There are a huge variety of online ad platforms in the network and, judging by Statista, they are doing well: in 2019, the revenue of such sites exceeded $ 22 billion, which is 10% more than the previous one. The most popular site for online classifieds is Craigslist, the less popular ones are Gumtree (UK) and OLX (in several other countries).
Next, we will explain why Craigslist
is popular, despite the design flaws: lists, lists, lists again and a couple of photos. This is nonsense in our time, but it works - in the United States alone there are 60 million visits per month. Having understood the reason for the popularity of this “nonsense”, you will be able to create your own online classifieds site
like Craigslist. We will also tell how to do this.
Reason for the popularity of craigslist
By most modern standards, Craigslist is an example of a bad site. No graphics, original design and color variations that highlight important information for users. In fact, this is the development straight from the 90s, when other sites simply did not know how to do it - minimalism in its pure form.
And one could say that Craigslist is still popular only because of inertia, but if you look at the design of Amazon.com, the most popular marketplace, you will see almost the same minimalism. Therefore, it's not just user loyalty.
Amazon minimal design
Sites such as Amazon and Craigslist are popular despite the rough design flaws, as they rely on functionality and sacrifice design for the sake of "the perfect flow of information" (or UX design).
Thanks to a well-organized flow of information, Craigslist users can very quickly achieve their goals, whether they be placing an advertisement for the sale of a great-grandmother’s rug or buying a spoon. And this is a huge plus in the world where the average user’s attention volume is approaching that of a goldfish (8 seconds).
Two approaches to development
There are two approaches to creating sites like Craigslist
: using open source solutions or developing from scratch
. Let’s consider the advantages and disadvantages of each option. This will help you understand which option is best for you.
Open source solution
WordPress Theme Classiads
When it comes to open source solutions, they usually mean using WordPress
themes. They are simple and quite functional, while if a particular theme lacks a specific function, this can be fixed with the help of a plugin. To create a site on the type of Craigslist, suitable themes Classiads, Classifieds, Classify, ListingPro, FlatAds and others.
- Price. Starting a WordPress site is usually inexpensive. Of the mandatory costs only domain and hosting (up to $ 200). Many themes and WordPress itself can be used for free. True, if you need bright and multi-functional themes, you will have to pay from 200 to 1000 dollars. Plug-ins can also be both paid and free.
- Development time. WordPress can be compared with a designer, with which you can build a site like Lego. That is, technically speaking, there is no need to develop anything, so the launch of the site will take very little time - from a couple of hours to a couple of days, depending on the complexity of the project and the ideas of the designers.
- Simplicity. You will be able to create a website on the type of Craigslist by simply viewing the video instruction on YouTube. To do this, you do not need programming skills, web design or project management, perseverance and a few hours of free time are enough.
- The limited settings. Professional programmers have created a lot of topics for online ad platforms, as they are in demand. At the same time, almost all such topics can be slightly modified: customize the design, change the color scheme, slightly expand the functionality with the help of plug-ins. But in order to significantly change the design or functionality of the theme, you need the help of a developer.
- No support. Typically, creating a site on WordPress happens like this: you install the engine, download and install the necessary theme, and then add another 10-20 plug-ins. What happens next is also predictable: the number of plug-ins will grow, as well as the number of users, and this will lead to failures and the need to hire someone who will fix everything. In this case, rely on the support of plugin developers and themes are not worth it, since it is not their problem.
- Templates of functions. If you need uniqueness in design and / or functionality, WordPress is not your choice. This system offers sample solutions that should satisfy the needs of most potential customers. To create unique features and integrate them into a WordPress theme, you need a specialist, money and time.
- Scalability Problems. Platforms such as WordPress were created for blogs and small news sites. Everything else is an add-on that weakens the reliability of the underlying architecture. In this case, the architecture itself is not designed to work with multiple databases or distributed databases. Therefore, the more traffic on such sites, the more problems they have with stability.
- Security Problems. When the site is made of 20 modules that are created by different people, you will have a lot of problems (albeit not critical), and the biggest one is security. Each module is an opportunity for hacking and their "docking" too. Hundreds of thousands of simple instructions for hacking WordPress on Google and YouTube are proof of that.
Development from scratch
By creating a site like Craigslist from scratch
, you will be sure that it has only those features that you need and the design you need. In this case, the final product will belong only to you.