Business owners may not realize how many people use Craigslist to look for employment, gigs, products and services. Some business owners may not know how to post on Craigslist, or how much money and time can be saved in the hiring process, or even how simple it can be to add a logo or image. Well-written advertisements, including employment "want-ads", stand out on Craigslist. Don't waste resources and time wondering how to post on Craigslist when a simple set of instructions can walk you through it. We present a primer on this popular online site, along with specific instructions on how to post on Craigslist.

Purpose of Craigslist

In the last two decades, online marketing has become a part of every business plan: even sole proprietorships with very limited clientele. Advertising, which used to be controlled by newspapers, magazines and professional marketing companies, has gone mainstream and become available to anyone. Craigslist began as a way for a small group of people to share information, like an electronic bulletin board. Business owners who are new to the intricacies of advertising can capitalize on information about how to post on Craigslist. The site is ideal for a wide range of users who are stepping into the business world.


A Brief History

Craigslist is an online platform for buying and selling, hiring, and posting almost any type of personal or business ad. The old newspaper ads are now Craigslist ads. Craigslist began in 1996 when a man named Craig (Newmark) began a simple distribution list for a few friends, and it mushroomed from an email distribution list to a major, international platform for commerce. Craigslist has grown to service approximately 10 million individuals daily and is available in almost any mid-sized US city. Cities around the world participate, too, with over 70 countries currently using Craigslist.

Local Rules

When learning how to post on Craigslist, in fact the city is the most important place to start. The genius of Craigslist is that it is local, free, and keeps regulation to a minimum. Most of all, it's simple to learn how to post on Craigslist. Today, site traffic is busy, with 20 billion views per month. Craigslist became popular quickly, and it continues to explode even as its original format has remained unchanged.

Buying and Selling

Since Craigslist was originally meant to be a simple information exchange. The graphics are minimal, and the site is designed for functionality. When learning how to post on Craigslist, it is difficult to make a mistake. The site gives plenty of opportunity for editing and previewing your post. The most straightforward way to post is under the category of "selling" in which a business or individual can offer to sell a service or product. The seller simple identifies the sale as "by owner" or not, and that way Craigslist users can distinguish between personal items for sale and business-driven sales.

Finding an Employee or Employer

Craigslist has become the go-to for looking for work, as it is a vast improvement over the expensive want-ads available through newspapers. There are no space limitations in describing the job offered, and company logo or photos can be used. If searching for work, visitors can scroll through more than two dozen categories including "skilled trade," "education," and "administrative. As an employer, learning how to post on Craigslist can save time and money.

Community, Pets & More

Craigslist also functions as a community hub, with postings of lost pets, community events, bartering goods or services, and even "rants and raves" where enthusiastic or enraged users can preach on almost any issue. Personal ads for dating are an option, but so is marketing your volunteer-run bird sanctuary. The variety Craigslist offers makes learning how to post on Craigslist a must. The ins and outs of how to post on Craigslist are as important, if not more important, than knowing how to use eBay. Craigslist is, in simple terms, the local version of eBay but much simpler to use.

Marketing Your Business on Craigslist

man working on laptop and the lady holding a newspaper

There are several ways to market a business. On the most basic level, just putting information online where it will be viewed is the first step. Craigslist has millions of hits, and because it is well organized and logically categorized, users know they can find what they need. If you are a local business that has not learned how to post on Craigslist, you are missing out on a basic marketing opportunity.

Local Markets

If you advertise locally or regionally, Craigslist will have a platform for you. If your business provides local products or nationally based products, but you sell locally, learning how to post on Craigslist is essential. You can use community boards, forums, employment advertising, and selling directly when considering how to post on Craigslist. By using several categories, your business gets more exposure.

Building Advertisements

An ad will differ depending on whether it is a direct sale, employment recruitment ad, or an announcement. The basics of your ad should always include concisely written and easy-to-understand language; contact information; and a company logo. Some businesses will also include a stock photo or even a photo taken by the businesses marketing department. We recommend using images because Craigslist visitors who see an image more than once will categorize that business as legitimate and memorable.

Maintaining Professionalism

Most users who are seriously seeking a business product or service, or looking for employment, will interpret poor grammar and spelling as signs of an unprofessional business. Make sure you read, edit, and perfect your ad before posting. If writing is not your strong suit, it pays to have a professional review your work and fix errors. This is even more vital because scam artists (see "Avoiding Fraud") often use poor grammar and post sloppy text.

Tracking Outcomes

Once your business has its ad, announcement, or employee wanted posting, the next step is to track which ads get the most hits. Craigslist does not offer a way to track numbers or demographics, so it is up to the business owner to embed features in the ad that will indicate which ad is getting the response. This can include a unique code, a specific telephone number, or even the ad title being referred to in the customer (or future employee) response.

Avoiding Fraud

Craigslist is anonymous, and this means criminals can hide and use the site to promote products and services that are meant to lure unsuspecting visitors. After you learn how to post on Craigslist, the next step is learning telltale signs of fraud. No product should be shipped until payment is received, and be wary of people who want to help you promote yourself. Do not give out personal information and focus on telephone conversations as the best way to communicate. A scam artist is less likely to want to speak by phone and more likely to prefer doing business online exclusively.

How to Post on Craigslist

Craigslist is one of the easiest online sites to use. The steps to post are 

  1. Find your city or region - for example, Google "Craigslist Pittsburgh" or "Craigslist San Diego" depending on which area is yours
  2. Choose the category you want for your post - for example "employment" then click
  3. Choose the button on the upper right that says "post"
  4. Write the ad and attach logo and/or images
  5. Preview the ad and make any necessary edits
  6. Publish.


One you have hit "publish" you will receive and email asking you to click on a link provided by Craigslist. After hitting the link, you will again follow directions to finalize the publication of your ad. Save the link Craigslist has sent you, as this is your connection to your ad or offer and may need to be accessed in the future.

Don't Get Buried

Once your ad is published, you will begin to receive interest. If you are not getting any response, it is advisable to read other, similar ads and see if yours is falling short, or offering a product or service at less of a bargain. After a week to ten days, it is import to revisit your email link, click on the link again, and either edit or refresh your ad or offer. This will cause your ad to be re-posted and go to the front of the line, as Craigslist organizes ads by date. The newer your ad or offer, the more likely it will be seen. If left alone, the ad can get buried among all the other ads that are posted each day.


a man with a smile on his face working on his laptop

Craigslist is truly a grass-roots effort to make services and products available without paying a broker or intermediary. Learning how to post on Craigslist is easy: the last thing this company wants is to create barriers for the average user! The process of using this online bulletin board by learning how to post on Craigslist takes less than an hour, and in most cases closer to a half hour. When you learn how to post on Craigslist, you will find yourself a repeat customer. Your business benefits from this website that gives "power to the people" in a free, user-friendly format.

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