How to Build a Website Like Craigslist

By Max Power

There is no doubt that utilizing web-based classified-ad services has become a hot trend in recent years. In fact, one out of 10 Internet users visits an online classifieds service each day. Since hosting an online classifieds service is a dynamically driven process, it will be heavily dependent on using server-side scripting and database technologies. Fortunately, these are often available as open source products which can be employed quickly and inexpensively.

Step 1

Consider using an open-source blogging software such as WordPress. These software platforms allow for the incorporation of widgets designed by third-party developers. Some of these plugins will allow for the posting of user content such as classified advertising. While the approach may not be very versatile, it is probably the simplest way to accomplish the task of accepting and posting web-based classifieds.

Step 2

Research the opportunities offered by popular content management systems. If you don't have experience programing with a server-side scripting language or if you are not familiar with relational database programs then you will probably want to use a pre-programmed content management system which can be customized to your needs. Two of the leading content management programs which you should consider using are Joomla and Drupal. Neither of these programs charge for their use; however, you should spend the time to become familiar with each product prior to investing the time and energy to customize their system.

Step 3

Develop the user-facing framework for your users. You will need to have a working knowledge of XHTML and CSS. These two coding systems can be written in a basic text editor and will allow you to design the structure which will appear on your users' browser screens. If you need assistance with these two languages then you should take advantage of any number of XHTML and CSS online tutorials which will explain the features available.

Step 4

Deploy the server-side back-end scripting language and database program. You will need to process dynamic data which will need to be updated depending on user input. To do this it will be necessary to use a server-side scripting language such as PHP, Java, Pearl, Python or Microsoft's ASP.NET language. These scripts will take the data entered by the user and place it in the database. They will also retrieve the data upon request and present in in the XHTML and CSS framework which was mentioned above. You will also need to set up a relational database to securely house the data.