By now you've probably heard of the big-name classified sites like Craigslist. But just because giants like this exist, doesn’t mean you can’t build a new classified ads site of your own!
There are plenty of opportunities out there. Maybe you want to build a niche classifieds site? Maybe something to serve your local audience? There are tons of opportunities out there, all you need is an idea.
So if you’ve got an idea, great! In this post, we’ll teach you how to create a classified website in just five steps:
- Plan your classifieds website
- Get hosting & a domain name
- Buy a WordPress theme
- Get a WordPress classifieds plugin
- Build your classifieds pages
1. Plan your classifieds website
Creating a classifieds site is relatively straightforward. But marketing it, maintaining it, and dealing with customers will take hard work. Consider that Craigslist had 50 full-time employees as of 2017! But, also consider that the site earns over $500 million each year - wow!
While it pays to be one of the first big players, that doesn’t mean your idea won’t catch fire. Just don’t ignore all the admin work you may need to manage when your classified listings site takes off.
There is one major question you should be asking yourself: paid classified ads or free classified ads? It should be obvious, but with a free classified site, you’ll get more traffic, but the listings will need to maintained daily.
2. Get hosting & a domain name
Get a WordPress dedicated hosting plan
When we think about how to make a classified ads website in WordPress, we should start with hosting. Having a host that is optimized for WordPress will be very important for a classifieds site for a few reasons:
- Site speed optimization
- Express WordPress installation
- Database management
- WordPress savvy support
The above list of reasons for a dedicated WordPress hosting plan might seem rather innocuous, but if you’ve never installed WordPress before, it can be a challenge. A decent WordPress hosting plan will include WordPress setup. If you get stuck, they should have a support team to bail you out.
The good news is that there are plenty of WordPress hosts available due to the popularity of the WordPress platform. Google around and see which one works for you, or check out our favorites, Siteground, or Bluehost.
Choose a domain name that will stick
The name of your domain is the starting point for everything. Since you’ll be competing with established online classifieds sites, you’ll need to stand out.
It’s best if you can get some keywords into the name. If you are making a local listing, the name of the town or a well-known landmark could work. If you are creating a niche listing site, include keywords relevant to that niche.
Also, combining local or niche keywords with “classifieds keywords” might be a good idea. The standard “list” could do the trick, but there are other options if you do some research.
3. Buy a WordPress theme
Here’s the deal: there are a billion and one WordPress themes out there. The free ones are mostly awful, so we strongly recommend buying a pro WordPress theme.
There are indeed WordPress themes dedicated to creating listings sites, but you’ll be better off getting a popular theme rather than a niche theme.
The trouble with niche themes is that they aren’t updated very often. This can create a lot of problems for your site. It’s far better to go with a frequently updated theme with several included templates.
How do you find one? Just visit Theme Forest and browse around!
4. Get a classifieds plugin
After you’ve chosen your theme, you’ll need a WordPress classifieds plugin. We strongly recommend Another WordPress Classifieds Plugin - why? Because we’ve been perfecting it for the last 10 years!
Full disclosure, this is our plugin. But we strongly believe it will serve you and your classified ads website well. Our plugin will fully answer the question: how to create a classified website in WordPress. Just install our plugin and you’ll be on your way.
There’s a lot of good with AWPCP, but the best part? Probably that it’s free! We do have our premium features, but most of the features are completely free to use.
What makes AWPCP so great? Take a look:
- Scalable & easy to use
- Multi-language plugin (including French, Spanish, Russian & German)
- Payment gateway support for paid listings
- Friendly support team
- CSV import and export
- Responsive mobile-ready design
Our premium modules offer even more, like featured listings in search results and social media integration. Building your listing website with AWPCP could not be easier!
Other than a classified plugin, there are a few other plugins you may need. For example, an advanced WordPress form builder or a page builder like Beaver Builder. It all depends on exactly how you want to structure your ad submission process.
5. Build your classifieds pages
Now let’s cover how to build a classified website with WordPress. There will be a number of pages needed to supplement the standard classified pages. What are the standard classified listing pages? Glad you asked:
- Classified ad submission page
- User signup page & login page
- Listings page (multiple pages if you have different categories)
- Individual listing page
That’s just the basic requirement for classified sites. In reality, you could build many supporting pages, including:
- Blog & articles
- Support pages
- Contact page
- About page
- Landing pages
Developing a number of pages for your classified listing site will help with SEO and traffic generation. These pages can be built over time, so don’t get overwhelmed when starting out!
We hope you’ve come a few steps closer to your dream of building a classified ads site with WordPress. Download our free WordPress plugin and get started on your new website today!