Craigslist can be a very valuable online community for those who are looking for a variety of options including jobs, products, services, personal connections or housing opportunities. Users of this community can find all of the above listed opportunities and can also meet others and network or discuss important issues. However, because Craigslist is an online community there is always the opportunity for scammers and predators to be lurking on Craigslist.
Craigslist has approximately four billion page views per month and approximately ten million visitors each month. The majority of these visitors likely have no harmful intentions but there is a small percentage, as on any online community, who may be seeking to harm others either physically or financially. There are, however, a number of very worthwhile reasons to use the Craigslist community for finding more information on career possibilities, meeting platonic friends or romantic partners or purchasing products or services. This article will take a look at why Craigslist is so useful but will also offer sage advice on how to protect yourself while using Craigslist.
Why Choose Craigslist for Online Searches
Many might wonder why Craigslist is so appealing. While there are other websites which focus exclusively on job searches, product purchases or meeting potential platonic friends or partners, Craigslist is unique in that it provides one convenient location for all of these types of searches and more. Craigslist might have started as a small operation focusing exclusively on the events going on in the San Francisco Bay Area but has since mushroomed into a much larger community with websites specific to different geographic regions.
The different websites focusing on specific geographic regions makes Craigslist an excellent resource because the users can communicate with those in their area directly instead of having to search through a larger database to find information on people, products and events in their area.
How to Protect Yourself on Craigslist
Craigslist is not anymore dangerous than other online communities. As with an Internet gathering place, the biggest problem is the ease in which individuals can disguise themselves and trick others into believing they are trustworthy when they are not. This applies both to individuals who seek to physically harm others as well as those who have intentions to scam others out of money or tangible items.
One of the best ways to protect yourself on Craigslist, or any online community, is to safeguard your personal information. This means information such as credit card numbers, bank account numbers, social security numbers and other similar numbers should not be given out unless the individual is positive who will be receiving the information and that it is being transmitted over a secure server. This is important because this information can be used for identity theft or other fraudulent purposes.
Care should also be taken to avoid giving out personal information such as full name, address and phone number. This is especially important because such information could be used by someone with malicious intent to locate an individual. While name, address and phone number are obvious pieces of information which should be safeguarded, it is important to note other pieces of information could be used to find a person. For example a person can be identified and located by supplying seemingly harmless information such as a first name, where high school was attended and year of graduation. Determined criminals can use this information to deduce the last name of the person which could lead to finding their address and using this information to harm or harass the individual.
Advertising on Craigslist is worthwhile for just about any business offering products or services. Whether these products are offered through ecommerce websites or physical stores, the business owners can see financial gains through advertising on Craigslist. Firstly unlike other advertising opportunities there is very little risk involved in posting on Craigslist. With the exception of job postings and housing postings in specific markets, advertising is free on Craigslist. Users are asked to agree to the terms of service of the community and are expected to follow specific guidelines when posting advertisements but there are no financial obligations to those placing advertisements on Craigslist. This means those who post advertisements do not have to be concerned with whether or not the advertisement they place will meet their expectations in terms of sales generated.
Reaching Potential Customers on Craigslist
Another reason why posting advertisements for products or services on Craigslist is so worthwhile is the likelihood of reaching a large audience of potential customers. A review of the Craigslist fact sheet reveals pertinent information regarding the amount of traffic the website receives. According to this information Craigslist receives approximately four billion page views each month with ten million people using Craigslist each month. From these statistics it is clear that advertisements placed on Craiglist are likely to receive at least some attention from potential clients.
With so many visitors using Craigslist each month the advertising possibilities are limitless, however, there are no guarantee any of these visitors will be interested in your products or services. Like any marketing campaign, your advertisements on Craigslist must be intriguing, informative and in a location where you will reach your target audience.
Finding Your Target Audience on Craigslist
We’ve already discussed the number of visitors using Craigslist each month but the key to taking advantage of these numbers is to target your advertising in a way aimed at reaching your target audience as opposed to a wide audience of individuals who have no specific interest in your products or services. It is much more worthwhile to reach a small audience of those with a keen interest in your products or services than to reach a much larger audience of those who are not interested. Those who have an interest in your products or services are your target audience.
The key to reaching your target audience on Craigslist is placing your advertisement in the most appropriate locations. Craigslist has a specific section for businesses to advertise their services. This section is broken down into a number of categories. Those who are in the business of computer repair would be wise to place their advertisement in the computer section as opposed to the automotive section because individuals looking for computer help will naturally migrate to the computer section. It may sometimes be appropriate to place an advertisement in more than one section. This is acceptable as long as it does not cross the line to spamming the section.
If there is not a specific section for the products or services offered by your business there are a couple of options. Business owners can place an advertisement in the section for small business advertisements where it might be found by those doing a search in this section. Alternately the business owner can contact Craigslist to suggest the addition of a new category. They might be willing to oblige if they believe this category warrants an addition.
The Difference between Advertising and Spamming
Advertising on Craigslist is one thing but spamming is quite another. Placing an advertisement in an appropriate section of Craigslist is acceptable; however, placing the same advertisement in nearly every section of Craigslist websites for a number of different geographical regions is considered spam. Spam is ineffective for a number of reasons. First of all potential customers who see a particular advertisement in a number of different locations are likely to recognize the spamming techniques and be less inclined to patronize this business. Also, if Craigslist detects the practice of spamming they may delete all of the postings and could potentially ban advertisements from the individual in the future.
Although Craigslist has been around in one form or another since 1995, there are still some who have no idea how to use Craigslist. These individuals are missing out on a wonderful opportunity to be a part of a growing and continually evolving online community. This community is an excellent resource for finding information, finding jobs, finding friends or dates, making purchases, selling items or discussing important issues. This article will provide a brief introduction to each of the major sections on Craigslist.
The community section of Craigslist is very useful for finding a great deal of local information. This may include activities, events, activities and lost and found just to name a few. This is definitely the section to check out if you are looking for things to do or see in a particular area.
The Personals section is where individuals can meet platonic friends or romantic partners. This section is set up with a number of different categories making it possible for both heterosexuals and homosexuals to find potential dates. The personals section is restricted to users over 18 years of age.
The discussion forums provide a location for individuals to voice their opinions, answer questions or otherwise exchange information. This section is divided into a number of different categories to make it easier for users to find others who share their interests. Certain categories allow users to post without logging in while other sections require users to log in before posting.
Craigslist’s housing section offers a variety of options related to lodging. Users of this section can find apartments or homes available for rent, sublet opportunities, potential roommate situations, house or apartment swaps, real estate sales, vacation rentals and even storage, parking and office space for rent or sale.
For Sale Section
The for sale section of Craigslist is largely self explanatory. Like most sections, it is divided into a number of different categories. Each of these categories describes the types of items which are offered for sale within the category. Additionally, there is a wanted section where users may post advertisements seeking to purchase particular items. Not all of the items listed in the for sale section require a fee to be paid to receive the item. Some of these items are available for free or in barter situation.
In the services section, service providers may place advertisements for the types of services they offer. Advertisements should be placed in appropriate categories but if there is no appropriate category the advertisement may be placed in the generic small business section.
The job section is by far the most extensive section on Craigslist. This section is broken down into a number of different categories to make it easier for users to search for potential career matches. Users may find full time as well as part time opportunities in this section as well as telecommute positions and contract positions.
The gigs section is similar to the jobs section but advertisements in the gigs section are supposed to refer to one time only opportunities as opposed to ongoing work. For example advertisements for volunteer staff needed for a one day event should be placed in the gigs section while advertisements for full time staff positions should be placed in jobs.
The resumes section enables job seekers to post their resumes. The key to getting noticed in this section is to use a catchy headline for the resume. The resumes are not divided into different categories making it difficult for users to search through these resumes.
Many people hear the name Craigslist and know it refers to some sort of website but many are still unclear about the different ways in which Craigslist can be used. However, Craigslist receives over four billion page views per month so there are obviously many people who have a better understanding of the services offered by Craigslist. Essentially, Craigslist is similar to the classified section of a newspaper where individual can either post advertisements or respond to existing advertisements. There are a variety of different advertisements offered online and presented in a group of different categories to make it easier for users to find these advertisements. Whether you are new to Craigslist or a veteran of the online community this article may offer useful information about some of the uses of Craigslist. This article will discuss the following ways visitors can use Craigslist:
* Promote your business with Craigslist
* Find a job with Craigslist
* Sell items with Craigslist
* Meet dates with Craigslist
The above are just four of the most popular options for using Craigslist; however, these four options do not cover the vastness of Craigslist. Readers of this article are encouraged to investigate Craigslist on their own to learn more about what this online community has to offer.
Promote Your Business with Craigslist
One of the most popular uses of Craigslist is for business promotion. Both small businesses and large corporations can take advantage of the free advertising offered on Craigslist to promote their business and attract new customers. Business owners are free to place advertisements on Craigslist in the section for services offered. This section is broken down into a number of categories to allow business owners to place their advertisement in the most appropriate location where it is likely to reach the target audience. There is also a section for small business advertisements but it might be more worthwhile to place advertisements in one of the appropriate categories because it is more likely to be found by interested individuals.
Participating in the discussion forums and providing insightful comments and accurate answers to questions while also placing a link to a business website can help to drive traffic to an ecommerce website. However, when doing this, care should be taken to avoid making posts which will be perceived as spam.
Find a Job with Craigslist
Individuals can also use Craigslist to find jobs. They can either browse through the listings available by selecting a location and a general category. Additionally, the search feature can be used to refine the search for a job. This may include using search criteria such as whether or not the position is a telecommute position, a contract position, an internship, a part time position or a position with a non-profit organization.
Conversely business owners and human resources representatives can use Craigslist to solicit resumes for open positions. Those who post job openings in an appropriate category on Craigslist are likely to receive a large number of responses.
Sell Items with Craigslist
Individuals can also sell new or used items through Craigslist. Here individual can post a host of items which they are offering for sale. These items can be posted into different categories and the user supplies a description of the item as well as a desired price. There are also categories for individuals to place items they are seeking as well as items they are offering free of charge. There are some restrictions placed on the type of items which can be sold through Craigslist. For example the sale of firearms is not permitted in the sporting goods section and pornographic items cannot be offered for sale in the CD/DVD/VHS section.