Simplicity of Craigslist a reminder that content is king

   By Andrew Gibson
Craigslist might be getting a redesign, but the success it's
had without one is the real story.

Craigslist might be getting a redesign.


The 17-year-old website that's afraid of capital letters might be getting a redesign?

It's not exactly clear what the online flea market's call for "Senior UI / Usability / Front End Engineers" means. But Craigslist does say it needs them to "improve the craigslist user experience -- faster, friendlier and easier."

This could be significant, especially for a website that has barely deviated from its original skeletal look, according to TechCrunch. But maybe even more remarkable is how Craigslist has been able to draw "more than 30 billion page views per month" without a fancy home page. When you think bargain hunting, chances are you think Craigslist.

Another success story is The Drudge Report. Despite its affinity for excessive white space, the website last year drew the 11th-largest share of Internet traffic among news websites, according to Hitwise. You might not agree with Matt Drudge's political views, but his 15-year-old creation is thriving. 

The moral of the story is one we've heard many times before: content is king. Sure, online design is often critical. I'm sure the arcade-like colors of The Verge and the crisp, responsive feel of are doing wonders for their respective publications. But reliability is the key to a successful brand. Craigslist and Drudge Report visitors surely keep coming back because the content keeps meeting their expectations.

TechCrunch tells us not to "expect Craigslist to ditch its famously minimal facade." Maybe that's not what you wanted to hear, but it makes sense. There's no doubt the website wants to keep its visitors focused on the content that drew them there in the first place.

Journalists should use Craigslist as a lesson. There's one thing that will both win over news audiences and keep them coming back. That's good storytelling.

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