I know that many of my readers are busy Mums and Dads and right now in the middle of the school holidays it’s sometimes a challenge to juggle work and home life.

At this time of year it’s very easy to lose your momentum – simply because you have so many other things to focus on – namely your children, who, if they are anything like mine need entertaining for hours on end!

So, with this in mind, if you really can’t concentrate on anything else for the next few weeks then now is an ideal time to take a step back, have a good look at your online listing descriptions and make sure you are maximising the sales potential of your items – particularly on eBay.

The success of your online business on eBay will depend largely on the success of your individual listings – here’s how to make them stand out

The success of your online buying and selling business on eBay will depend largely on the success of your individual listings and if you want to do just a small amount of research, try taking a look at the ‘Completed Listings’ on eBay as this will swiftly show you that those listings lacking in information or images tend to sell for significantly less than their rivals, even if the item is exactly the same.

Fortunately creating truly excellent eBay listings needn’t be a long, drawn out and difficult process for you. I’ve put together my top seven listing tips for you so that you can tweak and adjust your own listings when you have a moment spare. So, here we go:

1. Start and end your auctions at the right time

If you are using auction listings rather than ‘Buy It Nows’ and you don’t manually change the time when your auctions on eBay will start and finish then they will automatically start immediately and finish at the same time in the specified number of days time.

Bear in mind that if your eBay business is full time, the chances are you’ll be creating your auctions in the middle of the day, which means that by default they will also finish in the middle of the day. That could be a problem for anyone that would like to bid on what you have for sale that works a standard nine to five week, so you’ll need to consider what the best start and end times are.

The auctions that tend to make the most money on eBay tend to finish during the evening or at weekends. Statistically the very best time to complete an auction is on a Sunday evening; however any evening should work well for your selling strategy. It only costs a few pence to schedule a start time (and it’s free if you subscribe to Selling Manager Pro), and therefore the ending time of your auction so if you invest that small fee to ensure you complete your sale at a better time, you are likely to maximise your profits.

2. Take time over your title

You don’t have a lot of characters for the title of your eBay listings – only 80 to be precise – so it’s important to make every word count. This is your opportunity to fit in the keywords that a prospective customer will really be searching for, so what you need to do is put yourself in their shoes and consider which search words they are likely to enter in order to find what you have for sale.

Think about what you would search for if you were looking for your item and be as descriptive as possible within the space constraints. If it’s applicable you should include the make of the item, the model and any specific characteristics where appropriate.

You may also wish to consider capitalising the first letter of each word within your titles as this can draw attention to your listing over others, without alienating any potential buyers who would rather not be ‘shouted’ at with a completely capitalised heading!

3. Incorporate multiple photos

Every eBay listing should come complete with at least one photograph. This will be shown in the search results as a ‘gallery photo’ and will help a prospective customer see, at a glance, that you actually possess the product that you have for sale. Your initial photo should be as clear as possible, with a plain, non-cluttered background and showing as much of the product as you can fit into the frame.

One trick that many eBay sellers don’t take advantage of however is that of incorporating multiple pictures into a gallery. eBay selling statistics show that those listings with a gallery of images consistently sell for more money than those with just the one picture so if you can, you should include shots of different angles of the item that you’re selling, or photos that show detail that might be missed in your one main photograph.

4. Write a comprehensive description

One particular error that I’ve seen eBay sellers make time and time again is to assume that all interested parties know all of the details about the product. When I see a description that contains just once sentence saying something along the lines of “for sale is my old PlayStation”, it makes me want to weep! (Or simply place a bid myself knowing that I’d be able to sell it on for a profit!)

What model of PlayStation is it? How old is it? What’s the specification of it? What does it come with? Think of the questions that your customers are likely to ask and answer them within your description; it’s what the space is for and the more information you can provide the more you will set your buyers’ minds at ease as they realise that you know what you are talking about.

5. Make your pages aesthetically pleasing

What looks nice to one person might look hideous to another, it’s true, but there are certain elements of design that you can incorporate into your sales pages without hurting the eyes of anyone involved. Experiment with the formatting options presented to you by eBay; even if you don’t know anything about programming code for websites you can still investigate how your text would look if it were centred rather than sited to the left, and what it might look like with headings in bold text for example.

Colour can be an excellent tool to highlight a particular word or phrase, but try to stay away from clashing colours. A purple background with pink text in front of it isn’t going to be easy for anyone to read!

6. Set a low starting price

This isn’t a worry for ‘Buy It Now’ listings on eBay, but for auctions you should always start out with a low price, even if it’s an expensive item. It’s generally better to set a reserve price if you’re determined to make a certain amount rather than setting a high starting price.

Why? Because a low starting price will help a buyer to realise that they have the opportunity to get a real bargain here. Even when the price rockets up they are likely to stay with your auction and keep bidding because that first low bid has convinced them that it’s good value.

7. Build a solid reputation

Okay, it’s true, this tip isn’t specifically related to any one listing, but it is absolutely key in making all of your auctions successful. Always put the needs of your customers first, answering any of their questions about your products quickly, and dispatching your goods as fast as possible. This excellent customer service will, in time, earn you an excellent reputation, inspiring more and more people to buy from you on a daily basis – which after all, is what you want!

I haven’t gone into any depth with these listing tips because I simply haven’t got the space to do so, but I hope that this has at least given you some hints as to what you should be doing in order to make your listings more profitable.