What are custom templates and why do you need them?
When you browse for ads on Craigslist, chances are that you will run into lots of ads that look much better than others. They are beautifully designed to draw attention of the renters, showcase your professionalism and brand, stand out from the rest of the ads, and lead renters to visit your website to browse your own inventory. These ads can also be designed to serve specific purposes, such as advertising and showcasing luxury building units. When designed and used correctly, it can be more effective than plain and generic ads.
These ads are typically posted with, what we call, custom templates, which allows the poster to pull up any listing and instantly generate a beautiful ad. Chances are, if you have been using our system, you already are using the templates we provide with your account. But how can you get your own custom templates?
The Simple Way – Use Our Template Builder
The easiest and quickest way to build simple custom Craigslist templates for yourself and your users is to use our Template Builder feature. Our Template Builder features a simple interface that allows you to easily upload custom images, arrange different elements of an ad, and create custom ad content.
The pro of the Template Builder is that you can throw a simple template together in a matter of minutes, and quickly create multiple templates. The con is that this feature limits what you can do with a template. If you are looking to create a beautiful custom template that perfectly matches your company / personal brand, the Template Builder won’t be able to do that unfortunately. In this case, you need to hire a 3rd party designer/programmer to help you design and create these types of templates.
What Does It Take to Create A Perfect Custom Template
Many users have asked You Got Listings to quote them on how much it is to create custom templates, and often they are surprised by the quote we give them. How can a custom template costs so much? This is because the template creation process is fairly difficult. Not only do we need to go through the usual design, creation, and implementation process with you, there is also a hair pulling testing process involved. Craigslist limits the type of HTML (the code used to generate a template) you can use in a template, and there is no clear guidelines on what they accept and what they don’t. More often than not, when a template is designed, it just won’t display correctly due to these Craigslist constrains. We have to tweak it over and over to make it work. Basically, it’s a very time consuming process.
Introducing Our Custom Template Development Kit
Our new Craigslist Custom Template Development Kit is exactly aimed at making the custom template development process easier and faster. It provides designers and programmers with guidelines, sample template, a easy to use test environment, and the ability to directly integrate their templates into your YGL account. We are confident that it will help cut the development cost down by more than half.
If you are looking to give this a try, please email us, and we’ll send it your way.
How to Get Started with Your Own Templates
Unless you know design and HMTL yourself, you will need to hire a designer/programmer. One way is to try to post an ad online, such as Craigslist’s gigs section. The most affordable way is outsource it on eLance.com or oDesk.com. We have used both with good results. Regardless of which way you go, you would need to spend some time managing the process. A local design/programmer will probably cost around $200 – $400 per template. Outsourcing it, you can probably get it for $100 – $150, perhaps even cheaper.
Once you have hired a designer / programmer, first send our Custom Development Kit to him/her. It explains to him/her the basic processes of developing custom templates. After that, you will work with him/her to come up with the design you want. After the design is approved by you, he/she will be able to create it and implement it for you using our development kit. We will provide support to your designer/programmer should he/she need it.