How to create attractive listings, use design software, edit images, and more.
- How important is my auction ad?
- What is HTML?
- What is Ad Design software?
- What are HTML Editors?
- What is image hosting?
- Why should I edit my images?
- What programs are available for the Mac?
Your auction ad (including title, starting price, text and images) is the only thing you can control in the vast eBay marketplace, and for that reason is absolutely crucial to your success as a seller.
The auction title, along with time remaining and current price, attracts potential bidders to your auction. You then have to explain in your advert exactly what the item is (including its condition), terms of sale such as payment types and shipping cost, and also show that you are a trustworthy and professional seller. If your advert does not contain the information bidders want they will look elsewhere, or even misunderstand what the item is and bid for something they don't want - which will lead to problems for both of you if they win the auction.
HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language) is the programming language used to create web pages, as your eBay auction is part of a web page it is also used to create auction ads. A key characteristic of HTML is the use of "tags" - text between angled brackets (e.g. "<p>", "<img>"), which sometimes have matching end tags (e.g. "</p>"), and are often "nested" within each other (e.g. "<p><img></p>").
So that web browsers can display HTML web pages as their author intended, there are a number of rules to follow, such as using end tags when they are required. Although HTML is a relatively simple language it is very easy to make mistakes, which can be difficult to locate and correct, leading to frustration and lost time.
HTML Generation software creates eBay auction adverts without the seller needing to write the HTML themselves. You choose a design template, then enter text for description, payment, and shipping fields, and select one or more pictures - the ad is normally previewed and the HTML displayed so you can paste it into the eBay Sell Your Item form. Listers add the ability to post the finished advert directly to eBay and other auction sites.
HTML Editors are designed to create entire web pages and sites. If you are already experienced in HTML they offer greater power and flexibility than HTML Generation software. However, for beginners there is a much greater possibility of making mistakes since the environment is not as tightly controlled. A quick tip is to paste in only the HTML between the <body> tags - the rest is used when creating a whole web page rather than just part of a page.
All the pictures used in auction adverts (and the web in general) must be "hosted" on an Internet server, meaning the image is physically located on a computer whose job it is to transmit it over the Internet when the page is displayed in a web browser.
Standard eBay auction ads only come with hosting for one relatively small picture. By paying eBay extra for your advert or hosting your pictures with a service outside eBay you can use more and larger pictures. When using an outside service this will mean editing the HTML so that the <img> tags point to the correct file on your host's servers - many HTML Generators and Listers have a facility built in for this. The advantage of an Image Hosting service is that you are not constrained to the layout and size options offered by eBay - you can have as many images as you want, of whatever size and placement best complements your item.
It is not always necessary to subscribe to a dedicated hosting service to use extra images in your auction adverts — you may find that your ISP has given you some free web space which you can use. You will require an FTP client to transfer image files between your own computer and the hosting server, or some ISPs offer a web-based alternative.
The two main reasons to edit your images are (1) to improve the clarity and presentation of your items for sale, and (2) to make your images "web-friendly". Image Preparation software helps you improve the clarity of images captured with a digital camera or scanner using "photo enhancement" technology, which can sharpen and brighten images as well as more advanced and subtle improvements.
"Web-friendly" images are small enough (height and width, as well as file size) to display quickly and attractively to those with dial-up Internet connections or low-resolution monitors. Image Preparation software allows you to crop, resize and recompress images to achieve this.
Web Retailer covers desktop software and web-based services. Web-based services will work with most operating systems, but downloadable programs must be written specifically for the Mac or based on cross-platform technology such as Java. View Mac software in the directory.
Article Added: 1 August 2003
Last Updated: 12 October 2007