How to Create a Classified Website Using WordPress?
Classified ads or listings that have existed only in newspapers have now transcended into websites in their own right. Craigslist is one of the most popular classified websites that allows free ad posting in several sections devoted to jobs, personals, services, etc.
If you want to launch your own free or paid classified ad website and create an exciting new marketplace where buyers and sellers can meet, our guide to creating your own classified website will take you through the required steps and highlight some tips on monetizing and marketing your website to ensure its long-term success.
Of all the possible ways to build a website, we’ve chosen WordPress to serve as platform for your ad posting website.
As a quick overview, here are the main steps required to create a website dedicated to classified ads:
- Choosing a Domain Name
- Choosing a Web Host
- Choosing the Right Content Management System
- Choosing the Right Design
- Structuring Your Website
- Adding the Classifieds
- Monetizing Your Classifieds Ad Website
- Advertising Your Classifieds Ad Website
At first, the steps involved in the creation of your ad posting site might seem overwhelming but bear with us and you’ll be done with your new site for classifieds in under an hour!
1. Start with a Domain Name
As a first step, think of a domain name for your website. You can choose a domain name that you think best describes your brand. Make sure you choose something that is short, easy to spell and easy to remember.
Next, choose a popular extension like “.com” or a country-specific extension if your classified websites will be limited to a certain country (e.g. “.it” for Italy).
Once you’re done choosing your domain name, it’s time to register it. You can use popular domain registrars like Namecheap or GoDaddy, but you can also register your domain with your webhost.
Some web hosts like BlueHost offer a free domain name for a year with all their hosting plans, so you can choose both your domain and your hosting plan from the same provider.
2. Find a Web Host & Hosting Plan
Choosing a reliable web host is an important step for creating any website. Given that the performance of your website is directly influenced by the web host you choose, we recommend choosing one that comes with excellent uptime, multiple hosting plans, and 24/7 support.
As for the hosting plan, we recommend choosing a WordPress optimized plan (you’ll see later on in this article why WordPress is the best choice for your site) from BlueHost, which is the top hosting for WordPress sites.
Choosing a BlueHost hosting plan optimized for WordPress means that the account comes pre-installed with WordPress, it’s optimized for speed and security, and comes with automatic backups. These plans are built on VPS technology, which translates into better performance, guaranteed resources, and complete security.
3. Use WordPress as Your Platform
As a content management system, WordPress is by far the most popular platform. The versatility and adaptability of this platform are few of many reasons why you should choose WordPress to create a classified website. Other advantages of WordPress include:
- It’s a free & open source software – You can download it for free or install it on your hosting account;
- It’s easy to use – WordPress might be versatile, but you can easily learn how to use it;
- It’s highly customizable – Thanks to the abundance of plugins and themes, you can add various functionalities and designs to your site;
- It’s SEO friendly out of the box – WordPress is created to play well with search engines, and a variety of SEO plugins can further enhance its search engine friendly nature;
- Most web hosts offer hosting plans fully optimized for WordPress.
Although WordPress is the top platform we recommend for a classified ad website, you can opt for self-hosted classified website options as well, which provide hosting and allow you to launch a website in minutes. However, if you want to have full control over your site and not have restrictions imposed on you about website monetization, we advise you to go with WordPress instead.
4. Choose a Theme & Customize Design
Now that your domain name, hosting plan, and platform are all taken care of, you can get into the details of how you want your website to look like in terms of design.
To personalize your WordPress classified website, you must choose a WordPress theme, which you can further customize to your liking by changing the color scheme, arranging how your homepage should look like, adding/removing features, etc.
You can choose from hundreds of premium themes available on Themeforest like the MyListing theme, which allows you to create any type of directory you want, without any coding. You can design your pages on the front-end and get a real-time preview of the changes you make to your pages.
The MyListing directory theme is fully responsive, comes with a drag and drop front-end page builder (Elementor), contains 50+ ready-to-build elements for your website, and supports WooCommerce integration.
This theme allows you to easily monetize your site by selling advertisement spots and allowing you to monetize listing submissions in different packages.
Alternatively, you can use the AdForest theme, which allows you to easily set up an ad submission website. This theme allows you to create unlimited ad submission packages, display AdSense or banner ads, charge for featured ads, or run a multilingual classifieds ad page.
Premium themes come with detailed guides on how to use them, support, security patches, updates, ready to use pre-made templates, other product integrations, etc. Therefore, we don’t recommend using free themes for your website.
Choose a classifieds premium theme that is flexible and that will give you a lot of options to monetize your site.
It’s also worth taking your time to find a theme with a great design, because a site with a sleek design is more likely to capture your visitors and you increase the chances of your visitors remembering your site.
5. Give Some Structure to Your Site
Now that you’re happy with how your site looks like, next, you should add pages, menus, and finally, ads to give some structure to your website.
Your theme will come with several templates for important pages your site should contain, so you can just simply edit these pages with data you want shown. Or create your own pages.
If you have all your pages ready, you can link to them with menus and submenus that reflect the different listings categories. Creating these categories (e.g. jobs, personals, entertainment, etc.) keeps your site well-organized and allows users to quickly search for listings in the category or categories they are interested in without wasting time.
Your home page should also have a link to the page that lets users submit their classified ads or to create an account. This is usually displayed as a call-to-action button that is placed in a prominent place on your home page.
Make sure to give exposure on your homepage to all important links and CTAs to help users quickly and easily navigate your site.
6. Adding Classified Products/Services
If you’ve created the different categories and sub-categories and made it easy for visitors to search in relevant categories, you can start adding actual classifieds listings. If you’re listing products, add multiple high-resolution images, so that visitors can get a better idea of the products you’re selling.
Besides pictures and the description of the product, other important details should be the price, the location of the product or service, ways to contact the seller of the product or the lister of an ad (e.g. phone number, email address, or a contact seller button).
Depending on the type of the listing, you may add other information that you may deem relevant.
As a final note related to adding classified ads, make sure your “post ad” call-to-action button is well designed, it’s placed in a visible and easily accessible place.
Step 6 concludes the part related to the creation of a classifieds website. The next two steps will focus on the monetization, marketing and maintenance of your directory WordPress site.
7. Tips on How to Monetize Your Classified Ads Site
Although you can technically be done with the creation of a classified ads directory website in a short time, the maintenance and management involved by these sites can take up a significant chunk of your time. Therefore, it is important to find the best and easiest ways to monetize your site, so that it grows into a reliable source of passive income.
The two easiest ways to monetize your classified website is through advertisement banners and paid classifieds ad listings.
Advertisement banners can be placed anywhere on your website, but naturally ads placed on the homepage are the ones that will get the most views. However, you can place banner ads on category pages or product detail pages and offer different pricing options for them.
While your ad listings site is still in its infancy, you may have to reach out to advertisers yourself, but as soon as your site gains some more ground in search engines and gets more traffic, it will be much easier to attract advertisers willing to advertise their products or services on your site.
Another monetization option is to have different tiers for those who want to post their ads on your site. You can have a free tier, which comes with some standard features (e.g. free ad listing for 15 days, possibility to add multiple high-resolution pictures, etc.), but you can also charge for classifieds submissions and offer extra features like promoted or featured listings for 30 days, multiple listings, etc.
Having different price packages is a quick way to increase your ad revenue, but if you’re going to implement paid submissions and different submission plans, you’ll have to be able to accept payments. Your classifieds theme will probably have PayPal integration for this purpose, but it can also support other payment processors as well.
8. Tips on How to Promote Your Classified Ads Site
It’s not enough to launch a WordPress classifieds website, you’ll also have to promote it and drive traffic to it.
One way to promote your site would be paid advertisements through Google AdWords. This is a straightforward way to get more visitors to your site, but it’s costly. Same goes for paid advertisements in the radio or TV.
If you don’t want to invest too much money in promoting your ad site, you’ll have to invest some time and effort. You can promote your site on social media platforms, you can add a blog to your site and start writing interesting articles in your niche, or create a YouTube channel and aim to go viral with a funny or witty video for your classifieds site.
Besides promoting your site, you’ll also have to take charge of its maintenance. For things to run smoothly, keep tabs on the content that is added and keep your site updated.
To get some stats about your visitors, you should sign up to Google Analytics, which will offer you a clear overview of the number of visitors to your site, where are your visitors coming from (organic traffic, paid traffic, social media, etc.), so you’ll know how to adjust your marketing efforts.
The basic steps to create a classifieds website with WordPress pretty much follow the same steps required to create any other WordPress website.
If getting your site up and running can be achieved in a short amount of time, promoting it and driving traffic to your site may require more effort, especially if you’re running your promotions on a shoestring budget. Even so, most free marketing methods that work for other sites usually work for classified websites as well.
If an ad-posting website is something you’re considering, our 8-step guide can help you launch the WordPress classifieds website you’ve always dreamed of.