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How To Post an Ad on Craigslist

Posted by Jamie on August 30, 2017

One of the main reasons behind the success of Craigslist is the ease of use. It is simple to browse ads in your city and to post an ad. This is the platform’s biggest strength and biggest weakness. Today I’ll show you how to post an ad on Craigslist, but more than that. I will show you how to post a successful ad on Craigslist. There is a big difference between the two.

Spend longer than five minutes on Craigslist and you quickly see that ease of use works against it as much as for it. The sheer volume of spam ads, scams, phishing expeditions, fake ads and general rubbish on the platform is a real pain. To find a genuine ad often takes time and patience.

If you want to post an ad on Craigslist and for it to be successful, you need to stand out from this detritus.

Post an ad on Craigslist

You don’t need to have an account to post an ad but if you’re planning to post a number of them or keep posing regularly, it pays to have one. It helps build credibility on the platform and raises the potential of your ad being published. While it might not look like it, Craigslist goes to a lot of trouble to weed out the spam and you need to work with the system in order to avoid being flagged as such.

Then:

  1. Navigate to the Craigslist website.
  2. Select the Post to classifieds link in the top left.
  3. Select a category and then Continue.
  4. Select any criteria in the next page and then Continue.
  5. Select an area if applicable and select Continue.
  6. You should now see the main posting section. Here you add your title, description, area, zip code and any extra detail. Select Continue once complete.
  7. Add images to help describe what you’re offering. Multiple images get more attention but your mileage may vary. Select Continue once done.
  8. Look over the ad, edit if necessary and click Continue.
  9. Agree to the T&Cs and select Accept.
  10. Complete Captcha if one appears, otherwise hit Publish.

If you don’t have a Craigslist account, you will have to confirm your email address before your ad goes live. Log into your email and click the link within the email to confirm your address and make the ad live. You should see a message that says something like ‘Thanks for posting with us, we really appreciate it!’ Give it a little while and you should see your ad listed.

Depending on where you live and how busy Craigslist is in your area, it could take from 10 minutes to an hour to see your ad listed. If you saw the success message above, it will appear at some point.

How to post a successful ad on Craigslist

There is a big difference between just posting an ad on Craigslist and posting a successful one. As you can see, there are thousands of spam ads on the site and you need to stand out from the crowd.

Write a great headline

Try to encapsulate the offer in the headline if you can. A good headline will be descriptive but also create curiosity. For example, if you’re selling a car, rather than just ‘1996 Honda for sale’ make it more interesting. Something like ‘Much loved classic 1996 Honda Civic for sale, manual, LX in brilliant white’.

Already you are creating an emotional context to the ad which should attract more viewers than the usual rubbish on the site.

Keep the description short and to the point

For a Craigslist ad to be successful, it needs to include everything someone might need to want to spend the time and gas to come and see it. There are hundreds of one liner ads that tell you very little and I seriously doubt many of them are successful. Why would someone waste their time?

So using the car example above, tell the reader why you are selling it and everything about it. Think about what you would want to know about the item in question and list that. Also, look at other ads selling the same thing and use them as a template.

Use good images

The more expensive something is, the better and more numerous the images should be. Nothing sells stuff like a good picture so you need to get them right. Show different angles, any specifics pertinent to the item, any damage and anything that may influence or otherwise affect a buying decision.

Get the price right

Finally, getting the price right is critical in any classified advert. You need to price it high enough to give you room to negotiate while still making what you want. You also need to price it low enough that it either competes with or undercuts the same or similar items. You will have to research other ads and other items for sale in your area for that one.

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