This is an ongoing article in development, and part of a series on craigslist.

Part 1.

You can use cheap websites like craigslist to generate survey referral income (or any referral marketing you want to do for that matter.)

Before we get to the good stuff, I need to explain to you that craigslist can be twitchy and unfriendly. It may have something to do with being one of the world's most trafficked websites but having only about 30 people working there, and of those 30 maybe 2 are fielding customer service and account related issues. This puts a huge strain on those few employees. This can result in making it harder (but never impossible if you're persistent) to successfully create a new account and post your first ad. craigslist will manually go over your account and what you post. They check you out. But once you're approved, it's good times!

Before I go on it's important to go over craigslist's history with affiliate marketers.  Just so you understand where they're coming from.

Up until a few years ago craigslist strictly forbid any and all affiliate marketing. They went to great lengths to thwart marketers from using their website for affiliate marketing using intense technology to weed them out. I always suspected they would come around once they saw a glimpse of the revenue they would make by allowing some of it. 

The good news! You can post now, if approved, in their gigs section

Check out the gig section of any craigslist city and state and you will see a ton of affiliate marketers (paying craigslist to be there 😜)

Before you create your craigslist account please read this article in full because understanding the complex mind of craigslist is key to using it to post your affiliate marketing ads. 

Even though craigslist is allowing people to post ads referring others to survey's and various other pursuits, there are still some tight guidelines that you must be aware of. Here's where I need to tell you that you have to be patient and have a plan. I can help you with the blueprint part (which is this blog) but you'll need to draw up a plan. Here's the basics to help you get started. You'll need:

A website that is not free

Most free websites have been blocked by craigslist due to people abusing them. Most link shorterners have been banned. And besides that, craigslist wants to see from you a professional looking business and website. I use craigslist myself so I can tell you what they want to see. I have several LLC's that I actively use and I set up my craigslist account with one of them. Additionally I have a professional looking website.

Note, there is one exception to the can't be a free website guideline and that's exception is google docs. You can use a google doc's website. They can't be customized as much as a WordPress theme or other website, but it will do the trick for the newbie 👍. See more about using Google docs as a website here and in this YouTube video here. See what Google has to say about it here.

Creating a craigslist account

There are a ton of strange myths surrounding craigslist and their top secret algorithims. I have to laugh because in the beginning I got entirely caught up in that mythology and it drove me nuts. When you go to do your own research on craigslist, you'll pull up some wacky stories. But just know this:

They are allowing us there now, with known criteria that seems to have replaced the automatic disapproval of days gone by. craigslist just wants to see that you're going to be a good addition to their web site, not a spammy business, and that you have put some thought into your website. *You may need a business license. You may not... craigslist is twitchy like I mentioned. Remember, they have very few people working there, and the people who go over your account and content are tired and overworked, plus...they have seen it all so to speak. They deal with tons of not good people trying to use craigslist for nefarious purposes, so they're a bit like a suspicious cop. *If you're serious about making money online then a business license is a good investment in your future and being "official" helps to keep you in the right success mindset. 

You might be thinking, wow, I'm scared of craigslist now! But the good news is once your account is created and approved, it's typically smooth sailing and posting. They have to scrutinize everything. Be patient with them, they're doing a lot during their shift. You may have to bug them. I had to bug them for awhile. I'm not special. And I have no magic wand or insider insight other than years of experience, which I hope will help you.

Creating your account and posting your first ad

Typically what happens is you create an account, you post an ad, it will go live, then it will be "held for review". It's 100% normal to go through this headache. craigslist is checking you out to make sure you're abiding by their terms of service and to make sure you're not one of the bad guys. If you can get all your ducks in a row you have a better chance of getting through their approval process. The great news is creating an account is free. Posting the ads is cheap, ranging from $3.00 to $10.00. In the next post in this series I will go over more detail about account creation. This is a lot to digest, I know.

A sea of green live craigslist ads

This is my account. I had to go through their approval process too. I want to emphasize this again, craigslist has a tiny few people working and handling 100's if not 1000's of requests a day, so the approval process could take a week, sometimes longer. Your chances of approval increase dramatically if you have a decent looking website, a business license (usually pretty cheap to obtain) and if you can show craigslist you have some good content on your web site, they are more likely to approve you.

In the end, though, craigslist isn't the only way to drive traffic to a website. These other methods will appear in other articles.

This concludes Part 1 of the craigslist series. Read Part 2 on account creation here