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“Follow the plan outlined here and you can create your own website from scratch without writing any code for less than $300.”
Want to make a site like Craigslist?
With WordPress, you can create a beautiful and feature-rich classified ads website without touching a line of code.
Not only can you make this site without writing code, but you can do it all yourself. No hiring developers or outside help is required.
Even better, the gorgeous and profitable site you create will cost under $100 to build, including the domain name and hosting.
Excited to build your Craigslist-style website? Keep reading…
How to create a site like Craigslist
There are five steps to create a website like Craigslist:
- Purchase a domain name
- Get web hosting for your site
- Install WordPress
- Choose a classified ads WordPress theme
- Launch your site
In this tutorial, I’ll help you get a domain name, host, and theme to create your classifed ads website.
I think you’ll be impressed with how attractive and customizable your site ends up being. Not to mention, all the awesome monetization tools that come included.
Let’s start with the domain name.
Get a domain
You’re probably familiar with the concept of a “domain name.”
This website’s domain name, for instance, is competethemes.com. You’ll need one for your site as well.
Buying a domain name is simple; the hard part is finding an available domain name. It’s probably no surprise that after decades of global use, the availability of domain names has greatly dwindled.
If you want to find a name that is relevant to your business and memorable, you’ll need to get clever. That’s why I wrote this guide on finding available domains.
Employ the tactics in that guide, and you’ll have no trouble finding a domain name that is memorable and still available for registration.
Signup for hosting
When someone visits your domain, the contents of the site need to be delivered to them, and that’s what hosting does.
When you pay for hosting, you’re renting space on a server that will deliver your website’s content to visitors when they arrive at your domain.
While there are hundreds of hosts to choose from, I recommend Nexcess for WordPress beginners.
Nexcess is an awesome host because they give you top-notch performance and beginner-friendly tools.
Not to mention, they automatically create a WordPress site for you when you signup. No installation required.
Once you’ve signed up with Nexcess, you’ll already have a live website on the domain of your choosing. The next step is to select a WordPress theme.
Choose your WordPress theme
Normally, WordPress themes are used only to change the style of your site and plugins are used to add new functionality.
But in this case, I’ve got an all-in-one recommendation, Lisfinity.
Lisfinity is an extremely impressive WordPress theme. It’s been designed from the ground-up to create classified ad websites, like Craiglist.
Let’s take a quick look at both the design and features included in this premium theme.
The listing page is perhaps the most important aspect of the design.
Lisfinity has an excellent layout for listings and search results.
In this example, for a real estate site, the ads are listed in cards across the right side, and the search filter options are available in a thin left sidebar. Visitors can quickly narrow down their search based on the zip code, number of rooms, square footage, and more. It’s instantly familiar and effective for browsing results.
If the visitor clicks on a result, they’ll see the individual ad page.
The ad page includes an image gallery, pricing, how much longer the item is available, plus tons of additional meta information. Design details like the colors and logo are easily changeable, but the layout will be mostly the same for your site.
You might be wondering now if Lisfinity only works well for boats and houses, and how it could be adapted to other products, such as cars or electronics.
Well, the Lisfinity developers have created an ad management system that is powerful enough to not only handle any type of product, but to handle a wide range of products and services on the site all at once.
A classified ad site is essentially a search engine.
But unlike Google or Bing, the search bar isn’t the most critical feature of your site. The most important feature is the search filters.
For example, visitors will likely prefer searching for a car by selecting the make, model, and new VS used, rather than entering “Ford” into a search bar.
But to get those search filters onto the site, it means that every car listing needs to have data entered for the make, model, and new VS used status. Lisfinity makes this possible with its custom fields and category builder.
With this system, you can create a “cars” category and then add custom fields for the make, model, and mileage. Then every time a member lists a car, they simply fill those fields out during their submission.
This functionality is the backbone of the site and Lisfinity handles the data way better than most other solutions.
Beyond the category and custom fields system, Lisfinity has a lot of valuable monetization tools too.
You can create pricing tables allowing members to submit ads for free or any price you decide. It’s up to you how much it costs, how long their ads stay on the site, and how many different pricing tiers there are.
Furthermore, Lisfinity includes amazing upselling tools. While members are creating their ads, you can upsell them a featured placement on the site.
They get more visibility, and you get more revenue. This can be incredibly complex to add to a theme yourself, so it’s fantastic that Lisfinity includes all the functionality to accept payment and implement their ad in the purchased position on the site.
On that note, Lisfinity doesn’t roll out its own eCommerce platform. Instead, it requires the WooCommerce plugin to handle the payment processing and foundational eCommerce functionality. This is a smart idea since WooCommerce is very reliable for handling purchases after years of use across millions of websites.
Lisfinity also has member dashboards, image upsells, and more features for a classified ads website, but I want to keep moving along with this guide. You can learn more about Lisfinity here if you want to continue exploring its features.
While I think Lisfinity is the best option to create a site like Craigslist, it’s certainly not the only viable theme to choose.
I have more recommendations in this collection of classified ad WordPress themes.
And if you want to add this type of functionality to your existing WordPress site without changing themes, you could instead add one of these classified ad WordPress plugins.
Customize and launch your site
With your site online and Lisfinity installed, the only steps left are to customize and launch your site.
Lisfinity is packed with tutorials and the developers offer excellent support for customers, so you’ll have no trouble there. It will take time to set up as it’s a complex theme, but you won’t be required to write code or do anything technical.
Once your site is prepared for launch, you can follow this guide to begin attracting new visitors and vendors:
For a classified ads website, you should work on getting traffic from both social media and search engines. Make sure to encourage your members to share their ads on their social networks to help increase the reach. Add social share buttons to make this easier too.
To attract more search engine visitors, I recommend checking out these SEO tutorials, which will help you target keywords and optimize your WordPress site for higher rankings.
Creating a site like Craigslist isn’t so hard with WordPress and the amazing modern tools made for the platform. I hope this guide has inspired you to make your site and get started today, rather than waiting or putting it off for months.
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