Looking to create a classified ads site like Craigslist or Gumtree? The massive success of those two behemoths certainly proves a market need. But how do you actually go about mimicking their functionality?
As you might notice, we’re big fans of the WordPress CMS. And as luck would have it, it’s easy to create a classified site using WordPress!
In this post, I’ll give you a tutorial on how to set up a classifieds site like Craigslist using a free plugin called Another WordPress Classifieds Plugin.
Then, in case you want a bit of a different approach, I’ll suggest some classifieds themes to help you achieve a bit more premium looking classifieds site. Let’s dig in!
Step-by-Step: Creating a WordPress Classifieds Site
Any good classifieds site needs at least these three core elements:
- Listings that can be divided up into categories or tags
- An easy way for visitors to search listings
- An easy way for visitors to submit their own listings
Another WordPress Classifieds Plugin can help you do all of those things. The only potential snag is that, because it’s a plugin, it may or may not look good with your specific theme. So if you want a guarantee that your classifieds site looks perfect out of the box, you should skip to the next section where I give you few themes that are dedicated to creating a classifieds site.
One benefit of using a plugin like this one is that it’s easy to make classifieds just a part of your site, instead of dedicating your entire site to classifieds.
Ok, let’s carry on with the tutorial…
Step 1: Install and Activate Another WordPress Classifieds Plugin
To get started, install and activate Another WordPress Classifieds Plugin. It’s free and listed at WordPress.org, so you can install it directly from your WordPress dashboard:
As soon as you activate it, you’ll have a very basic classifieds site already:
All the functionality is there… you just need to customize it to get things working perfectly!
Step 2: Choose Whether You Want Free or Paid Listings
If you’d like, the plugin lets you choose between free and paid listings. With free listings, anyone can post an ad without paying anything. Because this is how sites like Craigslist operate, I’ll continue the tutorial assuming that you want to allow free listings.
But just know that you can turn on paid listings if you’d like.
To ensure that your listings are free, go to Classifieds → Settings → Payment and make sure the Charge Listing Fee? box is unchecked (that should be the default):
As you can tell, there a lot more Settings options. But the plugin is set up so it’s super easy to get started. That is, you can leave the vast majority of these settings as the default. If you want to get really granular with your classified site’s settings, you can do that here. But don’t feel like you need to configure every setting option.
Some things you should do, though, are:
- Set up terms of service
- Choose whether or not to include AdSense ads
That’s because these elements will show up on the front-end of your site by default. So you need to make sure they’re customized.
Step 3: Choose Your Listing Categories
Next up, you need to choose the categories for all of your classified ads. To do that, you can go to Classifieds → Categories. To add a new category, just enter a name, choose whether you want it to be a top-level category or nest it under another category, and click Add new category:
Create as many categories as you’d like. These will show up on the front-end for your visitors to both browse and post to.
Step 4: Make Your Classifieds Page Your Homepage
If you want your homepage to show your classifieds listings, you’ll need to make the page created by the plugin your homepage. To do that, go to Settings → Reading and make AWPCP your homepage:
You can also rename the page just like you would any other page. Doing both of those things should give you a front page that looks something like this:
Obviously, you may need to do a little styling to get things looking just right. But all of the functionality is there now.
How People Submit New Classified Ads
If a visitor wants to submit a new classifieds listing, all they need to do is hit the Place Ad button.
First, they’ll choose a category:
Then, they’ll enter their details and contact information:
After that, they’ll be able to upload any relevant images. Images must meet your basic requirements. If they don’t, users will get a prompt telling them about the issue:
And then they can place their ad!
Going back to my test site’s homepage, you can see that there’s now a new entry in the For Sale category:
The plugin will also email the ad creator with an Access Key that allows them to edit their ad at a later date (if you allow editing, that is).
And as the site admin, you’ll be able to manage all of the listings on your site by going to Classifieds → Listings:
And that’s it! You’ve got a WordPress classifieds site. If you need more functionality, you can also extend with some of Another WordPress Classifieds Plugin’s premium modules.
Other Options: WordPress Classifieds Themes
As I touched on before, themes offer a different approach to creating a classifieds site with WordPress. Instead of needing to add custom styling to make a plugin like Another WordPress Classifieds Plugin look good, you can be 100% sure that your site looks perfect out of the box.
But the downside is that you’ve locked yourself into your site being about classified listings always and forever. Obviously, if you’re creating a site solely to showcase classifieds, that probably won’t be an issue.
In which case, consider one of these WordPress classifieds listing themes.
ClassiPress is a popular classifieds theme for WordPress that makes it easy to accept free or paid listings, as well include paid ads. One especially nice thing about the plugin is that it includes AJAX search with autocomplete.
ClassiPress costs $69.
ClassifiedEngine helps you create a modern looking classifieds site built on WordPress. If you want something that looks a bit upmarket compared to sites like Craigslist and Gumtree, it’s a good option.
ClassifiedEngine costs $89.
WordPress Classified Ads Theme
WordPress Classified Ads Theme from SiteMile is a nice mix of modern and “classic Craigslist look”. It has built-in spots for advertising and nice image based categories.
Like ClassiPress, WordPress Classified Ads Theme costs $69 for a single site license.
Wrapping Things Up
Whether you want to create a free classifieds listing site like Craigslist, Gumtree, or FreeCycle, or a site that sells premium classified ads (or both!), these plugins and themes can help you get the job done.
I went with Another WordPress Classifieds Plugin for the tutorial because I love how it offers an exceptionally detailed settings panel, while still being easy to use. Despite how flexible it is on the backend, you can still pretty much install it and have it working right away.
But if you want to go with the theme approach, I don’t blame you. It gives you a dedicated platform, even if you do lose some flexibility by going that route.
And if you’re looking to get a jump start on populating your classified ads site with listings, you can use WP RSS Aggregator to pull in listings from other sites to get a good content base.