Buying or selling things can sometimes get too cumbersome. Before the advent of technology, this task was all the way more difficult but now with the arrival of the internet, this became quite easy. Now rather than going into the market to buy or sell their favorite products, customers prefer surfing the internet. And seeing this trend business owners these days are highly motivated to list their products and services on the various free classified sites like Craigslist.

Talking about the classified websites, the one that instantly comes into our mind is Craigslist. It is one of the most popular global classified software solutions, for viewing and posting advertisements, especially in the US. The majority of people who are willing to offer any kind of products or services prefer listing them on some classified listing websites and thus, the demand for classified portal development solutions has increased tremendously in the last few years.

According to an article published by CNBC, Craigslist is the world’s most popular and top-ranked classified advertising website in terms of both revenue and traffic. Also, the founding principal of AIM Media, Peter Zollman once mentioned that”It’s remarkable that a single website can generate $1 billion in revenue, with more than 99% of that coming from just the United States.”

In this blog further, we are going to discuss some tips and tricks to get your own classified portal development solution developed and will also be answering some of the most important questions like “What is the cost to develop a classified app development solution?” or ” What are the must-have features to include in your app like Craigslist?”

What Makes Craigslist Different?

Launched in the year 1995, this classified portal came a long way. Though there are several other free classified sites like Craigslist in the market like OLX, GumTree, and Oodle., users still prefer posting their ads or find something that might interest them, on this classified portal.

Here are a few facts that will surely interest you about Craigslist:
  • There are more than 700 local Craigslist websites successfully running in more than 70 countries.
  • Talking about the monthly page views, this classified portal has over 50 million monthly views.
  • The US alone contributes 60 million customers in a month on this portal.
  • More than 100 million ads are posted on this website every month.

Now let us talk about some of the features that Craigslist offers which makes it quite different from its competitors:

Traditional yet Intuitive Design

Craigslist, since the day it has been launched, has never changed its design. Some people might find it a bit boring, but this is one of the most important features which makes this classified portal different. The theme for their website design is highly inspired by a newspaper. Earlier when the internet was not that prevalent, people used to post or view the ads in a newspaper and the format in which they were published there, is the same theme that Craigslist follows.

In a time where every business is running after money, Craigslist enables business owners to post both free and paid ads on their website. Also, this website offers multiple payment options and plans for users to choose the one that fits their budget and requirements without straining their pocket.

Multiple Categories

This is one of the most distinctive features and one of the main reasons for the popularity of this classified website. Users can easily find a perfect category in which they have to post or see the ads. This saves a lot of time and allows customers to find what they are looking for, quite easily. Also, Craigslist is currently working in more than 70 countries and is available in more than 13 languages which makes it all the way easier for users to use their portal and apps.

Now that we have seen what makes Craigslist so popular, let’s move on to knowing how to develop sites similar to Craigslist.

Read Also: Know the Steps and Cost to Develop a Web Portal

How to Build a Website like Craigslist

Now for those who are looking to get their own websites or apps like Craigslist developed, we know you must have too many questions in mind, and today, we are going to clear all of them for you. One of the main questions that people ask is whether they should go for customized classified portal development or use a CMS like WordPress to get it developed. Let us have a look at both the pros and cons of going with both approaches.

1. Classified Software Solutions using a CMS

If you are planning to get your classified software solution developed using a CMS like WordPress, you may save a lot of money here. WordPress is one of the most popular and easy to use CMS that is used to create a highly intuitive and feature-rich website. Here all you need to do is buy a theme of your choice or you can even go for a free them and based on that create your classified portal. And do not worry there are thousands of themes available that you can either use for free or could buy and use for your project.

However, even if you miss some features in the theme chosen, you can go and use additional plugins that are again available for both free and paid to enhance the functionality of your website. You can easily find professional WordPress development companies offering multiple website development services that you may choose.

Here is a list of some pros and cons of going with this method of classified website development:


  • Saves development time
  • Saves money
  • Does not require too much of coding skills


  • Dependency on themes and plugins
  • Less customization
  • May face scalability issues

2. Fully-customized Classified Portal Development Solution

Now, this is a method where you contact a top-rated classified portal development company and seeing your requirements and features that you are looking for, they start everything from the scratch. Right from choosing the technology on which the website is to be developed to tools and frameworks, everything is decided based on your requirements and can be fully customized.

These development companies offer multiple hiring and engagement models like hourly rate, dedicated hiring, fixed hiring, and many more which you can choose according to your budget and requirements. Also, there are many companies that have pre-built scripts of a similar site like Craigslist and with just a little bit of tweaking, you can have the type of website you want. This can save a lot of time.

Here is a list of some pros and cons of going with customized classified website development:


  • Highly Scalable
  • Completely customized per your needs
  • Feature-rich
  • Secure
  • Flexible
  • Pre and post-development support
  • Maintenance Support


Apart from them being a little bit pricy as compared to the first method, there are no significant cons of going by this approach.

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How Does Craigslist Make Money?

We know after reading this much about classified portal development, this is the next question for which you are seeking an answer. So, apart from paid listings, there are many other ways too via which you can earn from your classified portal. Let’s have a look at some of the monetization strategies that you can go for:

1. Paid Ads

Of course, this has to be on the top of our list. This is one of the best ways to earn money from a classified website that users have to pay for each ad they post.

2. Subscription

Just like other apps, you can also ask your users to pay nominal subscription fees to enjoy uninterrupted services from your website. You can also offer some additional benefits to your subscribed members and ask them either to pay every month or on yearly basis.

Apart from the paid ads, you must have seen the featured ads on the websites and apps like OLX. You can also charge your users for the ads they want to display in the featured list. This gives them an edge over the others as their ad is always displayed on the top.

4. Google Ads

You must have seen in the websites like OLX that the empty white space is utilized for displaying ads of your interest. These are the Google Ads and the website that displays them get paid or the number of clicks. However, refrain from putting too many ads as this may irritate your users and instead of making money, you may lose on some.

5. Sponsored Ads

Just like Google Ads, you can also sell your empty space directly to other companies, to display their ads there. Here all the revenue earned will be yours and you do not have to pay any cut to any third-party like Google.

Read Also: A Complete Guide to Website Development Cost

Must-have Features in a Website like Craigslist

The world has become so competitive that only the best can survive. So, to excel in what you have created, you need to include some of the outstanding and needed features so that users find your website complete and easy to use and they do not have to surf other websites for finding anything.

Here is a list of some of the most common yet must-have features to include in your classified portal:

1. Easy Registration

Users must be able to easily register on your classified portal. You may also give an option to link their social media accounts and register via them to save time. This is an important feature to offer so that users can easily save their important information and maintain it easily, in case they need to use it in the future.

2. Categories

There must be too many categories in your classified portal s that business owners can easily post their ad in the relevant category. This increases the reach of their ads and also saves the time of a user looking for something under the same category.

3. Advanced Filters

Filters are a must these days as users generally do not have enough time to see the whole website. Using these filters, they can easily find what they are looking for.

4. Multiple Languages

To increase user engagement and user retention, you must ask your classified app developers to include multiple languages in your website. This will allow users to use the website in the language they prefer and understand.

5. Two-step Verification

Security is one of the major concerns these days. If you are planning to get free classified sites like Craigslist developed, adding a two-step verification process is a great option.

6. Payment Integration

You must hire classified app developers having expertise in integrating various third-party APIs including various payment options for users to easily either pay for the paid ads or pay for their subscription fees.

7. Display Ad Management

This is a must-have feature to include in your classified software solutions as for business owners who are looking to earn via Google ads and sponsored ads, they must be able to see all the revenue earned in one place.

8. Moderate Ads

Ads moderation is one of the biggest challenges that apps like OLX and Craigslist face. Giving an option to user to ban the ad that has offensive content is a great feature to offer.

9. Forums

This is a great feature to offer as this would be really helpful in strengthening the overall community and engagement.

How much does it Cost to Develop a Website like Craigslist?

Now that you have seen the list of features to include in your classified portal, let us move on to knowing how much would it cost to build a website like Craigslist. But before we directly mention an amount, it is very important for you to know that the cost of classified portal development depends on various factors like:

  • Complexity
  • Features
  • Type of Development
  • Location of Web Development
  • Tools and Technologies Used
Let us see how these factors affect the cost of website development:

1. Complexity

Not just for classified website development bust for all the other website and app development projects, complexity plays a vital role in determining the overall cost. This is because the more complex the project is the more time your app and website developers will take to develop your project and this will eventually increase your cost.

2. Features

The type of features you plan to include in your app will also determine the overall cost of a classified website and app like Craigslist. The more the features the more time the project will take to get completed, increasing the cost.

3. Type of Development

We have discussed this point earlier in detail. Whether you plan to develop your website using a CMS like WordPress or you are planning to hire a proficient classified portal development company, will change the cost. Hiring classified portal developers from a top-rated website development company will cost you more than going with the first option.

4. Location of Website Development

The place from where you hire classified portal developers makes a remarkable change in the overall cost. This is because based on the location the hourly rates of the developer change and this brings in the overall change in the cost. For example, you can get developers in India at a much cheaper price as compared to the ones in North America or Europe.

5. Tools and Technologies Used

This s one of the major factors in determining your cost of classified portal development as based on what kind of framework you choose for your website, whether you go for native or cross-platform app development for your classified app, will determine the cost. Also, if you plan to integrate technologies like cloud computing, the cost will be increased.

Based on the above factors cost to develop a classified website like Craigslist will be around $10,000 to $20,000 for the basic one and this price may go high if you get additional features included. The same goes for app development, for a native app based on the platform the cost may range from $10,000 to $25,000, depending upon the complexities. And for cross-platform app development, this price may go from $15,000 to $30,000, depending upon the app type and features.

Final Words

To conclude this blog, we would like to say that getting sites similar to Craigslist developed is not a difficult task. All you need to do is choose the right set of classified portal developers and a proficient classified portal development company to get all work done on your behalf. And at your end, all you need to do is be very clear of what you want and implement all the strategies very smartly.

Website development holds the utmost importance but marketing that website is also equally important, and for that, you need to put your marketing caps on and get going.

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