How to Read Craigslist Postings as RSS feeds on Google Reader

... in 6 easy steps!

Craigslist is an excellent site... except it’s a bit unsightly.  Ok- it’s really unsightly.  Also, if you’re job/furniture/roommate hunting, it can be a bother to check different pages over and over to see if new postings are up, and you may not be able to remember if you have read certain posts or not.  

But what if new Craigslist postings came to you?  Wouldn’t that be nice?  Of course it would! And here’s the cool thing- new Craigslist postings can come straight to you, all in one organized place where you can deal with them as you please.   Here’s how to set yourself up:

What You'll Need Before Starting

There are many different readers through which you can receive Craigslist postings (in the form of RSS feeds).  The only one I have ever used is Google Reader, so this is what I’ll be using in this how-to.  To use Google Reader, you’ll need a Google Account.  You probably already have one, and if you don’t, it takes seconds to set up, especially if you already have Gmail.  Google Reader is only one of many wonderful, free tools offered by Google.  You should give all of them a spin.  But I digress.

Step 1: Go to Graigslist.org and find your area of interest
Step 1: Go to Graigslist.org and find your area of interest
Step 2: Select your posting area of interest
Step 2: Select your posting area of interest

Step 1: Go to Craigslist.org and select your city

The first thing you’ll see when you visit Craigslist is a massive listing of cities.  Pick the area closest to you, unless you want to read postings from another area.

Step 2: Select the posting type in which you are interested

For the purpose of this demonstration, let’s assume you’re looking for a job.  Click, then, on one of the sections listed under the “jobs” column- “business / mgmt” for example.  This will take you to the board to which new “business / mgmt” job openings are posted.

In some browsers, you can subscribe directly from the page by clicking on the RSS icon in the URL bar...
In some browsers, you can subscribe directly from the page by clicking on the RSS icon in the URL bar...
... in other cases, you'll have to paste the URL of your page into Google Reader's "Add a subscription" button.
... in other cases, you'll have to paste the URL of your page into Google Reader's "Add a subscription" button.

Step 3: Subscribe to the feed via RSS

Now that you have drilled down to the specific posting of your interest, you can subscribe to it via an RSS feed.  Before subscribing, take a look at the additional filters you can apply to this feed.  You can, for example, look at “business / mgmt” jobs that are for telecommuters only, or that are internships.

When you have applied all desired filters, click on the RSS icon at the right hand side of your URL bar.  This symbol is small and square with rounded edges and little radio waves emanating from one corner.  

When you click on the RSS icon, you should be taken to a page that asks you what reader you’d like this feed to go to.  Select Google Reader.  

Certain browsers do not show RSS symbols in URL bars.  In this case, you must copy the URL of the page, go to Google Reader, and click on the “Add a subscription” button in the top left corner of the page.  This will open a small window into which you will paste the URL of the Craigslist page.  Click “Add” once you have done this.  

Now, you will see the Craigslist pages’ job postings listed in your Google Reader feed.  Hurray!  See how nice and neat they are?  Ah, relief.

Step 4: Add your feed to a folder

To stay organized, I recommend that you put your various RSS feeds into folders.  This is very easy to do.  Before navigating away from the feed you have just set up, click on the “Feed settings...” tab/button that sits at the top of the postings.  This will open a dropdown menu.  At the bottom, you will see a “new folder...” option.  Click on it.

A pop up window reading “What would you like to call this new folder?”  Simply type in a name, such as “Craigslist Job Postings” or whatever and click OK.  

You will now see, in the left-hand column of your Google Reader page, a folder of that very name, containing the Craigslist posting feed you just added.  Oh, how lovely and organized!!  My eyes are filled with tears of joy at the very thought.

Step 5: Add more feeds

You may wish to monitor several feeds from Craigslist- especially if your are job hunting.  Repeat steps 2 through 4 until you have a folder full of all relevant posting feeds.  Now, you will be able to view those feeds as a group by simply clicking on the folder instead of an individual feed.  This allows you to efficiently cull through the most recent postings in a very civilized, streamlined manner.

You can star posts...
You can star posts...
... or email them to yourself!
... or email them to yourself!

Step 6: Filter your findings

Now that you have relevant Craigslist postings all in one place, you can go through them on your own terms, seeing them immediately as they pop up and dealing with them appropriately.  As you scroll through (or click through- by utilizing the “Next item” button at the bottom of your page) new postings, you can star ones that are worth more thorough investigation.  To star things, simply click the “Add star” text at the bottom left hand corner of the individual post in question.

When you are ready to review the items you have starred, click on the “Starred items” link near the top of the left-hand column of the Google Reader page.  This will give you a view of every posting you have marked for further review.  When you are no longer interested in the review, click on the star (next to the “Remove star” text at the bottom left hand corner of the posting.  

You also have the option to email posts of interest to yourself or another person.  To email a post, simply click the “Email” text at the bottom of the post, type in recipients, a subject, and an optional message to accompany the shared posting and link.  Then click “Send.”  Super easy!  

If you would like to see the original Craigslist posting (so that you might contact the poster), simply click on the title of the post.

Finally, keep exploring!

You can do a litany of wonderful things with Google Reader, and it’s not only for Craigslist postings.  Use it for reading your favorite blogs, keeping track of friends on Twitter, and keeping tabs on yoru favorite news sites.  Google Reader is wonderful because it brings information to one central place where you can organize and process it at your leisure.  

Google Reader also allows you to do a great number of things with the postings you receive.  In addition to starring and emailing them, you can “Like” them, share them, share them with a personal note, and mark them as unread.  Oh, the possibilities!  

Google Reader has allowed me to take in a great deal more information than I would be able to take in otherwise by sparing me the time it takes to click from one site to another and allowing me to earmark certain posts and updates that are worth further attention.  I hope that you find it just as useful as I have.

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Comments 8 comments

vforge profile image

vforge 5 years ago from Jacksonville, Florida

I wonder if we apply equidistant letter spacing patterns to those imges we may find a craigsvinci code in the rss from CL LOL


Simone Smith profile image

Simone Smith 5 years ago from San Francisco Author

HAHAAA!!!!


seth barnet 5 years ago

Yhen sibce it is craigslist we can call the sequel no angels plenty of demons or heathens and demons LOL Glad I gave you a laugh OK we need to form a script group LOL Somebody get me Hanks and Howard on the horn


Simone Smith profile image

Simone Smith 5 years ago from San Francisco Author

Hahahaaa, seriously.


gredmondson 5 years ago

Thanks for doing this Hub!


Simone Smith profile image

Simone Smith 5 years ago from San Francisco Author

Just sharing my notes. Thanks for reading, George! I hope this is just as useful with other sorts of listings as it is with jobs.


Simeon 5 years ago

Hi Simone,

Thanks for the great article :) I've been trying for the past hour to pull RSS feeds from Craigslist and enter them into Google Reader, however, I keep getting errors and a message stating "no feeds found". I've tried to pull the feed directly from the Craiglist page itself and also by clicking the RSS Feed button on my Firefox browser... So frustrating :(


Simone Smith profile image

Simone Smith 5 years ago from San Francisco Author

That's odd! Has that happened to you before? Perhaps it's a short term bug on Craigslist's end. It seems to be working for me just now...

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