Craigslist for Beginners

By William Pullman

Craigslist classified ads are a good way to sell some of your belongings, find something you need at a cheap price or find or post a job. The website is minimalistic and may seem confusing to first-time users. You should learn how to search the Craigslist website to find something you need, and, if you want to post a classified, you should learn how to post so that you increase the exposure of your ad to the people you want to see it.

Creating an Account

Step 1

Open a Web browser, and navigate to Click "My Account" in the left menu on the website. The "Craigslist: Account Log In" page appears.

Step 2

Select "Sign Up for an Account," enter the email address you want to associate with your Craigslist account, enter the CAPTCHA verification and click "Create Account."

Step 3

Sign in to your email account, open the email from and click the link in the email to activate your account.

Step 4

Enter a password in the "Password" box and then a second time in the "Re-type Password" box. Click "Submit Password and Log In."

Step 5

Read the "Craigslist: Terms of Use" page and click "I Accept" if you accept the terms. Once you accept, you are directed to the "Your Postings" page of your Craigslist account.

Posting an Ad

Step 1

Click "My Account" on the left side of the website, enter your email address and password and click "Log In." The "Your Postings" page appears on the screen.

Step 2

Select the "New Posting" tab at the top of the website.

Step 3

Click the arrow next to "Post New Ad In," select the city or region where you want the ad displayed and click "Go."

Step 4

Select the appropriate option under "What Type of Posting Is This" by clicking on the circle next to the category, such as "For Sale" or "Job Offered."

Step 5

Click the appropriate category under "Please Choose a Category."

Step 6

Enter a title for your ad in the "Posting Title" box and a thorough description in the "Posting Description" box.

Step 7

Fill in the other information boxes, such as "Pricing," "Specific Location" and "Compensation," as needed.

Step 8

Click the circle next to "Show," "Hide" or "Anonymize" in the "Reply To" section. Clicking "Show" means that your email address appears in the ad. "Hide" means no email address is in the ad and "Anonymize" means Craigslist attaches an email address to your ad and forwards responses sent to that address to your email. Choosing "Hide" means you need to include in your description a way for people to contact you.

Step 9

Click "Add/Edit Images" if you want to include pictures in your ad.

Step 10

Select "Choose File," click the image on your computer that you want to ad to the list and then click "Choose."

Step 11

Click "Continue" when your ad is complete.

Step 12

Review your ad on the next page. Click "Continue" if you are happy with the ad or "Edit Again" if you want to make changes.

Step 13

Enter your phone number under "Phone Number," click "Via Voice" or "Via Text Message/SMS," depending on how you want to receive your confirmation code, click "In English" or "In French" and then click "Send the Code." You must enter a code sent from Craigslist to post your ad.

Step 14

Input your verification code in the "Enter the Authorization Code Here to Verify Your Account" box and click "Submit Verification Code."

Step 15

Enter the CAPTCHA verification image and click "Continue" to finish posting your ad.

Responding to an Ad

Step 1

Click "US Cities" or "US States" on the right navigation menu and select the city, state or region you want to search for ads.

Step 2

Select any of the categories to see the most current listings.

Step 3

Click the ad you want to respond to and read the description for contact information. Some posters prefer receiving phone calls over email, and others post an email address in the ad instead of using the email address they used to open the Craigslist account. If you don't find any contact information, proceed to Step 4.

Step 4

Click the email address next to "Reply To" to send an email to the ad poster. You can also copy and paste the address into your email client if that is more convenient.

Tips & Warnings

  • Craigslist has posted several warnings to prevent users from scams. You should read the warnings carefully before using the website.