How to Make a Strong Craigslist Ad For Your Web Design Business
How to Make a Strong Craigslist Ad For Your Web Design Business

How to Make a Strong Craigslist Ad For Your Web Design Business

Published on January 1, 2023

In the digital age, local visibility remains crucial for the success of any business, especially in the creative and ever-evolving field of web design. Craigslist, a long-standing and widely used classifieds platform, has become an unexpected yet potent tool for reaching potential clients. No longer just a marketplace for goods, Craigslist's vast reach extends to services, where businesses can connect with a local audience actively seeking web design services.

Whether they're new businesses looking to establish their online presence, or established companies in need of a website redesign, a significant number of small businesses turn to Craigslist in search of professional services.

By leveraging Craigslist, your web design business can tap into a local market searching for exactly the services you offer. But, how do you stand out in a sea of listings? A well-crafted Craigslist ad is more than a pitch; it's your digital handshake to the local community. This guide will walk you through creating an ad that not only captures attention but showcases the unique value of your web design services. From structuring your ad for maximum impact to employing best practices that resonate with your audience, we've got you covered. Let's begin the journey to elevate your business's visibility on one of the most accessible platforms out there.

The Basics: Getting Started with Your First Ad

If you’re new to Craigslist, here are some step-by-step instructions for posting an ad.

1. Visit Craigslist's homepage ( and ensure the correct location is selected for your ad. This is the location for which you want your ad to show.

2. Click “post an ad” in the top left corner.

3. Select the “service offered” category and choose an appropriate subcategory for web design services such as “computer services” or “creative services”. In some larger metro areas, you can further specify your subarea, neighborhood, town or city.

4. Fill out the necessary fields for your ad including the title, description, and contact information.

5. Add engaging images related to your web design services. Craigslist recommends using images to maximize your ad’s engagement with users.

6. Preview your ad, confirm it via email, and then publish it!

*Please note: Most Craigslist cities charge $5 ad to post to the services section.

Best Practices for Posting Craigslist Ads

To make your ad stand out amongst all the other Craigslist ads in your area and maximize your lead generation potential, check out these 5 best practices:

1. Use High-Quality Images

Craigslist allows you to include images in your ad and it’s recommended to take full advantage of this to help your ad stand out. Many searchers filter out ads that don’t include photos, and including images helps you stand out from the text-heavy ads. Include images of your logo, screenshots of websites you've designed, and even yourself. You’ll be surprised at how effective it can be to include a personal photo of yourself or your team. People like to see the friendly faces behind a company as it humanizes the brand and builds trust. Ensure the images are high resolution and professionally presented.

2. Write Copy that is Authentic, Engaging and Professional

The body of your ad should introduce yourself, your company, the services you offer and what sets you apart from other web designers in the area. Keep your tone conversational and personal. Your goal is to create an engaging, attractive and easy-to-read ad that builds trust and encourages potential customers to make contact with you. Avoid technical jargon that can be confusing and focus on writing copy that resonates with your target audience – small business owners. Include links to your website, samples of websites you built or portfolio, client testimonials and contact information. End with a special offer or call-to-action that encourages visitors to reach out for more information. Be sure to proof-read your ad prior to posting to avoid any spelling or grammatical errors as this can be a turn-off to potential clients.

3. Follow Craigslist’s Rules for Posting

Each online classifieds platform, including Craigslist, is governed by an extensive set of regulations. Craigslist actively monitors its site for spam, objectionable material, and repeated postings. Adhering strictly to their advertising guidelines is essential to prevent your ad from being overlooked or marked as spam. Here are some additional tips:
  • Avoid overposting. The frequency of posting should be balanced based on competition in your area. You shouldn’t need to post more than once or twice a month in most markets. Excessive posting may result in Craigslist flagging or even suspending your account. 
  • Each ad should be unique. Avoid copying and pasting the same content over and over again. Make simple changes like swapping out the title, re-ordering your images and revising your ad copy. 
  • Stay away from spam-like phrases and overly commercial language. Some common phrases like “100% free,” “credit card,” and even “risk-free” can get flagged as spam. Using all-caps titles are also more likely to be flagged as spam. 

4. Track Your Leads

Always ask new clients how they found you. This information can help you gauge the effectiveness of not only your Craigslist strategy, but all of your marketing efforts. You can do this during initial conversations or through a mandatory field in your website's contact form. Utilize analytics tools like Google Analytics to track the source of your website traffic, helping you determine if visitors are coming directly from Craigslist or other channels. Experiment with different ads and regularly analyze this data to identify trends and adjust your marketing strategies accordingly. Effective lead tracking not only measures the success of your Craigslist campaign but also provides a comprehensive view of your overall marketing impact, guiding you towards more informed and strategic decisions.

5. Expand Your Reach to Nearby Areas

The competition for visibility on Craigslist can be particularly fierce in larger cities, where the volume of ads is higher. As a result, your web design ad might get quickly buried under newer listings. An effective strategy to counter this is to broaden your advertising reach to encompass smaller neighboring towns and communities as well.

By posting in these less saturated areas, your ad stands a better chance of staying visible for longer and being noticed. This approach not only captures the attention of clients in these areas but also taps into a market that might have fewer competing web design agencies. Additionally, expanding your reach in this manner can help build a diverse client base and establish your presence in a wider geographical area.

Remember, while targeting these smaller regions, tailor your message to resonate with the local audience. Highlight how your web design services can cater to the unique needs and preferences of each community. This localized approach can create a more personalized connection, making potential clients in these areas feel valued and understood.

Sample Craigslist Ad Template for Web Designers

Not sure what to write in your Craigslist post? Use this simple craigslist ad template to get started.
Title: Affordable Website Design for Small Businesses


Hello, I’m [Your Name] from [Your Company Name] and we specialize in affordable website design and digital marketing services for small to medium size businesses in and around [City Name]. By applying the latest SEO and web design best practices, we have helped our clients reach the top of Google with a website that not only looks great, but performs great as well. You can check out some samples of our work below:


We take pride in our personal approach to understanding each client's unique needs and delivering tailored solutions that exceed their expectations, not their budget. We offer a fast turnaround and are able to get your new site launched in as little as 1 week. But what truly sets us apart is that we allow you to preview what your new website can look like for free so you know exactly what you’re getting before you pay us a dime.
But don’t just take our word for it. Here's what our clients are saying:

"[Testimonial Excerpt]."

"[Testimonial Excerpt]."

If you would like to see how we can help grow your business, call, text or visit us online to request your free website mockup.

[Your Name]
[Your Company Website]
(Your Phone Number]

Final Thoughts

Whether you're just starting out or looking to scale your agency, crafting a compelling Craigslist ad for your web design business can be the catalyst for growing your business. However, it involves more than just posting an ad and listing your services. It's about creating a connection with your local community, standing out from competitors, and presenting your unique value proposition in a clear, engaging, and professional manner. By following the best practices outlined in this guide and using our sample ad template as a starting point, you're well on your way to effectively reaching and resonating with potential clients in your area. Remember, the key to success on Craigslist lies in authenticity, strategic posting, and continuous improvement based on feedback and lead tracking. Embrace this opportunity to showcase your skills and grow your web design business. Good luck, and happy posting!

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