Basic Craigslist Tutorial

AccurateAG 0 Tallied Votes 595 Views Share

Basic Craigslist

NOTE: This article assumes you have an Wintel PC. If you have a Mac, then the ideas will be the same but you will need to figure out which programs you want to use.


You will need:

1. A PC with an internet connection plus:
- A browser. I prefer Firefox, but any browser will do.
- Word or some other word processor
- Notepad, or some other text editor
- Paint, or some other image editor

2. An e-mail account.

3. A telephone number. Some phone companies do NOT phone verify with Craigslist; Google Voice, MagicJack, and MetroPCS are well known for it.

4. A digital camera or a phone with a digital camera.


1. Using your browser, go to craigslist and set up your account using the e-mail address. You can set up one account per e-mail address.

HOWEVER, the biggest restriction is the telephone number. Craigslist does what is called "phone verification", where an automated system calls and gives you a 4- or 5-digit number. You put this number into a field. There are some restrictions:

1-1. Once you use a phone number to verify an account, that phone number cannot be used to verify another account for 90 days.

1-2. Sometimes, when you put in the phone number, you do not get a phone call. This means you have to try to post another day.

2. Create a folder just for that ad, i.e. 2001 Chevy Silverado.

3. Write your ad (see below). DON'T FORGET TO SPELL CHECK! Save it as a text file. Craigslist doesn't work too well with word processor files.

4. Place your ad in a folder just for that ad, i.e. 2001 Chevy Silverado.

5. Place your images in that folder. If you are taking photographs, take about 10-12 photos and put them in the folder. Vary the photos. NOTE: Craigslist does not consider PDFs to be images.

6. Look at the size of the photographs. If they are above 200K, then use Paint to reduce the size. You do this by opening the photo in Paint, then click on Image, then Resize. Try reducing by 50%, then saving the image under a NEW name. If it is still too large, do it again.

7. Make a subfolder in this folder for the original photos, and move them to it.

8. Review the photos, and choose which ones you want to use in your ad. You can only use four. Move the others to the Photos subfolder.

9. Craigslist does not like you to post the same ad more than once in 48 hours, so if you need to post more than that, you will need to write different ads.

10. Now, go back to Craigslist and choose which city you will want to post this in. Some cities have associated areas; look at SF Bay Area and Los Angeles in Craigslist for examples. Craigslist does NOT like you to post the same ad in multiple cities, or in multiple subsections of cities, on the same day.

11. In Craigslist, choose which category you want to post in. Some things will fit in only one category, others will fit in more than one. NOTE: Craigslist does not like you to post the same ad in different categories in the same day.

12. Post the ad. Open the text in Notepad or another text editor and copy/paste from Notepad to Craigslist. Before you are done check your work:


- Ensure the price is correct.

- Ensure the Posting Title is correct

- Ensure the Specific Location is correct.

- Ensure the text is correct; nothing has been cut off, the margins look okay, etc.

- Ensure the photographs are correct (it is very easy to put the wrong photographs in by
NOT going to the proper folder!)

13. After 10-15 minutes, ensure the ad is running by going to Craisglist and looking for the ad.

13-1. If it is there, open the ad and ensure it is what you want. It is very easy to make
mistakes. See Problems and Solutions.
- You have placed it in the correct category
- The text is correct. It is very easy to cut off a few letters at the beginning or end of your copying.
- The title is correct
- The price is correct
- The Specific Location is correct.

13-2. If it is not there, check the time in the upper left corner; this tells you when it was last updated. If the time is earlier then the time you posted the ad, go back in a few minutes and recheck.

13-3. If the time is AFTER you posted the ad, and the ad is not there, try again in about 10-15 minutes. If it is STILL not there, see Problems and Solutions:

14. Once you have posted the ad, you need to keep track of people who call and what the results of each call.

15. Once you have sold the item, you need to delete each copy of the ad from Craigslist. You do this not only to keep Craigslist uncluttered, but so you don't keep getting calls. You do this through your Craigslist account.


16. The key to selling on Craigslist is research. You don't want to sell something too low, and you don't want to price it too high, or it won't sell. Also, you want to ensure it is in the correct category, and you want to ensure you use all the keywords relevant to what you are selling.

17. When selling anything, you want to think about what YOU are looking for in what you are trying to sell. When selling a car, for example, you always want to include such things as the year, make, and model; mileage; whether it is a manual or automatic transmission; how many doors it has; body style; and what kind of condition it is in. If you are selling something else, again, you want to have as complete description as possible.

18. How do you do that? Well, you first look at the other Craigslist ads selling what you are trying to sell, then take the good points from all those ads and include them in yours. Include a general location; not your address, but the neighborhood or town you live in.

19. While you are looking at the other people's ads, you want to see what their prices are. Look at their prices, and use them as a guide.

20. If you are not sure what category you ad will go in, go to the Craigslist city you are planning to sell in, click on 'For Sale", and put in a few words describing what you are trying to sell. Look at the categories that come up. If the description comes up with multiple categories, then use the one with the most results, and keep note of the other categories for later.


21. You need to reset your password
Solution: add a number to your password; i.e., instead of hello, make it hello1. Don't forget to document the new password.

22. You need to phone verify. Keep track of the phone number you use. When you phone verify, write down the date, time, and verification code. Remember, the phone number can only be assigned to an account once every 90 days, so you need to know the last day you phone verified that account with that phone number.

Phone verification may not accept some phone numbers, particularly things like VOIP numbers (Google Voice, MagicJack, and MetroPCS are notorious for not being Craigslist friendly).

23. You cannot find the ad after posting it. There are several possibilities:

23-1. You have not given it enough time. Solution: Wait until the posting time updates.

23-2. The ad was flagged. Solution: Check your e-mail for that, as well as your account.

23-3. The ad was "spam-checked" or "ghosted". Craigslist sends an e-mail saying the ad was posted, but it does not appear. This is due to the Craisglist system software marking you as someone who has violated their terms of use and/or been flagged too much. Solution: You can try to repost a previous ad. If that doesn't work, wait a day or two and try again.

24. You have put the ad in the wrong city. Solution: Delete it. You can try to repost a previous ad, or use another ad text.

25. "You have posted an almost identical item". Solution: Use a different ad text, or wait a day or so to post again, or repost a previous ad.

26. You have posted in the wrong category. Solution:

26-1. If it is in the same category (i.e. For Sale) you can change that with the drop-down menu in the upper right corner.

26-2. If it is in a different category (i.e. instead of For Sale you need it in Housing) you need to delete the ad and repost a previous one.

27. Wrong information in the ad (i.e. wrong photographs, e-mail coming in, etc). Solution: Edit the ad by going to your Craigslist account, click on the ad title, then edit the ad.

28. You are posting too fast. Solution: Wait a few minutes.

29. Phone call does not come in. Solution: Nothing.

30. Phone-verified account (PVA). Someone has made a Craigslist account with a phone number, and they will sell it to you. Yes, you can buy a PVA; however, it can get expensive if Craisglist asks you to verify every day!

31. Account Blocked. This is when Craigslist has determined you are a spammer, and will not allow you to post. SOLUTION: Make another account with another phone number.

32. Whether to include your e-mail address or phone number is up to you; however, you really do need to include at least one of them.

32-1. E-Mail.

32-1-1. Advantages:
- Permanent record

- You don't have to answer the phone in the middle of the night

- Easier to multitask

32-1-2. Disadvantages

- You get a lot of spammers. They will e-mail you, and you will respond. NOW they have your e-mail address. Welcome to the wonderful world of spam!

- The potential customer will not include all the information you need, so you will keep trading e-mails. This is a very tedious process.

- Harder to make the sale

32-2. Phone:

32-2-1. Advantages:

- You get the personal touch; it is easier to sell someone on the phone.

- You can call them back in a month or two to try to resell them.

- More immediate.

32-2-2. Disadvantages

- Telemarketers harvest phone numbers from Craigslist.

- Calls can come in the middle of the night, or when it is inconvenient. Just let it go to voice mail, and check it in the morning.

PinkyDutta -3 Newbie Poster

Great, your post makes my search much easier!

AccurateAG 28 Junior Poster in Training

Hi Pinky:

Glad you liked it. This is the result of over five year's experience on CL!


Manu_2 0 Newbie Poster

After all I got this interesting article, this is my hobby to surf on internet for various subjects. I notice this, only professional bloggers maintain quality of content. I am redirected here from <a href="">delete craigslist account</a> web page.

prokxx 0 Newbie Poster

I am having too much flagging in various cities on CL.Tried everything but failed.Can you help?

Ranjit88 0 Newbie Poster

Great post. Thank you very much.

Tharsi 0 Newbie Poster

Thank you for this Craigslist tutorial. It give some ideas about craigslist.

Be a part of the DaniWeb community

We're a friendly, industry-focused community of developers, IT pros, digital marketers, and technology enthusiasts meeting, networking, learning, and sharing knowledge.