, and discussions
  • Growth hacking advice to attract engaged users at scale

Let‘s dive in and I‘ll show you exactly how we can use WordPress tools to build the next viral platform.

Why a Reddit-Style Community Delivers Big Benefits

At first glance, Reddit‘s barebones aesthetic doesn‘t seem very inviting. So what makes it one of the most addicting website for millions of loyal users?

It comes down to putting community at the core of the platform.

Reddit co-founder Steve Huffman explains:

"The first and foremost thing is community. Everything else stems from that because that‘s ultimately what Reddit provides for people. It provides a sense of community, a sense of belonging. That‘s the core of the whole thing."

This sense of belonging arises from features that enable users to actively participate rather than passively view content.

As a webmaster, you can leverage similar tools to build a dedicated community around your brand or niche topic. This delivers several key benefits:

Harnesses the Wisdom of Crowds

User-generated posts, voting, and discussions collect perspectives from real people with diverse views. This "wisdom of the crowds" effect surfaces the most relevant and thought-provoking content.

A study of 200 subreddits found crowdsourced voting consistently resulted in high-quality article curation. Your community collectively acts as editor to elevate the best material.

Drives Engagement Through Contribution

Participating by submitting posts and commenting engages users more than passively reading alone.

A report found active community contributors visit a website 5X more frequently than average members. They also share content 50% more.

Builds Loyal Followings

Contributors who interact and get recognized by other members feel more affinity to the community.

According to research from the London School of Economics, active Reddit users form significant emotional bonds and sense of belonging to subcultures. Your platform becomes part of their identity.

Unlocks Established Monetization Models

Once your community gains traction, several proven monetization options present themselves:

  • Native advertising – Promoted posts blend seamlessly into content feeds
  • Affiliate marketing – Themed product recommendations appeal to niche users
  • Premium memberships – Special perks encourage users to pay monthly subscriptions
  • Merchandising – Passionate fans purchase branded apparel and accessories

Reddit generated over $100 million in advertising revenue in 2019 alone. Your own unique community can also become a money maker.

Attracts Visitors from Google Searches

Content from engaged communities frequently trends on Google because of the collective expertise.

For example, this SEO study found Reddit results rank highly for 322 of Google‘s top 1,000 searches. Optimizing for search helps your content get discovered.

The bottom line is that taking inspiration from Reddit puts the focus back on your users. Features that empower contribution and participation foster a sense of ownership over the community.

So how can we tap into these benefits using WordPress tools?

Let‘s walk through exactly what you need.

Step 1 – Setting Up Your Website Foundation

While Reddit itself is custom-coded, we can recreate much of its functionality using WordPress plugins and themes.

To get started, you‘ll need to put a few core components in place:

Managed WordPress Hosting

Hosting provides the server environment that your WordPress site files live on.

I recommend choosing a managed hosting provider like Bluehost. The benefits include:

  • Pre-installed WordPress – Hosting optimized for WordPress with 1-click installation
  • Speed and security – Sites hosted on global content delivery networks and protected 24/7
  • Expert support – Technical experts available to troubleshoot issues
  • Scalability – Seamlessly switch to more powerful servers as traffic grows

Managed WordPress hosts like Bluehost offer complete all-in-one hosting solutions for beginners with domains, themes, and tools included.

Domain Name

Your domain is the unique web address that visitors type in to access your site. For communities, short and memorable domains work best.

Using your brand name, a descriptive phrase, or even making up a new word can all produce catchy domain options.

Examples like,, and illustrate how short domains stand out.

WordPress Theme

In WordPress, your theme controls the front-end site design and layout.

Since we want to emulate Reddit‘s style, choose an uncluttered theme with:

  • A minimalist look
  • Responsive mobile optimization
  • Right sidebar for related content
  • Room to showcase voting buttons/scores
  • Spacious layout for comments

Many basic themes like Astra allow customization. There are also Reddit-inspired premium themes available from marketplaces like ThemeForest.

Focus mainly on a simple design. We‘ll use plugins to add functionality.

With hosting, a domain, and theme installed – you‘ve got the core framework to now "Reddit-ify" your WordPress site.

Next let‘s dive into the key plugins that add community-building features.

Step 2 – Enabling Voting with WordPress Plugins

One of the most iconic features of Reddit is upvoting and downvoting. This allows users to instantly weigh in on content.

To enable voting on your WordPress site, install a plugin like:

  • Thrive Comments – Offers upvoting/downvoting and 5-star ratings
  • wpDiscuz – Gives voting on both posts and comments
  • Rate My Post – Adds star ratings automatically to posts

Once installed and activated, go to the plugin settings to configure voting options:

  • Display voting widgets above/below posts
  • Allow voting on comments for deeper interactions
  • Show counts of upvotes/downvotes publicly
  • Enable sorting content by vote score

According to psychologists, voting taps into people‘s innate need for social validation by publicly judging content.

Implementing a similar voting system lays social proof groundwork that encourages visitors to participate on your site.

Step 3 – Accepting User-Submitted Content

The lifeblood of Reddit comes from users sharing links, stories, images, and videos. This crowdsourced content creation saves you work as the site owner.

To easily accept user-generated posts, use a plugin like WPForms that lets visitors submit content for review and approval.

Key steps for managing submissions:

  • Build a post submission form with fields for title, content, tags, category, etc.
  • Set submitted posts to pending before approval to review for quality
  • Send confirmation emails to let users know status of their posts
  • Allow only registered users to submit if you want stricter controls

According to Reddit‘s transparency report, over 73 million posts were submitted in 2021 alone. Your community can also thrive when users actively contribute content.

Just be sure to moderate to keep out low-quality or spammy posts.

Step 4 – Building Threaded Discussions

Lengthy comment threads are part of what makes Reddit such an engaged community. They provide a forum for deep conversations.

Plugins can convert standard WordPress comments into threaded, Reddit-style discussions:

  • Thrive Comments – Offers infinite nesting for comment replies
  • wpDiscuz – Manages large-scale threaded conversations
  • Comment Form with Threads – Lightweight threaded comments

To encourage commenting:

  • Position comment areas prominently below each post
  • Allow voting on comments so best ones rise up
  • Reward loyal commenters with badges and ranks

According to software company Disqus, articles with at least 10 comments average 4X more overall engagement. Discussions boost visibility and visitor interaction.

Growth Hacking Your Reddit-Inspired Community

Once you‘ve built the platform, it‘s time to focus on growth. Here are some proven tactics to get momentum:

Leverage SEO

  • Install SEO plugins like Yoast to optimize content
  • Perform keyword research to target viral topics
  • Embed keywords naturally to improve Google rankings

Case studies show subreddits ranking highly for over 300+ top-searched keywords. You can tap into similar traffic through SEO.

Promote Socially

  • Add share buttons for Facebook, Twitter, etc.
  • Identify influencers and power users to share content
  • Analyze social performance to double down on what spreads

Data shows content that goes viral on social media results in a ~900% traffic increase. Community provides the natural sharing incentive.

Collect Emails

  • Offer opt-in incentives like exclusive content
  • Send targeted broadcasts to engage subscribers
  • Segment users based on activity and interests

Email converts 30X higher on average than social media. Subscribers represent loyal fans who actually want your updates.

Monitor Analytics

  • Install Google Analytics or Matamo to uncover data insights
  • Identify your most popular content and sections
  • See exactly how users browse and interact on your site

Analytics shine a light on engagement and conversions. The findings should directly inform your growth experiments and optimization.

Think of your community website as constantly evolving based on user behaviors. Pay attention to the types of content and features that perform best and find ways to deliver more of that.

The beauty of the WordPress platform lies flexibility. You can tap into the vibrant ecosystem of themes and plugins to provide the exact functionality your members respond to most.

Stay nimble and keep improving the community experience as you scale. The next Reddit-style breakout awaits!

I hope this guide provided a helpful overview of how to use WordPress tools to build your own successful online community. Let me know if you have any other questions!

Written by Jason Striegel

C/C++, Java, Python, Linux developer for 18 years, A-Tech enthusiast love to share some useful tech hacks.