Ebay auction description writing

How many times have you opened an auction in Ebay and been put off by a poor auction description?

Lots of times I’ll bet. The auction description, especially on Ebay, is a fundamental part of achieving a successful sale. If the description isn’t right, no amount of pictures or repricing will get your item sold. So where do people go wrong?

Ebay auction
Ebay auction

Firstly, make sure the standard of your writing is good. Ensure your spelling is always correct and that you write in clear, concise sentences.

There is a tendency these days for people to write phrases to get their point across because ‘people will know what I mean’.

This couldn’t be further from the truth. When parting with hard cash for any item, people want to know exactly what they are getting for their money. If you have not been clear or are relying on hinting at something, a potential buyer will just look elsewhere, rather than be bothered to even ask you the question.

So what does this tell you about the level of content you need to supply in your description? You need to supply as much information as possible without swamping the buyer in a sea of text and pictures. This is why your writing needs to be concise. You need to ensure that you get across the maximum amount of information in the shortest possible number of words. To illustrate the point, how many times have you seen an auction, or even a website that takes a full five or ten seconds to scroll down through. Ask yourself now, how many of those auctions or websites did you actually bother to read all the way through? The chances are that it’s none, isn’t it?

From a practical point of view, you need to supply a good, accurate description of what it is you’re selling. Your facts need to be correct at all times. If you are unsure about any aspect of the item, you should state this in your description. It is far better to be honest about the item and your knowledge, than have to deal with an irate buyer intent on giving you negative feedback. It can all be avoided.

As with nearly all web related material, keywords are the key to getting your auction viewed by the right people. Take some time to think of what keywords you would use to find your item if you were looking to buy one. Make sure you use these words in both the title and description for your auction. Remember that some things can be called by different names in the US than they are in the UK: be sure to appeal to both markets.

An area vital to most Ebay sales, but neglected by many, is the condition of the item. Very few items will sell if the condition is not mentioned in the description. Someone else will mention the condition of their similar item and it will sell instead of yours. Be very careful with the language you use to describe condition. In some circles, words or specific terms carry a specific, unambiguous meaning. For example, if you are selling vinyl records, the term ‘mint condition’ is recognised as having a particular criteria for records to meet. If you are unsure, check out the meanings of condition descriptions on websites or in books relating to the item you are trying to sell. It pays to do your homework.

Lastly, you would be amazed at the number of auctions in Ebay that don’t have a picture of the item. It is highly unlikely that your item will sell quickly if you don’t put a picture in your auction. Some people make the mistake of using a stock, or library, picture of a similar item, usually taken from a manufacturer’s website. Avoid this for several reasons. Firstly, there is no substitute for actually seeing the very item that you will be bidding for; buyers want to see it, so show it to them. Secondly, if you don’t own the rights to the picture from the manufacturer’s website, which you won’t, it’s probably an infringement of copyright to use it without permission.


  • check your grammar and spelling
  • be clear
  • be concise
  • be accurate and honest
  • use the right keywords
  • be clear on the condition
  • use a picture of the actual item you’re selling.

If you follow these key points, you will improve your selling potential significantly.

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