As someone who has been selling on Ebay for almost seven years, I'm going to let everyone in on a little secret: most people's listings suck.  It's not that they are selling bad products or giving bad customer support, it is simply that they don't have any idea how the system works and what buyers are going to find enticing.  This information is crucial to learn, especially if you want to eventually go full-time with an online sales business.

By the end of this article, you should have some ideas to step up the quality of your Ebay listings, including the title, pictures, and description.

Ebay Listing

The Title

The title is arguably the most important part of the entire listing.  This is how people are going to find your item.  If you don't know this, the titles are the only thing that Ebay's search engine combs through.  So if there is something important about your item, no one is going to be aware of it unless you put it in the title.

Seriously, you can say "Special Edition" a hundred times over throughout your description, but unless you put those specific words up top where it matters, no one searching for a "Special Edition" version of your item is ever going to come across it.

There are two big sins that I often see committed upon inexperienced Ebayers with their titles:

  1. They spell words wrong.
  2. They don't use up all of the available characters.

In the case of Mistake #1, there is simply no excuse.  Computers and smartphones all have built-in spell checkers, and if you are really unsure of a word, a quick Google search will fix that.  If you spell words wrong, especially words critical to people discovering your listing, you are going to have people miss over your item, and it is either not going to sell, or in the case of an auction, sell for a significantly lower amount of money compared to other similar products.

Mistake #2 is the one that you will find is more common.  You constantly come across people who have short listing titles like "Xbox games" or "Ralph Lauren shirt".  These are horrible!  Since the listing title is the only thing that potential buyers can do to locate your item, you want to fill up every available character.

The best way to do this is to think to yourself "What would someone who wants to buy [product] type into the search bar?"  Really put yourself in the mind of the buyer.  So many people fail to do this, and it is extremely evident when it comes to selling clothes.  You will see people listing clothes and not having the color of the shirt in the listing title.  Doesn't the word "blue" or "red" sound like something a buyer would type into the search bar?  Of course it does!  Yet these people leave out these words, and that means it's harder to get that magic person who clicks the buy button.

Always, no matter what, use every character that is given to you.

The Pictures

A picture is worth a thousand words, and in the world of Ebay, an original picture is worth two thousand words.  So many people use stock photos that they pull of Google Images.  Do NOT be one of those people.

Light box

When people are scrolling through Ebay listings after making a search, they don't read every title.  But they will see every picture.  What better way to ensure your picture doesn't stand out from the crowd then to use the same picture as everybody else?  This is just pure laziness in listing.  Laziness won't get you far.

In addition, don't think that you can treat Ebay like Craigslist in terms of picture quality.  Cell phone pictures often won't cut it.  Go get a real digital camera if you can swing it.  It makes you look more professional, and people who look professional will get more money for the same old item.

Whether you are on a budget or not, set up a nice background to take pictures in front of.  Go to your local dollar store and pick up a white tri-fold poster board, and a large flat white piece of paper.  Now all of a sudden you have a professional white background that will really make your pictures stand out from the guy who is taking a picture of his stuff on the kitchen floor.  And it only cost you $2.

You may also want to consider upgrading your lighting.  Nice looking "studio" light sets can be purchased for $50-100.

The Description

This is the meat and potatoes of your listing.  Ironically though, most people will not bother to read the entire thing, especially if you did a good job with your title and your pictures.  Many buyers just look to the description to re-affirm what they already learned.

The most important part of your description is that you cover any defects or discrepancies that exist in your item.  You want to be completely honest with your buyer.  There are tons of shady Ebay sellers out there--don't be one of them.  This is also important in terms of covering your own butt later.  If a buyer fails to read your description and leaves you negative feedback because of something you had already mentioned, this is the only way you will be able to argue with Ebay and get it removed.  Negative feedback is an account-killer on Ebay and needs to be avoided at all costs.

You may also want to try stepping up the quality of your Ebay listings with HTML themes.  There are tons of third-party websites that have free or paid themes available to you.  My advice is to use the free ones at first.  The paid ones can be worth it, but don't bother making use of them until you are making a solid amount of money every month on your account, and can classify it as the cost of doing business.


Most of these tips won't cost you a penny, so there is no excuse not to do them.  The people that make better Ebay listings sell their items faster, and for more money.  This is a known fact.  So unless you are only listing items on Ebay because your wife made to, and you don't actually want them to sell, start implementing these tips from now on, and watch your sales shoot up.