How to Format Your Craigslist Car Ad Posting

We’ve all seen tons of terrible looking Craigslist ads. We’re also aware of the fact that proper formatting of a Craigslist ad can result in more interest for your car, which can result in you obtaining more money for that car. This is why it makes sense to spend some time properly formatting your Craigslist car ad posting. An hour of your time could make a $500 or more difference in your final selling price. However, Craigslist doesn’t make it simple to create a great looking ad. If you aren’t familiar with html, trying to create a Craigslist car posting on your own can be frustrating. Which is exactly why I’ve put together this small guide. I’m going to lead you through all the pieces necessary to make the best Craigslist car ad, including all of the html coding you’ll need so that you can simply copy and paste.

The car I’ll be using in this example posting is a 2004 Acura TL. We’ll leave the ad creating for later because I think it makes the most sense to do this after we’ve made a list of all the great things about the car we’re selling. You will also need to determine the price of your use car for Craigslist, which won’t be covered in this post because I am going to focus on formatting.

Now, first things first, we’re going to create the header at the top of our ad. Usually this includes the make, model, and year of the car. Below that you should put one or two features that you want to highlight about the car. For the TL I’m posting, the code looks like this:

<center><b><font size=”6″>2004 Acura TL 4dr Sedan</font></b></center>
<center><font size=”4″ face=”Bookman Old Style”>Clean Title – Powerful and Reliable V6 Engine</font></center>

Don’t worry, later I’ll give you a template you can simply copy, paste, and then edit for your own ad. It will be easy, trust me.

After creating the header, you’ll want to put some qualitative information that may not come across in the features listing for your car. Here’s the description I created for this car:

This is a one-owner, non-smoking, very clean car. This car has a clean title and has never been in an accident. It’s been babied all of its life. The miles are fairly high because of my long commute, but there are all highway miles, which is easier on the car. You’ll be surprised with just how smoothly this car drives. Tires were replaced 15k miles ago, so there’s plenty of tread. The timing belt and water pump were replaced at 110k miles. Call me at xxx-xxx-xxxx. I’d be happy to answer any questions and let you test drive the vehicle. Serious inquiries only.

Next, it’s time to create your list of features for the car. There’s a balance between putting too much so that it seems like you’ve exhausted the list of benefits, and not putting enough to truly showcase the greatness of your vehicle. Below is the list that I compiled for this TL.

<b>Features:</b>
<ul>
    <li>3.2L V6 Engine – 270 HP and 238 ft-lbs Torque – That’s tons of power!</li>
    <li>Automatic Transmission</li>
    <li>Premium Leather Interior w/ Heated Seats – Very soft; only minor cracking</li>
    <li>Sunroof that works flawlessly</li>
    <li>Factory-installed Premium Bose Sound – 8 speakers – 225 watts output</li>
    <li>Power Seats</li>
    <li>Side Airbags help keep you and your family safe</li>
    <li>EPA-rated 18/28 MPG w/ 17 gal. fuel tank</li>
</ul>

2004 Acura TL Consumer Reports Reliability

After listing the features, I wanted to say something about Acura’s reliability, because I think this is one of the biggest selling points of Acuras in general. I made a little chart using information from ConsumerReports, which I think is in-line with fair use of a ConsumerReports subscription because the amount of reproduction is very low, and it’s only momentary. The chart I created (using some editing of the chart CR provides) for the 2004 Acura TL is on the left. I posted this brief description to go with it:

If you know anything about cars, then you know Acuras are as reliable as you can get. You don’t have to believe me though, just check out the ConsumerReports profile.

This is probably a good time to note that Craigslist will often ignore where you press “enter” to create a new line. You need to manually enter the code <br> anywhere where you want it to go to the next line.

After that, it was finally time to post images of the car itself. Now, the pictures we post should be high-quality and they should contain most, if not all, of the car. Basically, someone should be able to look at your car and determine if it meets all of their aesthetic needs. If your seats are very cracked, don’t try to hide this. Show it in the pictures. It will save you a lot of time from having to deal with prospective buyers who will never buy a car in the condition of yours.

The size of the pictures should be somewhere between 500 and 800 pixels wide. You don’t want the pictures to be too big that someone has to scroll around on the page to view them. However, you also don’t want them to be so small that they don’t show enough detail. If you aren’t sure how to resize an email, search google for an image resizer where you can just upload the image and choose a size.

Once you have your images in the proper size (mine are approximately 770 x 500) then you need to upload them to a file hosting website. My favorite is http://imgur.com. After you upload it you need to grab the direct link to the image, which will end in whatever filetype you have your images in (.gif, .jpg, .png).

To post an image in Craigslist, use the following code:

<img src=”http://i.imgur.com/XX876A.jpg”>

You should have at least 6 images of your car, or you’re not showing enough. A good goal to aim for is 10+ images. Then, find the car company’s logo somewhere online and save it to your computer. Because we’re adding the good car images into the post itself, Craigslist won’t show its “img” tag next to your posting title unless you upload an image to your ad also. So we’re just going to upload the logo here so that we get the “img” tag.

Now, we need to go back to the title and make sure it says what we want to highlight. First, of course, year, make, and model. Then, choose what you think people are looking for. What’s going to get them to click on your ad versus the others listed? For this car, I went with: 2004 Acura TL – Automatic – Leather – Clean Title.

Best Craigslist Car Ad Posting Thumbnail

You can view my full example ad by clicking on the image above. Once there you’ll be able to magnify to see the ad in its full-size.

Below is the template I created from this ad. You can copy and paste this into your own Craigslist car posting and then edit this information to fit your car. Hopefully this guide has been helpful and will help you get at least another $500 from your car. If you have any questions or feedback post below.

<center><b><font size=”6″>YEAR MAKE MODEL</font></b></center>
<center><font size=”4″ face=”Bookman Old Style”>Important Feature #1 – Important Feature #2</font></center>
<br>
This is where you give a qualitative description of your car. Point out things that the features list below might not show. Highlight important aspects.
<br><br>
<b>Features:</b>
<ul>
    <li>Feature #1</li>
    <li>Feature #2</li>
    <li>Feature #3</li>
    <li>Feature #4</li>
    <li>Feature #5</li>
    <li>Feature #6</li>
</ul>
<br><br>
Give a brief intro to the images that you’re posting below. Emphasize that they should call you to see the car for themselves.
<br><br>

<img src=”http://i.imgur.com/123.jpg”>
<img src=”http://i.imgur.com/123.jpg”>
<img src=”http://i.imgur.com/123.jpg”>
<img src=”http://i.imgur.com/123.jpg”>
<img src=”http://i.imgur.com/123.jpg”>
<img src=”http://i.imgur.com/123.jpg”>
<img src=”http://i.imgur.com/123.jpg”>
<img src=”http://i.imgur.com/123.jpg”>
<img src=”http://i.imgur.com/123.jpg”>

One Response to “How to Format Your Craigslist Car Ad Posting”

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