Now that more and more people are turning to eBay both to sell and to buy, it is imperative for your listings to stand out from the rest of the pack. As a savvy e-commerce entrepreneur, you read the literature and probably already have a very good understanding of how to advertise yourself and your offerings on eBay. You already know the basics, e.g., 1) the appearance of your listing is the major way that you demonstrate the superiority of your products and your company and 2) images make a big difference in increasing sale price.

Great! But, do you know how to achieve a really professional appearance very simply? Or how to add as many images as you like without paying additional fees? Well then, read on for some insider tips on effectively and efficiently upgrading your listings.

Professional Template

How do you tell a pro from an amateur? The pro has a strong professional template that thematically ties to the product being sold and provides graphical elements that emphasise each element of the auction listing.

You have four options for developing and using eBay templates.

Adapt an available template.

There are dozens of websites that provide at least some free templates that you can use for your listings. You can find 1,500 free eBay templates at the Auctiva site. You could choose from a variety of auction templates already available in the eBay's Turbo Lister software, however they do not convert as well, this is unfortunately an aspect eBay is lacking on. Auctiva at the link above has the answer. In a later article we reveal how you can produce unlimited Professional and High Converting eBay templates for a couple of pounds/dollars each yourself.

Commission a custom template

This option can be expensive (roughly 200-500 depending on the number of variations required), however we highly recommend you go down this path IF you want to create your very own eBay account / eBay shop identity. You would only need to do this once (unless you decide to renew your eBay account look in the future), and if done right it will pay for itself many times over. Read our Setting Up Your Own E-Commerce Website ecourse for details on how to hire professional designers at a fraction of normal costs. If your products are focused in one area or can be marketed under a unifying theme such as gardening or designer clothing, you should invest in a unique template design for your auctions.

DIY template

If you're good with design and HTML, you can use your favorite graphics program to design your own template. In a later article we reveal how you can produce unlimited Professional and High Converting eBay templates for a couple of pounds/dollars each yourself.

Using Your Template

  1. Once you have your template, you will need to copy the HTML code and enter it into the appropriate place in Turbo Lister, or in your eBay account when placing your new listing manually. To view the HTML of any page, simply click with your mouse right button anywhere on the page, then select the option View Source (if you have never tried this before, try it now. Right click on this page and select View Source to view this page's html code). A text editor window will appear showing the page's html code. Select all the code, copy it and then paste it in the eBay listing wizard to begin listing your item.

  2. If you are using eBay's Turbo lister, you can save the HTML as a new template. You can then recall the template at any time in the future for new listings. To save the HTML as a template, in Turbo Lister under the 'New' tab, click 'create new template'.

  3. Scroll down to 'description builder'

  4. Click the 'HTML view'

  5. Paste the code

  6. Return to 'Design View' to see how it looks.

Images

Okay, you know that you really need a lot of good images to give your customers a very good understanding of what they will be buying. Hopefully, you've taken some good photos of your items. (If you need some tips on photographing your products, read the eSources article about image creation). The frustrating thing is that it costs money to add photos to an eBay listing ... BUT wait, no, not really! Not if you follow our special strategy.

You can avoid paying image fees by inserting HTML codes that link to a hosted website where your image is located. Huh? Here's the deal. You can either upload an image (gif, jpg, etc) to your template and pay the extra eBay fee, or, if your image is located on a website somewhere else on the Internet, you can insert the HTML code for that location ... and not pay a fee. All you need is a hosting account that contains your images.

You probably already have a website operating to sell your products. In that case, you are ready to build an image repository. Simply upload your eBay images to a folder in your hosting account (with appropriate labels so you can find images easily later on), and reference to each image in your HTML whenever you need it, without having to pay eBay for the privilege. If you don't have a website, you will need to establish a domain name and register with a domain host to begin this image hosting process. Domain registration and web hosting is simple and inexpensive. You can buy a name and get hosted on 1&1 for as little as 24/yr (that's 2/month including a domain name). (If you need to understand domain names and hosting, read our ecourse on Setting Up Your Own E-Commerce Website). You don't have to (although you may want to) worry about choosing a memorable name because this site is for working purposes only, not for consumer activity.

Return to Turbo Lister. Change the 'photo hosting' option to your website. When you get to the 'upload images' area, copy and paste the URL location of your photos. When a potential customer clicks on your listing, the URL will pull up the photo or image you placed there.

If you would like to use an image as the headline, delete the text from the headline box, click on 'insert picture' then copy and paste the URL into the headline box.

Summary

Make your listings as professional as possible with well-designed templates. Then dazzle your customer with beautiful photographs, avoiding fees by hosting your own images on a separate website.

In Part II we will discuss how to use your hosting account to make rapid changes to your listings, add credibility-building features, and keep your listings fresh and interesting.