How and Why Craigslist is Still Relevant

It’s been over 20 years and nothing much has changed: the links are a bright, clickable blue, there are no modern, techy graphics, and the layout remains familiarly the same.  Whether genius or madness, Craigslist still holds a place in the everyday jargon of millions of people looking to pawn off a used sofa or buy their first home.  It would seem impossible, however, that this kind of success could last; mobile apps like OfferUp, a company that touts itself as “the largest mobile marketplace in the U.S,” are gunning to claim the title of the best (and most successful) person-to-person marketplace.

Place them side by side, and the visual impact is striking; 1995 and 2016 seem to pull in polar opposite directions, one bland yet familiar and one tantalizingly modern and fresh.  While the interface of a website or mobile app is extremely important to its users, there are obviously a variety of other factors that come into play when measuring success.  Exploring why and how Craigslist can still claim its own unique sector of the internet will illustrate the longevity of simple, static websites and how they continue to produce revenue and popularity despite competitors and start-ups looking to displace them.

The past 10 years have seen a surge of new companies hitting the vertical marketplace.  Businesses in this type of market target a specific group of customers with a more particular need or product.  For example, services like Uber and AirBnB cater to a fairly narrow audience (a twenty-something looking for  a ride downtown or a family searching for a unique vacation home), while a company like eBay extends their market to a vastly broader range of clientele.  This latter type of market is classified as horizontal, in which a more comprehensive range of categories are offered that appeal to a wide variety of people.  Craigslist fits comfortably in this marketplace, one of the main reasons that they have long maintained their popularity and success.   They have create a community where people can simultaneously buy and sell merchandise while soliciting or responding to job postings and services in nearly every category imaginable.

Is this market strategy an advantage or a disadvantage?  Take the search engine Google, for example, a household name with its stamp on everything from a simple website logo to self-driving cars.  Google hosts an average of 40,000 searches every second worldwide, and can be used to search literally anything that can be thought of in any category possible.  A clear horizontal market can thus be seen in action; any doubts as to their success can be easily removed with query of the website’s stats, facts and figures using its own search engine.  Contrasting this extensive reach with a vertical search engine will show the alternate side of the coin; we’ll take Yummly, a semantic search tool that allows users to find recipes based on their criteria, including food allergies or specific diets.  While powerful and clearly successful, Yummly will only ever be a search engine for food; it wouldn’t make sense to expand to any dissimilar market.  While the facts don’t downplay the achievements of either of these businesses, they illustrate the expansive power of the horizontal market.  Craigslist could add categories without batting an eyelash, and users wouldn’t either; vertical markets, however, must stick to their relative confines, which can be limiting.

Aside from the market analytics, Craigslist retains relevance in an unconventional way.  By modern digital standards, Craigslist lacks visually in comparison to most – if not all – web-based businesses.  One of OfferUp’s most celebrated features is its user-friendly interface with simple, modern graphics and image-driven interface. Synonymous with apps like Instagram and Snapchat in its endless scrolling of photographs, OfferUp and modern companies like it appeal to the current generation of tech users and their affinity for visuals.  Why, then, do Craigslist users continue to make use of a site that lacks a contemporary edge?  It may be that humans are not very fond of change.  There is something comforting about things that always look the same, and the longer a website doesn’t revise its appearance, the longer users may expect that it never will.  This familiarity breeds loyalty, at least in the case of Craigslist.  As a no-frills,  text-based website, Craigslist also excels at getting straight to the point: you can easily narrow down what you are searching for based off of dozens of categories, without having to scroll through endless images of items you aren’t interested it.  Visitors to the site may feel relieved when not instantly bombarded with smart fonts and hip graphics.  Its utilitarian feel lets the user get down to business, which is exactly the site’s purpose.

The question arises: is it viable?  Can Craigslist continue to stand up to the onslaught of competition in the way that the site itself largely replaced newspaper classified ads?  The adage of “time will tell” as always applies, but it’s worth comparing the current stats.  According to Alexa, an analytics company, Craigslist is currently ranked 12 in popularity in the United States and 71 globally, an impressive feat for such a visually lacking website.  How does the competition stack up, and are they threatening to overtake that rank?  OfferUp is often cited as Craigslist’s main competitor, but the facts speak for themselves: a popularity rank of 1,092,435 in the United States and 3,678,129 globally show the clear gap that it may take OfferUp many years to bridge, if at all.

The future may bring challenges to their longstanding success, but the nature of Craigslist provides a loophole against commonplace marketing strategies that similar companies have employed.  There is no need to rebrand the site as there is virtually no existing branding; graphics and layouts don’t need to be changed or enhanced as the site is largely text based, and images are provided by the users and not the company.  They continue to dominate their niche in peer-to-peer commerce with a clever mix of simplicity and relevance. It appears that,  for the time being, what isn’t broken doesn’t need to be fixed.

Why Posting on Craigslist Is The Cheapest and Quickest Method to Achieve a Positive ROI

craigslist posting serviceI have been in the internet marketing industry for 18 years, and in that time, marketing strategies have definitely changed and evolved with the sites that have come and go over the course of that time.  Gone are the search engines like HotBot, Excite, Lycos, etc, being replaced by Google, Yahoo and Bing.  Gone is MySpace, Friendster, etc, being replaced by Facebook and Twitter.  Yahoo Auctions to Ebay, etc.  However, one site that seems to have defied this trend is Craigslist!  Despite still sporting the design and look of 1997 when it debuted, Craigslist is still an excellent medium for business owners to advertise their products and services on.

The reason why Craigslist is such a successful medium for businesses is that when someone creates a post on Craigslist, it goes live almost immediately!  This means that you can and probably will start receiving calls, emails, web site hits from your ad as soon as it hits the Craigslist directory.  Sure, it may have taken you 10-15 minutes to write a good, high quality ad, and maybe you even paid a graphic designer $25 to make a nice flyer for you.  But really the time and financial resources involved in the process is quite minimal.   Especially when considering the potential for return on this minimal investment is so exponential!

This is in stark contrast to attempting to get your site listed at the top of popular search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing.  The process of organic SEO or Search Engine Optimization is quite the arduous task.  It involves in-depth knowledge of coding standards such as HTML, PHP and CSS, and then having an even deeper understanding on how manipulating and changing this code can result in positive indicators for keywords you’re targeting to the search algorithms employed by these search engines.  And that’s just the beginning!  Generally when you SEO a web site, the process takes a very long time, and involves a lot more money.  It’s not instantaneous like Craigslist, where your ad will appear and you start receiving calls and clients that day.  With SEO, it generally takes 3-6 months just for the changes you made to have an affect on your search rankings.

And these affects can be positive or negative!  

You could have spent the past 2 weeks heavily optimizing your site, and then see 3 months down the road that what you did actually resulted in a negative indicator to the search engines!  Couple this with the amount of money you need to spend on other SEO indicators such as backlinks, positive social media queues, etc, and the cost can quickly outweigh the return.  Don’t get me wrong…  having a well SEO’d site that ranks well on Google will bring you amazing relevant and targeted traffic that is perfect for conversion (I mean, I’m sure you got here from a search query right?).  However,  there is lower hanging fruit to pick first.

This is why posting on Craigslist is such a viable option for businesses of all sizes.  You see an immediate return on your investment, and utilizing a automated posting service, such as Craigslist Posting Service where your ads can go live right away in all the areas locally or across the nation is just another way to further harness the marketing power and potential that Craigslist possesses.

How to Post Ads on Craigslist

craigslist-los-angelesIf you’re wondering about how to post ads on Craigslist, the process really is very simple. In this article, we’re going to show you the exact steps to do it.

First go to the specific Craigslist page you want to post ads to. If you’re located in Los Angeles, then go to Craigslist Los Angeles. Once you’re on the page, choose a section that’s relevant to your ad. Create your ad on the page that lets you create your ad. Then publish your ad. Craigslist will then send you an email where you need to confirm your ad so that it will become public and be seen by the people you are targeting.

If this is your first time to hearing about Craigslist, you should know that it’s actually the number one site for posting local classified ads in the world. While there’s only one Craigslist, there are sub-sections for each country and locality in the world. Craigslist has a sub-section for just about every major and not so major city in America. You can find Craigslist in other countries as well. For example, in South Korea, there’s a Wherever you are in the world, there’s a great chance you will find a local Craigslist, just make sure you type in your country’s domain name extension.

Over the years, Craigslist has had a bad reputation for being a haven for scammers. This is truly understandable considering that the company that owns the website does not filter ads at all, and you can post practically anything you like.

But really, there can only be scammers if you are easily scammed. That said, whenever you see an ad on Craigslist offering the next big income opportunity, take it with a grain of salt. Sure, you can reply to that ad but don’t give out your credit card details. For personal ads, make sure to meet in a public place before taking things further.

In my experience, Craigslist is really useful for selling and buying a wide variety of products and services.  It is also a great place for meeting people as well as looking for and applying for a job. If you have never tried the website, you are actually missing out on a great opportunity!

Anyway, if you are planning on selling things via Craigslist, the best way to do it is by posting it in the most relevant section. For instance if you are a lawyer, and you’re wanting to post your personal injury services, you would post that in the legal services section of the local Craigslist city you live in.  It is really quite simple, and all you need to do is follow the onscreen instructions once you are there.

The good thing about using Craigslist is that it’s free, however, if you want sales, you need to post there regularly as ads are pushed down as new ads are published. It can be a lot of work, but a good way around it is to outsource it to someone such as a Craigslist Posting Service.

The Power of Craigslist Posting Services

craigslist-sectionsDid you know that Craigslist is currently the 10th most visited website in the USA according to traffic ranking website Alexa? Craigslist is one of the most visited websites online, and the largest online classified community currently in existence. So why aren’t you posting on Craigslist and tapping into this huge target market? If you aren’t you definitely should, and if you are you need to take your Craigslist posting to the next level!

By hiring a professional Craigslist Posting Service you can turn your once a day local ad campaign into a thriving multiple times a day nationwide ad campaign! Imagine posting 50, 100, 250 ads per day all across the nation, marketing your services or products? You now have the potential to target as many consumers as the big boys do! All for a fraction of the price! The response generated from conducting a targeted nationwide Craigslist campaign is tremendous. You are now on the center stage advertising during the Superbowl as opposed to 3AM on your local PBS affiliate.

Sure you can try to post all these ads yourself, but you will surely fail. Not only is this an extremely time consuming task, Craigslist has put in place specific filters, restrictions and stipulations to ensure that you cannot post outside of your geographic area. What does this mean you may ask yourself? Well, lets say you work in the Phoenix metropolitan area, and you want to post an ad in Phoenix, New York, Chicago and Boston for your service or products you are marketing. You post your first ad in Phoenix which goes live and shows up on the site properly. Then you post your other ads in New York, Chicago and Boston, all which appear to post correctly, however they do not go live on Craigslist. Why is this? Craigslist checks your IP address from the computer you are submitting the ad from, and realizes you are in Phoenix, therefore filtering and not allowing you to post outside of the Phoenix area.

A professional Craigslist Posting Service like CPS can circumvent these restrictions and stipulations put in place utilizing advanced custom developed technologies. You wouldn’t try to perform brain surgery on yourself would you? Why not leave the brain surgery to the experts, the brain surgeons, and leave the craigslist posting to the craigslist posting professionals, CPS.

Craigslist Most Trafficked Cities – 2013 Edition

Craigslist Most Trafficked CitiesIf you recall, not too long ago, we posted about the most trafficked cities on Craigslist.  The top 5 went something like this back then from the 2011 data:

1. San Fransisco, CA – – 7.5%
2. New York, NY – – 6.6%
3. Los Angeles, CA – – 5.6%
4. Seattle, WA – – 3.2%
5. Washington DC – – 3.0%

Well folks, things have changed in the past 2 years, and so have the cities that receive the most traffic on Craigslist.  So, without further adieu, here are the January 2013 updated stats for the most trafficked cities on Craigslist!

Top 5 Cities on Craigslist!

1.  Los Angeles, CA – – 6.51%
2.  San Francisco, CA – – 6.09%
3.  New York, NY – 5.62%
4.  Seattle, WA – – 3.03%
5.  Chicago, IL – 2.98%

And the rest of the pack! – 2.97% – 2.84% – 2.82% – 2.71% – 2.68% – 2.36% – 2.22% – 2.17% – 2.12% – 2.02% – 2.01% – 1.90% – 1.80% – 1.78% – 1.74% – 1.74% – 1.66% – 1.59% – 1.59% – 1.48% – 1.40% – 1.35% – 1.27% – 1.21% – 1.08% – 1.03% – 0.98% – 0.95% – 0.93% – 0.92% – 0.91% – 0.90% – 0.89% – 0.88% – 0.88% – 0.87% – 0.84% – 0.79% – 0.79% – 0.78% – 0.77% – 0.77% – 0.77% – 0.72% – 0.70% – 0.69% – 0.68% – 0.68% – 0.67% – 0.67% – 0.65% – 0.64% – 0.64% – 0.62% – 0.61% – 0.61% – 0.60% – 0.60% -0.59% -0.59% – 0.59% – 0.57% – 0.56% – 0.56% – 0.55% – 0.55% – 0.54% – 0.54% – 0.54% – 0.54% – 0.54% – 0.54% – 0.53% – 0.53% – 0.52% – 0.52% – 0.52% – 0.52% – 0.52% – 0.52% – 0.51% – 0.51% – 0.51% – 0.50% -0.49% – 0.48% – 0.48% – 0.48% – 0.46% – 0.46% – 0.45% – 0.44% – 0.44%