Development | 13 min read
How To Create A Website Like Craigslist And Outperform Your Competitors
What is the right way to build a new website that will draw potential users’ attention? Probably, it may be enough to know the market conditions.
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That is what the Craigslist website did. What type of site is Craigslist? It is a classified ad platform for finding something or post an advertisement. A simple website gained tremendous popularity since it has been created at the right time. And it remains one of the most visited websites.
However, why not try to recreate the success of Craigslist? Even if there are thousands of classified ads websites, you can always do something better and apply several development secrets. Do you want to know how to build a website like Craigslist? Go ahead!
What Is Craigslist?
We need to clear it out to let you understand how popular Craigslist is. Craigslist is one of the most popular websites in the world. It is the 38th world most visited website and the 8th in the US territory. It has a simple and outdated design, and it has not changed since 1995 (when it was created).
Although it seems too old-fashioned, the website is accessible. Craigslist is available in 70 countries around the world. About 100 million advertisements are published there monthly. Two million of them are job ads. What’s interesting, Craigslist is still a non-commercial project.
The USA is the region where Craigslist gained the most significant popularity. Sixty million citizens use this website monthly since Craigslist is the first website users think about when they need to sell something, find a piano teacher, fix a car, etc.
Why Is Craigslist So Accessible?
For a start, Craigslist allows users to choose the state, city, or even district of the town where they want to post an ad or find something. Second, users don’t need to register on a website, but registration provides additional features. Ad posting is free.
Also, it is possible to close the email name, so users prevent themselves from spam. Finally, the rules of Craigslist concerning communication are stringent — any racist, discriminatory, or degrading statements are forbidden. So it is required to keep up with these rules.
Revenue Model Of Craigslist Website
If you are planning to build a website like Craigslist, you probably want to know how you can earn on it, right? Although Craigslist wasn’t considered as a website to make money, it has some paid services. That is why you can use its revenue model to gain a profit.
Posting fees. You can offer users pay for ad posting if they want their ads to appear at the top of the list. The model is rather easy and widespread, so users may benefit from it to sell/buy something or find a job.
Premium features. Provide users with some exciting and useful features for a fixed fee. Thus, users will be able to enhance their experience, improve the interaction process with a website.
Transaction fees. Craigslist allows users to use an integrated payment gateway to pay for services or buy something. The same model OLX applies. And each transaction may include a percentage fee, depending on the amount. However, classified websites don’t adhere to this model often. This revenue type is more applicable to eCommerce websites.
Advertising. You can add advertisements for some other products that will be displayed on the pages of the website. You will be paid for each third-party ad. But when you create a website like Craigslist, don’t forget that a large number of ads will push users away.
Business Model Of Classified Website Like Craigslist
It is worth mentioning that Craigslist is the website that doesn’t adhere to the specific business model. Its main idea was “network first, profit later.” Craig Newmark, the founder of Craigslist, just wanted to build a website with a simple interface that provides users with classified ads.
Word of mouth. Experts think it is a first business model that let Craigslist gain the lead. It is not a business model you can start applying right now, but it is the best model you should strive for. Employers and recruiters started using Craigslist, and they were more than satisfied with its capabilities. They recommended the website services to other people, so word-of-mouth is always effective.
Free classifieds. Unlike traditional newspapers, users could post ads for free. And this model remains working to date. Users like classified websites where they can post any ads quickly and do it for free. If the number of displayed ads is large, then you can charge fixed fees for it.
Minimalism. The goal of Craigslist is to be as minimalistic as possible. It concerns not only the user interface but also its staff — the number of Craigslist employees doesn’t exceed thirty people. So its motto is “you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.”
Adaptation. When you make a website like Craigslist, you need to consider different regions' particularities if you plan to expand your service. Craigslist adapted its website for all countries where it was available since design changes depending on the language. Spanish and English versions will not be the same, so make sure that website is easy-to-read for all users.
MVP Features For Craigslist-Like Website
How to make a site like Craigslist? Must-have feature-list is the first thing you need to know. There is a range of features that must be available by default. Once you create an MVP and the product will become well-received, you can add more features to improve customer experience.
Registration. Craigslist doesn’t require the signup, only if you want to manage your posts. However, we recommend making registration a must-have step since it will help you calculate the right number of loyal users and deliver top-notch services. Make registration easier — social login will be a good option (registration via Google, Facebook, LinkedIn).
Ad posting. The process of ad posting should be coherent and accessible. Depending on the ad type, the form for posting may be different — a job offer, CV (curriculum vitae), advertisement, etc.
Search. Of course, users cannot find something without a search, so mind to add this feature. The search may include additional filters that will help users narrow down the search and find everything faster. As a monetization model, you can add more advanced filters that are available for a fee.
Product page. The name implies that this is the page of the product that users buy/sell or the page as a vacancy from an employer or portfolio of an employee.
Payment gateway. Users become more loyal when they can buy/sell things directly via the website. It is much easier for them. So add credible gateway like Stripe, Braintree, or PayPal to arrange secure payments via your Craigslist-like website.
Ad moderation. Hundreds of thousands of ads are posted on Craigslist daily, and some may contain inappropriate content. You can indicate that content violates the rules of the website, and the ad will be removed. However, it is better to hire moderators who will verify whether the flagged content is violative indeed or not.
Chat. Let users chat with each other so they will communicate more efficiently. Integrate a chat that may work in a real-time mode so users will cooperate faster. The convenience of users is equal to the loyalty increase.
How To Make A Website Like Craigslist
What is your next development step? You have all the required features, but there is a five-step guide on how to make a website like Craigslist from scratch that leads you to success. Check this guide below.
Analyze Existing Classified Ad Websites
Take into account that Craigslist is not the only existing classified ad website. However, Craigslist is the leader, so you need to analyze it and similar sites to identify their pros and cons. Do you want to stand out among the competitors? Then you should meet the demands of potential users and attract their attention to your new website.
Choose A Catchy Name
When you learn how to create a Craigslist-like website, you shouldn’t forget about the brand name. The name should be catchy and work as an earworm — users should remember it, and they must have some associations. You can use brand name generators or resort to brainstorming with a team and come up with a haunting website name.
Create A Unique Value Proposition
As we noted above, your website should provide users with a unique value proposition. The website cannot be a clone of Craigslist since it will have a zero value. Let’s determine the ways for UVP creation.
Choose a specific niche. Analyze the market and think about a particular niche for your classified website. It will be easier to find your target audience and provide them with the expected scope of services. Besides, consider the region you are targeting. Geo-orientation also matters, and we recommend starting with one city or country. In the future, you can expand geographically if the website will grow.
Add more unique features. Basic features are the features that allow your website function correctly, but they won’t be surprising for users. Therefore, add some features like rating/reviews (users can learn more about a seller and the type of product they sell), collaboration with delivery services, etc. Your website should have something that competitors lack.
Think About Greater Design
Despite the fact that Craigslist gained popularity due to its simplicity, the time of raw design has gone by. Today it won’t work. That is why you should focus on building an eye-catching UI design and well-thought-out UX design. The experienced design team from Cadabra Studio knows what users expect and how to amaze them, so we can become your assistant and build a website of your dream.
Development Process: Why You Shouldn’t Use WordPress
How to build a Craigslist-like website without hiring software developers? Let’s be honest. Everybody wants to try existing website builders and build a website on their own to save a budget. Our answer to your question will be “yes.” You can use WordPress to make your website without the skills of developers. However, this method has some substantial drawbacks.
The website won’t be unique. Why? Because WordPress has a limited number of templates. Thus, your website won’t be too different from hundreds of other sites. The clone of the existing website won’t let you succeed and become outstanding.
The number of features is limited. You won’t be able to add any features you won’t since its range is limited. Moreover, some features integration will require the skills of developers.
Performance issues. The WordPress-based website may have performance issues when your website starts growing, and it will malfunction and slower. If you want to scale the site up and make sure that users will have the best customer experience, you need to think twice before using WordPress.
Also, your website may have other problems related to payments, data safety, etc. So you won’t save a budget if you use WordPress or website builders to create a classified website.
You need to reach a dependable software development team like Cadabra Studio, to build your product from scratch, including design, front-end and back-end parts. Your website will be unique, and it will be well-functioning.
Tech Stack For Craigslist-Like Website Development
The number of tools for Craigslist-like website and their type will depend on your requirements and features. However, we can assume approximately what tech stack will be used.
Frameworks & libraries: React, Angular, jQuery;
Databases: MySQL, MongoDB, Redis (database management system);
Web server: Apache;
DevOps: Jenkins, Gradle, Git;
How Much Does It Cost To Create A Classifieds Website Like Craigslist
The cost of developing a website like Craigslist depends on the complexity and size of your future project. Besides, the region where you hire a development team will also impact the final price. So you need to know everything about offshore development and why it will help you reduce development costs.
Thus, hourly development rates in North America may reach up to $200. In North and Western Europe, rates may vary from $75 to $300. Whereas Eastern Europe offers rates between $25-50 per hour, but the quality of the product will be very high.
Ukraine, located in Eastern Europe, provides customers with an average rate of $35 per hour. Our Cadabra Studio company always adheres to quality standards, and we respect our customers.
Do you need a detailed estimate and assistance on how to start a website like Craigslist? Contact us, send us your requirements, and share the vision of your future project. We will help you to turn the idea into a functioning product.