A classifieds advertisements website is an aggregate of products on sale or offers available. They usually feature short, attention grabbing advertisements. In a previous article, we had provided an approach to create a paid classifieds website, which can be a great way to earn some money. An additional feature you can provide is an option for visitors to make purchases directly from your website as well.
A website such as eBay or craigslist even offers an option to bid on products which are on sale. A similar classifieds website on WordPress, with an auction system, can be created using some WordPress plugins, and some modifications, which you will have to implement.
Create a Business Directory to Allow Ad Posting
Your classifies website, should allow users (you guessed it), to place ads! To allow business’ or individuals to place advertisements on your site, you need to create a Business Directory. Okay, so what is a business directory? A business directory will basically be used to save user profiles. Additionally, each registered user will be allowed to place advertisements, on the site. A really great plugin you can use for this is the WordPress Business Directory Plugin.
You need to provide settings or make customization as per your needs:
Registration: Individuals or business’ should be allowed to register, by accepting some mandatory details (such as name, email and payment info).
There could be a nominal registration fee, when you’re registering as a seller or a commissions rate set.
There could be an admin approval feature, which would provide a constraint on seller creation. An approval from the site admin would be needed before a profile could be registered.
The admin has privileges to edit user capabilities or to revoke membership of a registered seller.
Advertising: Every registered user should have the privileges to post advertisements on the site.
These advertisements could be paid or free. You can charge the user per listing or can offer a bulk purchase price.
There could be a limit on the number of ads which a user can place at a time on the site.
Each placed advertisement should fall under at least one category, and should have descriptive tags, so that it can be classified in the appropriate section and can be easily listed.
Allowing User(Buyer) Registration
To allow bidding on products, you need to provide registration for buyers or bidders as well. There need not be an admin option to approve a registered buyer. But the admin will have the right to revoke a buyer’s privileges or ban them completely from the website.
You can provide a suggestion feature for the buyer, depending on the details entered during registration or based on purchase history. Additionally, some products could be filtered because of some discrepancy between buyer and seller preferences.
Setting Up Online Auctions
To provide online bidding for the products advertised, you need to integrate an auction system. On WordPress, The Ultimate Auction Plugin, ( which we co-developed 😀 ), can be used to easily set up an auction system.
The Ultimate Auction Plugin will provide you the following settings in the dashboard:
Each user will be able to set up auctions for the products they sell. They will be able to add, edit, reactivate an auction. There are fields provided in the auction set up form for auction dates, and pricing rules.
There is a manage auctions section in the dashboard settings, where each user can see a list of all the auctions they have set up.
Payment gateways will be integrated, to allow payments from buyers to sellers.
A general settings page is available, to set admin options such as currency, time-zone, etc.
But since we want to integrate bidding options within the classifieds advertisements listing, we would have to make some changes. All advertisements listed need not be available for auction. Some advertisements might just be offers.
Importing data from Advertising Listings: There needs to be an option in each advertisement options page, to set up an auction for the product. This will trigger an automated transfer of advertisement data, such as title, description, images, etc, to the auctions setup form. The seller then has to enter auction duration and pricing information to schedule an auction for the advertised product.
The Classifieds Website Interface
But all these settings are only for the dashboard. What about the interface for a site visitor? We have to start by selecting a good theme. A point to note, is that the theme you select should be an eCommerce theme and not a business directory them. The flow of the website on the front-end will be as follows:
The Listings Page
The listings page will contain all the classifieds. This page will usually contain the featured image for the item on sale, with the title and price (if applicable).
- There will be options in the admin panel to decide the fields that will be available for each advertisement on the page, along with the number of ads which can be displayed on the page at a time.
- Pagination will be provided for easy navigation.
- The advertisements displayed will be visible to any visitor on the site. But a visitor will have to login to make a purchase.
The Registration and Login Page
There will be a registration option for visitors. A visitor can register themselves as a buyer or a seller. A buyer will not have access to the dashboard.
Single Listing Page
The Single Listing Page, is like a single Product Page on an eCommerce site. But here, the listing might be an offer or announcement, or a product on auction. There will be several options provided on the single listing page.
Notifications Options: For a product on auction, there will be an ‘Add to Watchlist’ option, which will allow a user to keep updated about the product on auction. There will be ‘Make an Enquiry’ option for all listings, to allow visitors to ask questions about the listing.
Sharing Options: There will be social sharing buttons placed on every listing page, to allow visitors to share a listing on social media like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. The social sharing buttons available on the listings page will be controlled by an option in the admin dashboard.
Reviews and Comments: There will be a section to accept buyer reviews and comments.
Product Suggestions: Depending on the listings being viewed by a visitor, or the purchase history of the logged in user, product suggestions can be made.
Advanced Search Options
Because the default WordPress search is quite limited, an advanced search option will be provided, using Sphinx or Solr, to search across all listings on the site, fairly quickly.
Setting up a Classifieds website with an auction system, involves using available WordPress plugins, along with some customization. We have just given you with an overview of how this can be done. In reality there will be a lot of settings you will have to take care of. Especially since you’re dealing with eCommerce. Also, a classifieds website will clearly have hundreds if not thousands of ads posted. If each advertisement has images, that is a lot of data. You would obviously need a good hosting service. Are you interested in creating such a website? Do let me know in the comment section below.