Millions of people make use of Craigslist each and every day and have been doing so for many years, with the online classifieds site being founded back in the 1990s. It started small, initially being used as a simple email distribution list between a group of friends, but has grown exponentially over the years. Now, Craigslist is being used in 70 countries and hundreds of different cities, with tens of millions of ads being posted every month and countless people able to find jobs, homes, goods, and services through the power of this online marketplace.
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The Advantages of Craigslist
Local - At its core, Craigslist was designed to bring local people together. Almost like an online yard sale or noticeboard for the local community, Craigslist allows people in the same city or area to exchange goods and services with ease. A typical transaction on Craigslist involves people first connecting online via email, and then being able to arrange a real-life meeting for the exchange of money and goods. It’s a great way to find items you want from sellers near you, not having to wait for long shipping periods.
Affordable - Another big reason so many people like to browse Craigslist for all kinds of items from phones to tools is its affordability. Most people use Craigslist to get rid of unwanted items or things they simply no longer have any need for, so they're often willing to negotiate or price their items quite low in order to ensure speedy sales. No matter what you want to buy, you can usually find it on Craigslist, as long as you’re in a big city or large urban area, and you can usually get it at a better price on Craigslist than you would in a store or on another site.
Simple - With Craigslist, you can make an account and start buying and selling in a matter of minutes. Posting listings is really easy, and Craigslist is totally free too, so you can put lots of listings up on the site and get plenty of exposure due to the millions of users browsing the platform on a daily basis. For buyers, the process is equally simple as you can search for items you need, contact the sellers with ease, and make arrangements for a purchase however and whenever you want.
Getting More from Craigslist
Clearly, Craigslist has a lot to offer. As time has gone by, many websites that saw success in the early days of the internet faded away, with the public losing interest over time. With Craigslist, however, people have stayed interested and committed to this platform, despite a lack of updates or any major changes over the years. It’s a simple site, but people are still using Craigslist every single day for all manner of purposes, and there are some smart ways you can have better experiences on Craigslist as both a buyer and a seller. Here are some of our top tips and tricks for Craigslist users.
Tips and Tricks for Selling on Craigslist
Use Imgur - Craigslist has a photo limit for your listings, only allowing sellers to upload four photos per listing. Plus, the photos you do upload actually get compressed on their way to the Craigslist servers, reducing in low quality images that won't help you sell your item. Instead, make use of free image hosting sites like Imgur to upload as many photos as you like and then post the links in your listing description.
Group Your Listings Together - If you're selling multiple items and need to make a listing for each one, you can still group those listings together through the use of a simple trick. To pull this off, just write a random number at the end of each listing (make sure it's the same number on all listings). You can then search for that specific number in the Craigslist search engine and all of your items will appear together. You can then share the search results page to show off all your items to prospective buyers.
Price High - Craigslist is notorious for negotiation. Almost every buyer who gets in touch with you is going to try and negotiate for a better deal, so it makes sense to actually think of a price you'd like to get for your item, and then a little to it when making the listing. This way, even when the buyer negotiates and you appear to be lowering your asking price, you're actually getting exactly what you wanted for the item all along.
Always Take Photos - Even if you don't necessarily want to use a site like Imgur to share lots of photos of your item, be sure to take a few and add them to the listings. Surveys and statistics show that buyers are far more likely to click on Craigslist listings with pictures attached, and everyone wants to have a visual idea of what they're buying before they actually buy it. When taking photos, try to frame them nicely and get the best lighting and angle to really show off the items you’re selling.
Use Adjectives Wisely - As a seller, you want to generate a lot of interest in your product. Writing a dull and dreary product listing description won't help, but if you jazz up your listing's title and description with powerful adjectives, you can get a lot more clicks and messages. When selling furniture, for example, making use of design-related words like 'vintage', 'retro', 'antique', 'Scandinavian', and 'shabby chic' can add a lot of appeal to even the simplest of items.
Do Some Research - Before selling anything on Craigslist, search for the item to see if anyone in your area is already selling the same thing or something similar. See what the condition of their item is like and how much they're asking for it in order to get a good idea of what kind of price tag you can place on your own item. You can also check out your item on other sites like eBay for price estimations.
Be Highly Descriptive - Craigslist buyers, just like any other buyers, want to know as much as possible about products before arranging a purchase. This is particularly important on Craigslist, as buyers don't want to waste their time contacting sellers and arranging to meet up, only to find that the item wasn't quite what they thought it was. Buyers won't pay too much attention to basic listings with minimal information. Be descriptive about your items and tell the buyers what they're getting, what the condition is like, if there are any extras or accessories, and any other relevant information.
Be Honest - As well as being descriptive in your Craigslist listings, it pays to be honest too. You wouldn’t want a seller or buyer to lie to you, so be sure to extend that same courtesy to your own buyers. If an item you’re selling isn’t in the best condition, state this in the description. If you’re selling a gadget that doesn’t quite work at 100% of its capacity, be sure to note this. There are always buyers out there willing to buy slightly damaged goods, but they’ll always appreciate honesty as the best policy.
Choose The Right Platform - Certain states have a lot of different Craigslist platforms for many different cities and areas, and some of these platforms will be a lot busier and better to sell on than others. If you have multiple big cities near you, check out both of their Craigslist pages and see which one appears to be more popular. If you sell on the more popular site, you'll get more exposure and a faster sale in general.
Keep It Clean - When taking photos of your items, make sure that they're clean and presentable. A little bit of hard work cleaning up a piece of furniture can go a long way to making it seem more valuable and appealing to prospective buyers. People will be far more interested in items which look like they've been well-maintained and cleaned regularly than items which seem dusty or dirty.
Tips and Tricks for Buying on Craigslist
Learn More About Sellers - One of the issues many Craigslist buyers face when using this platform is a lack of security. You don't always know much about the people you're buying from. To try and overcome this problem, remember to Google the email address of any seller. You can even type it into social media networks like Facebook to learn more about the person you're dealing with and get a better idea of who they are.
Arrange Public Meetings - Safety and security are so important when making use of Craigslist. Even with all the preparation in the world, you never quite know who you're dealing with until you meet them face to face. Arrange to meet in a public place whenever possible and bring a friend or family member along too. Gas stations and supermarket parking lots are popular meeting places for Craigslist transactions.
Use A Different Phone Number - Would you just give your phone number to any random stranger in the street? It's likely that you wouldn't, so there's no need to give it to a Craigslist seller either. You can make use of services like Google Voice to use a different number for your Craigslist deals.
Use A Different Email Too - Just like with the phone number, you don't really want to be giving your personal email address to a bunch of strangers every time you buy stuff on Craigslist. Make a separate email account just for buying items so you don't have to deal with any strange stalkers or spam in the future.
Misspell Words - There are actually a lot of sites out there poking fun at some of the worst spelling errors on Craigslist, and we can all have a laugh at some of the terrible typos people have been guilty of. But you can also use these errors to your advantage. Badly-spelled items aren't going to get as many views, so if you intentionally misspell words in your search and find an item with typos in the title, you could negotiate for a better price.
Timing Is Everything - The best deals on Craigslist can actually be dependent on the time of year. After Christmas, for example, you'll find that a lot of items go up on Craigslist as people sell unwanted or unneeded gifts. You can also check out Craigslist at the end of the school year to find cheap items that students are trying to get rid of.
Use A Craigslist Search Engine - The standard search engine on Craigslist is functional enough, but it limits you in terms of where you're able to search. Using a better Craigslist search engine like Search Tempest or Zoom The List is a good way to search across multiple cities or nationwide.
Use Hyphens - If you're going to make use of the standard Craigslist search engine, be sure to know about all the little tools and features it has. One example is the use of hyphens. You can actually put a hyphen before any word in your search term to eliminate it from the results. Let's say you're looking for a smartphone, but don't want a Sony-made device, you can type 'smartphone -Sony'.
Don't Forget The Pipe Key - Make use of the pipe key, ("|") to search for items that are known under multiple names. The pipe key lets you basically enter two search terms and get results for both of them. This is highly useful for those items that people can commonly list under different names.
Check Gadgets Closely - Many people get scammed when buying items like smartphones from sellers on Craigslist. Before handing over any cash, ask to inspect the device closely. Most phones feature little stickers that will change color if the device has suffered water damage, and you can also usually tell when phones or gadgets have been taken apart. Look to see if the factory seal has been broken on items like laptops, for example, and be sure to give any gadget a thorough check before finalizing the transaction.
Click The Pic Box - There's a little 'Pic' checkbox on the search results page on Craigslist. When you check this box, you'll only see results with images attached, and this is a great way to browse through multiple pages of results and scan over the items with ease, rather than having to click past all those listings that don't have any images attached. This is especially important when buying decorative or home items like pieces of furniture.