Killer Ads – Part 2

On January 27, 2011, in Local Ad Sites, by Kenton Ross

Part 2 – The Ad Structure and HTML Code

Last week I covered the problem of text ads in Craigslist and Backpage. The popularity of these sites is a two-edged sword – they get thousands of weekly visitors from your local community AND… there are lots of ads to compete for the viewer’s attention. So at Optin Local Marketing, we started posting another type of ad that creates e a more compelling offer AND contributes traffic and SEO value for our website.

Googel Places Ad for Craigslist


When you post to these sites, you only have two elements to work with:  1) the Headline and 2) the Content. We won’t cover copy writing here, but time spent coming up with a compelling headline will be well spent. There’s no point in having great content if nobody clicks through on the headline. As for the content, if you want to add a graphic based ad instead of text, here’s a step by step guide.

Step 1. Create the ad and optimize it for online use.

To create the ad, which is really just a large .jpeg image, you can use any number of photo editors including Microsoft Publisher, Photoshop or Gimp – which is the open source (free) software that has many of the features of the pricey Photoshop program.

If you don’t don’t want to take the time yourself and don’t have anyone to do this in your business, we would be glad to do it – or you can contact a community college journalism instructor and ask if they have a star Photoshop student that would like to earn some money by doing some freelance work. You can find students that can do an ad in less time than it’ll take you to read this article.

As far as sizing, a size that loads fast and will hold the detail is a width of 500-600 pixels by whatever height you want. The most common resolution for this type of graphic is 96 pixels per inch. The total size of the original graphic above is 500px wide by 600px high but it is only 57K, so it loads fast in the ad.

Also note that when we post the ad, the entire graphic ad can become a clickable link to a website that gives them more information, photos, video, etc. – or it can just have a clear ‘call to action’ like a phone number for more information or instructions to click a link in the ad to send an email. If it is a click-able link to another site, be sure to have “CLICK HERE” clearly visible in the graphic.

Step 2: Host the Image Online

Don’t worry. There is no cost. You can use a site like Imgur to host just the photo or if you also want to create a web ‘landing page’ for your ad, we provide a free website service for our subscribers at You can host the ad images and easily create landing pages for multiple items for free. Next Friday, we’ll show you how easy it is.

Step 3: Create the Code to Insert in Your Ad

Here’s what the ad code looks like:

HTML code for Craigslist

That ‘jibberish’ ends up looking like this on Backpage !

So, let’s break it down into bite-sized chunks:

So, here’s the code you can copy and

<a href=”URL of your landing page” target=”_blank” rel=”nofollow”><img border=”0″ width=”500px alt=”Brief text description of your ad” src=”URL of your ad graphic“><br /><p><hr>Text description with keywords that will appear as a link below your ad</a><br />
NOTE: If all you want is a cool looking ad that lists a phone number to call, and don’t need a website landing page, then all you need is the <img portion of the code:

<img border=”0″ width=”500px alt=”Brief text description of your ad” src=”URL of your ad graphic“><br /><p><hr>Text description with keywords that will appear as a link below your ad</a>

Just copy one of the codes above into a text editor like Notepad, replace the pink portions with your information and then copy that code into the ad ‘description’ box.

Here’s an example in Backpage:

Submit an HTML ad to

To see what the ad ends up looking like CLICK HERE

Next week, I’ll show you how to set up a free website for your business where you can have branded landing pages and not even need a website of your own.

Best wishes for your success,

Kenton Cowdry signature

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