To template, or not to template?

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Jane BellJane Bell is the eBay Anorak, business consultant for marketplace sellers and contributor to Tamebay. Yesterday she looked at eBay’s new template designer. Today she looks at eBay templates in general.

First off, I prefer text descriptions for eBay listings for a few reasons, the keywords used in a description are more important than the ‘shop pretty’ as Sue Bailey used to call it and this is the part which sellers tend to neglect.

Also, a description template, if not up to date with eBay’s new standards, can contain active content and also dilute your well keyworded description with non product specific information that just doesn’t belong here eg postage, delivery, ‘we are fab’ type text.

An outdated template can make it difficult to read on a mobile device. I’ve seen templates costing thousands and on a mobile that just display a white screen leaving the seller wondering why people didn’t read the info in the listing!

So why have a description template anyway? Many companies like to display their brand across the web and have their listing templates differentiate them from others. But if the template is not responsive or contains active content then eBay will block the use of templates containing this from June 2017. This leaves you six whole months to fix it.

What are the options?

  1. Change them all to text only of around 800 characters including spaces, using only product specific data, costs nothing.
  2. Have a new template designed from a reputable company (see the Tamebay Guide) and check that the template they design is up to date with eBay’s new changes regarding active content in June. If you have this as part of your agreement and it is blocked by eBay then it’s easier to get them to fix it should it not be compliant. If they ask what these requirements are, run.
  3. Upgrade your existing template with your current designer. Some templates I’ve seen that are new this year still contain active content. eBay announced this change in April this year so make sure your designer is in the know about these changes before you go ahead.
  4. Use eBay’s free template designer provided by i-ways. I’ve tried this, it’s basic but some may find it useful. More on that here.

Whatever you choose to do, make a start as soon as possible and prevent eBay blocking any of your listings in June 2017.

What are you currently using and what are your plans for the change?

16 Responses

  1. Anybody know what is going on with Widgetchimp? Will it be updated to be compliant? If so will a bulk update be possible?

  2. I am yet to be convinced that keywords have any impact on your search ranking on ebay. Perhaps it will in the future but at the moment I think that the impact, if any, is so minor that it is not worth worrying too much about.

  3. Speaking as someone in the middle of a 6 month programme of removing all the Auctiva code from listings, I am loathed to use any 3rd party templates on Ebay any more.

    I’m having to waste an hour each morning removing this stuff daily on listings because of Ebay’s changes.

    Just as a few years ago we had to change the photos on 80,000 listings, because Ebay’s own picture hosting shrank them to below 500 pixels when relisted.

    What hope is there that Ebay won’t throw another rock into the pool again?

    No thanks

  4. There’s a thread on the boards about ‘should I pay someone to do a template’..

    I’m firmly in the NO camp because of active content and so many people using mobiles that might not see it

    I list using my woocommerce store, it has a FREE plug in calld WP lister which I’ve configured to just put my logo and then item description and big photos in the listing description automatically using HTML.

    It works well but still probably uses more code than ebay likes.

  5. why does tamebay use a template?
    why does any website use a template?
    because people prefer it. nobody wants to log on to look at a plain white space with plain black text and nothing of any interest anywhere.
    but ebay isnt a level playing field, ebay wants what’s easiest (not necessarily best) for ebay, and screw what’s best for buyers or sellers. so best just do what ebay says, then do the exact opposite in 6 months when they change their mind again.

  6. Can somebody make sure Ebay is not actually charging for this template?

    They used to charge for using the template on relisted items created through turbo-lister.

    It’s not all that long ago they stopped charging 12p for each additional picture.

    Don’t trust Ebay an inch any more.

  7. I can see the pros and cons to templates, however I would be very surprised if the “penalties” for code and non-compliant listings are applied evenly across all sellers.
    Take a look at the Argos eBay store and their swanky templates:
    for example.
    Plenty of code from the look of it, and plenty of “aren’t we fab” content (as well as text on their photos – but I digress).
    I struggle to see how eBay could/would penalise them given how closely both companies work together, and the seller, not to mention advertising fees, they must be paying! I also can’t see Argos binning their expensive branding for plain, but compliant, text.


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