Craigslist started out as a list of items for sale, and over its lifetime it has really stayed just a list of items. If you have ever tried posting a number of Craigslist ads before, you know how annoying it can be. There is little available with which to format your ads, and the few tools Craigslist provides are difficult to use, at best. Some posters have nicer looking graphics that are inserted into the post, but those are a challenge to make on your own. So how does the everyday Craigslist user make nice-looking postings? A new service called PostMaven just might be the answer.
PostMaven is a beta service which, for the time being, allows users to make official looking Craigslist ads from templates. After using the easy service to make an ad that meets your specifications, you can then export the code from the template and use it for your final posting on Craigslist. You can make ads for an array of goods and services, so stick with me to learn more about PostMaven.
PostMaven is definitely in beta as I write this, but you should still go sign up for an account. In fact, you could even go try it right now if you want. I’ll wait.
So you’re all signed up? Awesome. Go ahead and take a look at your home screen. This is where you can add/edit/delete advertisements and change account settings as needed. Any posts you have created show up with a thumbnail for easy access from the home screen.
You can also peruse the templates available from this screen as you start to plan out your first advertisement. PostMaven offers templates made for autos, home/apartment rentals, providing services and much more. Go ahead and take a look around and then head to the next section to learn more about actually making an advertisement to post.
Making an Advertisement
Once you’ve checked it all out, go ahead and select the template you want to use for your first PostMaven ad. The customization capabilities are somewhat limited – you can edit content and get rid of unused areas, but you can’t edit the colors or layout. Keep this in mind when choosing your first template.
Once your template is pulled up, it’s simply a matter of filling in the blanks. PostMaven has three content types, the first of which is text. Clicking on a text content space brings up the text editor. Here you can add/edit content and make some very basic formatting adjustments, like bold and italics. The rest of the formatting choices are dependent upon the type of text box, like header or body as well as the template itself.
The next content type is the ever popular (and necessary) image. To add an image, simply edit the image space. You can then add an image directly from your computer. Just save and the image appears in the ad.
In addition to single images, PostMaven also includes spaces to add image galleries. For a gallery, just select and upload multiple images. They are then all displayed together in a gallery within the ad, great for displaying properties or multiple items for sale.
Last but not least, PostMaven includes a contact area on each ad, separate from the contact information provided to Craigslist when posting an ad. Here, you can fill in your name, email, phone and more. Add as much or as little as you want, making you available for easy contact regarding the ad.
It’s also worth noting that you can easily reset the ad back to the original template at any time – just use the reset button at the top of the page.
Using the Advertisement
Once you’ve got the advertisement all set up to your specifications, it’s time to actually post the ad on Craigslist. PostMaven saves progress automatically, so just change the name at the top of the page to keep track of which ad is which on your home page. Make sure your ad is proofed and everything meets your specifications and then we can go ahead and export.
The export button is located at the top of the ad – clicking on it will bring up the code necessary to post the ad on Craigslist. Simply copy the code and head on over to Craigslist. Don’t let the code freak you out – just get your posting set up and paste it right into the posting description box. It’s actually less of a pain than setting up an ad directly on Craigslist is sometimes. Hit the post button and you’ll be good to go!
Is PostMaven Useful?
I don’t find myself having to make too many postings for Craigslist, but when I do I’m always trying to think of creative ways to make the posting look a little bit more exciting than the rest. Unfortunately, that’s pretty difficult to do with Craigslist – there’s not a lot you can alter on the posting (probably a good thing – we all remember how bad MySpace got, right?). Without having access to a design program and some knowledge of code, making a fancy ad has been pretty much impossible up to this point.
PostMaven, then, is a fantastic tool. There might be other tools out there to help with Craigslist ads, but PostMaven is the first one I’ve found that really does what it says it will, easily and quickly. It takes just a matter of minutes to get started, customize and export the ad. You’ll likely spend more time making a complete post on Craigslist than you would making an ad on PostMaven.
Of course, PostMaven still has some issues to work out – namely, I’d like to see more options to choose from. More templates are being added with time, which is nice to see. Hopefully that trend continues, with some more templates geared towards specific postings. At this point, the only categories of templates are general and automobile. Some templates for areas like properties for sale/rent or specific types of items for sale would be most appreciated.
There’s also not a lot you can do to customize the template once you choose it. Really, all you can do is edit the content of the template – namely, the text and images. I’d like to see PostMaven at least add some different color schemes to choose from within the template. Ideally, they will eventually give users the ability to choose colors on their own for all the major areas of the template. I don’t expect to see that anytime soon, but I certainly hope that’s something PostMaven adds as they continue to mature as a viable web app.
In the grand scheme of things, PostMaven is pretty awesome. They’re making a great start in livening up Craigslist’s typically boring postings. I’m excited to see where they take the app as time progresses. What about you? Have you tried PostMaven? Do you have a different way of livening up your Craigslist postings? Share your thoughts in the comments below.