How to Post an Ad on Craigslist

By Ashley Watters, Abshier House

Craigslist is a free online classified and forum site. Craigslist users can post items for sale or seek out items they are hoping to purchase. This classifieds site also allows people to post housing for sale, lease, or rent. The listings even go beyond simply buying and selling. Structured in a user-friendly format, Craigslist is easy to browse.

How to post an ad on Craigslist

The process for posting an ad on Craigslist is very simple. Just follow these steps:

  1. From a web browser, go to Craigslist.

    craigslist location

    The website will automatically transport you to the local Craigslist classifieds that it believes is most appropriate for you. However, if the city displayed at the top is not the correct city for your posting, you can navigate to the correct city using the column on the right of the page. The location column can be navigated by popular cities or by state.

  2. Find your city and select it.
  3. Click the Post to Classifieds button in the upper left of the page.

    You will then be directed to a page where you select the category of your post.

  4. From this page, you can also login if you have an account. To login, simply click the login button in the upper right of the screen.

    However, you can continue and post without having an account.

    Check here to see how to create a Craigslist profile. Having a profile gives you free access to a control panel where you can manage your current ads.

  5. Select your category and click continue.

    craigslist category

    At this point, you will be directed to select subcategories depending on the initial category you chose for your post.

  6. Choose a subcategory.

    Once you have selected the appropriate classifications for your ad, you will be taken to a page to create your post.

  7. Enter a posting title, posting body, postal code (your location) and any other required information for your post.

    post details craigslist

    The required information is outlined in green. Any information outlined in black is optional.

  8. Once you have entered your details, click the continue button.

    On the next page, you see will be a map.

  9. Here, you can tell potential interested parties about your location either by dragging the location marker to your location or entering your location into the text boxes.
  10. Click continue from here to be redirected to the Add Images page.
  11. On the Add Images page, you will select the Add Image button which will redirect you to the images stored on your device.
  12. Select your images and continue by selecting Done with Images.

    The final page is where you can review your ad and see what it will look like to other Craigslist users.

  13. If it looks how you want it, click the Publish button. If not, select “edit post, edit location, or edit images to make changes.

    When you click the publish button, an email will be sent to the email address you entered in the post information.

  14. Open the email and select the link to publish.

    All done!

Don’t forget to cancel your post with the email link when you no longer need the ad!

Craigslist also includes jobs, resumes, personals, services, community discussions, and more.

Tips for your Craigslist post

There are a few items you need to consider when posting to Craigslist. If you want to stand out from other ads, you will want to entice possible buyers. Remember, however, that you also need to make sure you are honest and not putting yourself at risk.

Check out these tips for a quality ad:

  • Thoroughly describe your item, service, or offer. Offer as many details as you can. Put yourself in the shoes of the buyer. What kinds of information would you be curious about if you were looking to purchase. Think about the following elements for your post:
    • Purpose
    • Condition
    • Age
    • Price
    • Care
    • Special instructions or circumstances

Providing more information saves you the time and effort of having to field a host of email questions from interested parties. The more information you can provide, the easier your sale will be.

  • Take as many pictures as possible and make sure they are good quality.
  • Consider providing the reason you are selling. This is often overlooked, but letting people know why you are selling helps to relieve fears that you may be running a scam.
  • Consider posting to several different cities in your area especially if you live in a low population area. This helps reach a larger audience of potential buyers.

Here are some tips for staying safe when arranging to meet a potential buyer:

  • Always meet in a public place: Choose a well-lit area in a public place, preferably one that has people coming and going. Remember, you don’t know who you are meeting and they know what you have. Good meeting places include:
    • Gas stations
    • Popular shopping center or grocery parking lots
    • Restaurant parking lots
    • Police stations
  • Take someone with you: There is safety in numbers.
  • Tell someone where you are going, why you are going there, and when to expect you back: If something does happen, you want someone to have the necessary details of your meeting.
  • Meet in daylight hours, never at night or when it’s dark outside: Meeting during the day increases visibility, which is an important element of safety.
  • Take your cell phone and have it ready: You might even have an emergency number programmed in so you only have to hit one button if something should happen.

Your safety is paramount. If you suspect something is amiss, leave immediately.