A guide for an auction-page design.
How should an auction page look. Here are a few
ideas and methods I have used.
Firstly look at others auction design and decide your likes and dislikes. Some are over complicated with fancy graphics whilst others are just a few words plus a photo.
The potential bidder should be able to read the description quickly and easily with no distractions. Couple this with good photos and you will have their attention.
This design has been done using an HTML auction template and uses clickable thumbnails for the auction photographs. Using templates produces a good looking auction and also reduces the time taken to make an auction listing.
When a search on ebay is performed the title is the main area that is searched. Only 55 characters are allowed in the title so it does need to be well planned. Use words that a searcher may look for in relation to the item, this may include spelling variations or even common spelling mistakes. Also search ebay for similar items to find successful search keywords.
The description should be first in the layout and be easy to read, use paragraphs and spaces to break the text into small readable chunks. Describe the item accurately including any defects. There should also be a bit of "sizzle" in the description to give it a personal touch and also to make it stand out.
A photograph is vital for a good Ebay auction listing. One free photo may be added to the auction listing using the Ebay picture service. This is the photo seen at the top left of a listing and is uploaded directly from the PC to Ebay, where it is resized and stored. This photo is also used as the gallery picture.
Ebay update. Ebay have announced some changes to their picture service requirements, details here; Ebay requirements.
Ebay state the longest side of this photograph will have to be more than 500px. For best results Ebay recommends the longest side to be at least 1600px. This is to preserve image quality and also for the zoom function to work, if available.
Ebay picture service requirement's for 2013
New sizes for the gallery photo's are as follows;
- Longest-sized side
- 500px required minimum size (smaller will not be accepted)
- 500px-1000px allowed but with warning notice
- 1000px-1600px allowed
- 1600px recommended minimum size
These sizes do not apply to photo's embedded in the listing.
Photos may also be hosted by a free external image hoster and then placed in the auction listing by using HTML. A good size for the width of self-hosted images is between 500 and 700 pixels. See the images page for more detailed photography tips.
Designing with HTML.
HTML is the mark-up language that a web browser reads to produce a web page. There is an option in Ebay's listing form to use HTML to produce an auction listing. The advantages of using HTML are to produce a well presented listing and also to speed up the listing process. HTML can be used to define the the layout and embed the photographs in the listing when an external image hoster is used.
To access the HTML insertion area in Ebay's selling form first select Advanced Sell and then continue to the description area.
Note; The sell screen may differ from that shown below as Ebay tend to change their layouts often.
The listing can be made with an HTML editor such as the free HTML-kit editor. The code can then be copied and pasted into the Ebay HTML area, as shown below. Note; click the "Save Draft" button immediately after pasting.
It is also possible to switch to the description area's standard view, shown below, to write the description.
Important; If the standard view is used when editing text be aware of how the Enter key works. As well as starting a new line it can also repeat the HTML coding and cause unwanted effects to the page design. So, to start a new line use the Shift + Enter keys.
The width of a listing design is a critical factor. Too small and it will be difficult to read,
too big and it will stretch off the screen causing horizontal scrolling which many people do not like.
There are several factors to consider when choosing a width;
- Screen width
- Photograph width
- Spacing within the design
- Ebay page spacing
There are various units for setting width, for Ebay listing the main two are percentage and pixels. More control of the design can be obtained with fixed width designs using pixels.
For an Ebay listing's page an overall width of 940 pixels with the content width limited to 750 pixels is a good size. For this size of design self-hosted photographs would need to be limited to a maximum width of 700 pixels.
Background images and colours.
The background of an auction listing can be set to a specific colour or have an image tiled across it. Use this to enhance the auction listing and make it stand out. HTML code is used to configure the background colour/image. The background image needs to be hosted by a free external image hoster such as Photobucket .
An example of a background image is shown on the left. The background image should be either a jpg or gif file of small file size and also be easy to read the text against. A good source for background images is www.grsites.com .