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Do you keep seeing scroll bars on your eBay listings?

Update: There is a workable “Work around” in this article.

When viewing an eBay item, sometimes the description area which is now being placed in a IFRAME tag doesn’t render in the browser page correctly, causing your listing details to only be 200-300 pixels tall and a scroll bar appears on the right hand side.

This seems to happen to both FireFox and Chrome quite regularly for me (probably in Internet Explorer, but I never use it) and to visually explain what I’m referring to a screen shot is below, note the scroll bar on the right hand side:

ebay listing scroll bars

To try and combat this all you need to do is add an style to your style sheet. If you have no idea what a style sheet is, just copy/paste the code below at the very top of your listing in the HTML view and save the changes.

<style type="text/css">
<!-- 
#EBdescription {
     min-height: 4000px; !Important;
}
-->
</style>

This will force your description to be a minimum of 4000 pixels tall. If this is too long for the majority of your listings, try 3000px, then 2000px and inversely if its not tall enough increase this value.

Its not perfect but will at least tell the majority of modern browsers that the height needs to be at least this value and extend the iframe downwards to limit the scrolling.

Have you see this before on your or another listing? Let me know in the comments box below.

Reverse Engineering The Data From an eBay Listing Part 2

Welcome to the second part of a 2 part series in this final part I’ll be looking at the data that is posted into the template to show you how easy it is to create a fantastic eBay listing, but with minimal data.

In the first part here, I worked out what the probable layout of the eBay listing template that was used, introduced you to keywords and pointed out that eBay templates don’t have to be a single template, they can be made up of lots of smaller templates, that once combined form the the final finished eBay listing.

So let’s have a look at the ‘data’ used behind an eBay listing.

Reverse Engineering the Data From an eBay Listing Video

To make this as easy as possible for you, I’ve put together a video to explain how this works and where I have pulled the data from and I have attached the excel spreadsheet that I created from this video later on in this article.

While you’re watching this video, keep in mind how ‘light’ or ‘easy’ the listing data is when you look at it in its purest of forms.

Data File

The Excel file that was created during the video is here and includes the formulas that were explained to create the price saving value & percentage.

What Have We Covered?

While it may appear that large eBay sellers spend a lot of time ‘listing’ items to eBay, they’re actually not. They’re in fact spending time on quality data to create eBay listings through listing tools that allow the use of one or more templates to create the finished listings that we see everywhere on eBay.

When you break down the actual data requirements for a product (a fashion item in this example) then the amount of data is actually very, very low. What makes it look great is the way the data is formatted through the listing template and most larger sellers are clever to recycle data that is needed for item specifics, into the eBay listing too. What looks complex, is actually very easy to do.

In this two part series, I have shown you how an eBay template could work, what the elements are and in this final part what the data behind the actual listing could look like before its been sent to eBay. My question is, did you expect for it to be this straight forwards? Let me know in the comments box below:

Reverse Engineering an eBay Template from an eBay Listing Part 1

Following on from the article series around eBay listing templates I recently covered in Part 1 and Part 2. In this article, I reverse engineer an eBay listing template from an eBay listing and show you the parts that make up an eBay listing template.

This is again going to be part of a two-part series and in the second part, I’ll be showing you the template that makes up the eBay listing, which is probably a lot like the one used to create the eBay listing we’re dissecting today in this article.

So let’s dive in!

Introduction to Keywords

Wait……………. Before we dive into this, I need to introduce you to something called “Keywords”. Keywords come in many names, macros, variables, shortcuts, custom fields are a few common names, they all mean that they are a placeholder for data to be entered into.

For example, if we had a product whose colour is ‘Black’ and its data field is called ‘Colour’ then it’s quite possible that when we see a listing extract in the image below, that the actual template on the left is using such a keyword, so that when the item is listed, it becomes like the right-hand side.

introduction to template keywords

This is how large sellers on eBay are able to create consistent eBay listings, they’re not making every single listing by hand they’re using tools that are advanced and allow them to focus on each core element of the listing separately.

Note: These ‘Advanced Tools’. You’ll be seeing a few of these over the next few weeks and what they can do.

Reverse Engineering an eBay Listing Template

What I am now about to do could be explained in a couple of thousand written words, but I can do better than that I’m going to show you using video and take you through stage by stage to reverse engineer the template that site beneath an eBay listing.

From the video, I have included the template I reverse engineered as a screen shot below, so that you can see how the sellers listing template could look like in their backend tool.

ebay listing template with keywords

Summary

I remember the first time I was introduced to keywords (or Macros as they were called in MarketWorks), they were quite odd I have to admit and it took me a while to get-my-head around them.

eBay Templates enable businesses that use 3rd party tools to sell on eBay to crucially separate their product data from their eBay templates.

I eluded to the fact that some software tools allow you to template the templates. At eSellerPro, the boundaries of what can be done with templating was pushed to a level I didn’t think was possible (or even needed) and I’ve been known to create some complex structures of product templating & data that have allowed exceptionally slick data input methods for businesses in the background and what the  customer sees as in the eBay listing, looks superb.

This article was designed to introduce you to what an eBay template could look like in a back-end tool, what I didn’t cover was the data that powers the listing in the background and that’s in part 2 of this series.

5 Questions for Dzine-Hub – A Professional eBay & Web Design Company

 

Following on from the two-part series “Why buy a professionally designed eBay listing template?” for which you can read part 1 here and part 2 here, I thought it would be a brilliant idea to interview a company that specialises in such designs and share with you first hand the experiences and feedback from such a provider.

Introduction

I’ve got 5 brilliant questions for Abbas from DZine-Hub.com lined up, but first let me introduce Abbas to you.

I first met Abbas when we were given an exceptionally large quote for a revamp of one of my clients eBay shops and listing templates, to the point we had to find an alternative.

It turned out to be somewhat ironic, the company that we chose had been busy creating templates for other businesses in the same category as this client and it was almost full-circle for Abbas to end up re-designing the original eBay shop that had inspired so many other merchants to up-their-game with a professionally designed template.

I’ve also had the pleasure of meeting Abbas face-to-face, Abbas came over to the UK from India where DZine-Hub is based in March 2001 for the Internet Retailing Conference. After the conference had finished, Abbas stayed in Bristol for the following week or so and we met up and took Abbas to my 3rd place, a cafe on the edge of Bristol docks.

Since then I’ve worked with Abbas & his team on numerous projects and its normally the first recommended design resource for all eBay related projects.

I’ve lined up five questions and over to Abbas!

Before we start, Abbas, can you tell us a little more about what your company does?

I originally started as a drop-ship business selling on eBay, building a team we cleared over 20,000 items in a 6 month period, but it was the designing that was my passion and we now use this understanding of how eBay works from a sellers perspective to help our clients set up businesses on eBay, through websites & the social platforms more efficiently.

My team now focus purely on eCommerce design projects, which includes eBay shop designs, eBay listing templates, eCommerce website design, Facebook fan pages and also customising clients Twitter pages.

When we first started Dzine-Hub, there were very few successful design companies, their turn around times were slow and the prices for services were highly impractical. We optimised our processes, focusing on quality and always aiming to remain small & nimble to keep the entire process as personal as possible, after all these are peoples businesses we are representing with the designs and impacts them greatly.

Why do you feel that people use services such as yours for eBay listing templates and eBay shops?

There are many many people selling on eBay and many using eBay shops. One of the best ways to get ahead of the rest of the sellers on eBay is to use a professional design for your eBay store and listings.

An eBay store design and listing template design is vital for three important reasons –

Branding

A strong brand is invaluable as the battle for customers on the eBay market increases by day. Time taken to create a brand, and then market that effectively is time well spent. Branding increases your credibility with the customer & concretes user loyalty. A unique high-quality design helps in effective branding.

Interface

A bad design interface can discourage a potential customer from making a purchase owing to the fact that the navigation is not too simple. A good interface can put the customer at ease, with navigation made easy between store pages and other information. Our store designs are not just good looking, we create a good navigation interface to make your eBay store more customer-centric.

[Matt’s comment: The basic eBay shop is fine to a degree, but after that they all look the same and 3rd party design companies can really add some flair to the eBay shops and add a superior user interface which ultimately helps buyers find items faster & more efficiently in both the eBay shop and the listings themselves ]

Cross-promotion

Another way of increasing sales / conversions is cross-promotion – let the customer know what you feel might be of interest to them apart from the primary area of focus. Creative banners and well-designed promotion category boxes can communicate with the customer more effectively.

Abbas, DZine-Hub is not based in the UK, while I personally have no issues with outsourcing activities such as design work that I am not specialised in, what 5 tips would give UK business owners when outsourcing their design work?

We have positioned ourselves as an Internet-based business, just like our clients, where the core competencies of our company are measured by the kind of services we offer and how we deliver them.

Beyond a point the location only matters little, it is about how we do what we do, to the best our abilities.

Here are 5 tips for UK business owners looking to outsource their design work:

  1. Look for experience
    Have a look at the portfolio, that would give you an idea on what they are capable of. Live links to eBay stores which showcase the work done.
  2. Genuine reviews
    Look at what people have spoken about their work (preferably on a third-party website).
  3. Service
    See the terms of service, after sales support and how easily contactable they are. Give them a call and/or an email and see what response you get back from them.
  4. Nature of their clientele
    See how big their clients are, their eBay feedback. If they’re attracting high volume, high value businesses, then they’re worth contacting.
  5. Expertise
    Many businesses use software tools to run their businesses on eBay. Its crucial that they have knowledge of the software system the company is working with.

[Matt’s comment: Just to add to the points above, never be afraid of picking up the phone and speaking to them. Look for a UK number or a Skype contact and call them. It’ll take no more than a few minutes and you’ll know first hand what the level of communication is going to be like. Maybe just like what your buyers do to your business ;-) ]

When we last spoke, you had exceeded the 600 designs mark, could you tell us how the journey has been this far?

The journey this far has been an exciting one to say the least. In the last couple of years of us being fully functional, we have learnt an amazing lot and grown from strength to strength.

We have launched 600 eBay stores and it’s not so much the volume that matters – but the fact that we have personally dealt with and successfully helped launch that many businesses on eBay. We’ve also designed a fashion outlet store in the UK along with the many others and have launched 50 eCommerce websites (and counting) based on the Magento platform.

Myself & my team are looking to an even more exciting time ahead – our next year should feature us venturing into Amazon web-stores, and launching more designs for other eCommerce websites that function on different shopping carts other than Magento, like OpenCart, Volusion, BigCommerce, Prestashop to name a few.

First impressions are huge, how do you work with your clients to ensure theirs are first-rate?

My1stWish Design ExampleHaving been in the business of eBay selling for quite a while, we’ve identified how critical it is for the designed templates to have the right balance of design and cross-promotion, suited to each individual business model.

We have been designing templates for varied set of clients, selling products & services across a very wide range of categories. A lot of our time is spent on deciding with our clients, what to do and how for each small / medium / large business, which we plan to have an impact on.

We understand how important it is for our clients to instill trust and confidence in their prospective buyers minds and all this is achieved with well designed professional templates.

First impressions count everywhere – we do our best to ensure that our clients make a very good first impression on their customers.

Some examples of our work are below:

Thank You

Abbas, thank you for taking the time answer those questions for us.

You can find out more about DZine-Hub.com here, the link goes straight to the gallery page of over 100 eBay design examples.

Why Buy a Professionally Designed eBay Listing Template? Part 2

This is the second part of a two-part series and if you’ve missed the first part you can read it here ‘Why buy a professionally designed eBay listing template?‘.

In this second part, I’ll be covering the following topics:

  1. Standardisation of common components
  2. The ability to try new layouts easily
  3. Professionally designed eBay template examples
  4. The conclusion

Standardisation of Common Components

Yes, you can achieve this without a paid-for design and I’m really looking forward to creating some basic layout templates that you can use as part of forthcoming articles (try searching for eBay template in the search box on this site as I may have added them by now).

However, with a professional designed eBay listing template, you’ll find that the elements are typically styled a lot better than what a novice can do with limited to no HTML & design skills.

To clarify what I mean by ‘Standardise data input’, these are the typical sections that you might have included in your listing template layout:

  1. Title
  2. Image(s)
  3. A short description of the product
  4. Any technical details
  5. Your standard postage option
  6. Your returns policy
  7. Your payment methods

So taking point 7, you can have your accepted payment methods prewritten and if they design company is a really good one, they’ll help you out formatting such sections, so each time you list, you don’t have to repetitively input this information or even in worst case scenario leave it out!

Note: With some software providers you can also provide logic testing alter what is and what is not shown in eBay listings. I’ll not be covering these in this article but is noted for a future one.

The Ability to Try New Layouts Easily

If you have a designed or even a basic template layout, then you’re able to then “play with” altering the placement of the sections in the template.

For example, you may include the images to the left in one layout and in another the images to the right. My point here is, that as soon as you have broken the product/service details & common elements away from the design itself, then you can alter the design and layout as you wish.

Note: Again noting that this is much easier when using most of the 3rd party software for eBay listings. The eBay listing template is normally broken away from the actual product data, then keywords are left behind in the template, as placeholders for the product data and that in itself allows the easy manipulation of the template layout. However even just altering the template for any new listings you may have is also applicable to this example.

Professionally Designed eBay Template Examples

Here are some examples I’ve picked at random from eBay, I’ve included a screenshot for each, a link so you can find the sellers items and view their eBay listing templates.

Note: I’ve linked directly to the eBay shops as listings is not a good idea as they may expire):

eBay-template-UniQ Clothing

UniQ Clothing

eBay-template-WeShipDeals
eBay-template-Funky ClubweareBay-template-EFX Digital
eBay-template-vinyl_zosoeBay-template-ocean tree trading

Example Breakdown

If you take a look through each of the eBay shops above and delve into the listings, you’ll find a variety of different designs and layouts. It’s important to note they’re all doing the same thing, presenting product information to you as a potential buyer. Some do it better than others and it’s for you to take what works well for your products and then make it better.

Picking on Uniq Clothing, the actual product data they have in their listings is actually very, very low. In fact it’s so light on data, I will be dissecting one of their eBay listings in a future article to show you how light they are on the data as I reverse engineer the listing data.

If you pick any one of their eBay listings, you’ll note that if you visually exclude the outer contents of the template, what’s documented for the product, is minimal. A listing title, barely any eBay item specifics, great images and a six line description consisting of no more than 20 words and guess what? It looks fab! A testament to what a decent template structure & design can do to make really, really poor data.

Conclusion

Any listing template is a good idea (I think I’ve said that 4 times now), as they allow you to include the common sections in each time, such as postage details and product attributes to gain uniformity across your eBay listings.

Then by ‘branding’ yourself, you are able to portray yourself as a more professional seller and also allow the porting of customers from one platform to another more easily.

If your eBay activities look like your website and the customer has previously converted, then moving them to another trading place is far easier as they “recognise your business” (the point I was making with Tesco in part 1).

Question:
Do you use an eBay listing template for your eBay listings? What improvements did you find?

Use the comment box below to let me know!

Why Buy a Professionally Designed eBay Listing Template? Part 1

If you’re not aware, in the past few years professionally designed eBay listing templates have really taken off in almost all of the eBay categories by most business sellers.

This is part 1 of a 2 part series and the second part will be live tomorrow here.

Before, it was generally kept to technology-based categories, I suspect that this was probably due to the merchants in these categories having a better grasp of HTML and being able to create basic and advanced templates by themselves, although the artist and print categories have always pretty strong, due to the creative ability of such sellers.

There are several companies that offer such services and I’m not going to mention them here (I’m saving this for a later article), however pulling from a wide spectrum of examples across numerous providers, so you can see from example what is possible from such companies and discuss the benefits and possible drawbacks to buying and using a professionally designed eBay listing template.

So Why Buy a Designed eBay Template?

So to get to the core question, “Why buy a designed eBay template?“, as far as I see it,  there are several key reasons on why to buy a professionally designed template, these are below and I’ll expand on each further:

  1. Any listing template is a great idea
  2. Branding & building a presence
  3. Standardise data input
  4. Standardisation of common components
  5. The ability to try new layouts easily

So to cover these in more detail, I’ve broken them down below:

Any Listing Template is a Great Idea

I covered this in another article called “Do I need a professionally designed listing template to sell on eBay?”, here is an extract:

That’s quite a broad statement, but I’ll happily explain. By using a template to format your product details, will allow you to focus on what you need to add and not on what you think you should be including each time you list, then ending up with some listings well formatted and complete and some others half way (or less) complete.

Even if it’s a copy/paste from a text document, it means you can cover the basic questions in each listing without causing excessive buyer questions and putting buyers off by not including valuable information.

I am making the point that any eBay listing template is a great idea regardless of complexity it allows you to break the repetitive information that you include in every listing, the product details and any design layer that is included.

Branding & Building a Presence

This would have been set at the #1 spot, however I feel that even using a basic template is a such a brilliant business practice for eBay, not only for merchants to input their product or service data in a structured manner, but also for buyers, as they will thank you (buy buying) for allowing them to locate the information that they are specifically looking for.

Building your presence on eBay by using branding is again an excellent idea, as I said in the opening paragraph to this article, a few years back, professional designs were limited to the few, now they’re commonplace and there is a very good reason for this, by branding your eBay listings (and probably your eBay shop), you are able to distinguish yourself from the rest of the crowd.

Lets flip to a real-word example, lets think of “Tesco’s”.

Are you thinking, blue, white and some red text if I was to include a picture right now, you’d immediately now it was them?

(I was going to include their logo, however, there is no need, you know who they are and what the look like.)

Now… this ports straight back to your business, if you’ve just got a bland, white background and just black text with a few bullet points, then to be honest, you look like the rest. However, if you have a brand, as in a logo and a themed listing, then suddenly you’re a ‘brand’. Take this website, for example, if you saw the LastDropofInk logo somewhere else, say on my YouTube channel, then you’d know it’s us right? (hopefully you say yes here, that’s the point I’m making).

Continuing with the Tesco branding, lets look at a few examples (yes I know they’re a monster to pick on, however I’m just trying to amplify the point, I’ll get to real-life eBay sellers shortly, honest!).

Tesco Main Website
This is a screenshot of the main Tesco website (click for larger image)
Tesco Direct Website
Even without the blue, you stil instantly recognise that its Tesco (click for larger image)

And lets take a look what they did when they launched onto eBay UK:

Tesco eBay Shop
This is the tesco eBay Shop. You can view it here
Tesco Outlet eBay Listing Template
Tesco Outlet eBay Listing Template

This works in reverse

This is a pivotal notion, especially for eBay sellers who have no brand presence as of yet outside of eBay, by having a strong design on your eBay listings & eBay shop, then porting this to your other channels (such as websites, blogs, Facebook, Twitter & so on…), enables customers to feel more comfortable and again, just like the Tesco example, you can recognise them without thinking (also called brand recognition).

Standardise Data Input

If we make the assumption that each of your eBay listings has these common product/service sections:

  1. A Title
  2. Image(s)
  3. Bullet points
  4. A description

Then by leaving placeholders in your listing template, you can populate these core sections, quickly and easily. This not only helps data input, but also makes the core sections about the product easily readable by the buyer.

If you’re using 3rd party tools, then many of these support keywords and these placeholders can be left in the templates and are dynamically populated by the software when the listing is sent to eBay.

Summary

Before I wrap up this first part, it’s worth noting that you don’t normally just receive an eBay listing template from a 3rd party company, most bundle this in with an eBay shop design.

I hope I’ve put across the key point of this article that any template is a good idea, it doesn’t have to be professionally designed (although if it is then it’s likely to be far superior than you or I would be able to create).

The addition of a listing template brings many benefits, not only looking more professional, but to allow you to structure your data more evenly and then allow you to test different formats too.

In part 2 which I release tomorrow (see here when it’s live) I cover the standardisation of common components and what they are,  the ability to try new layouts easily, several professionally designed eBay template examples and reach the final conclusion on professionally designed eBay listing templates.

What is an eBay Listing Template?

In this article I’ll be covering what an eBay listing template is, examples of such listing templates in action and finally why you need one, even if its a really simple one.

What is an eBay Listing Template?

So what really is a eBay listing template then? In its shortest form, all it is is a template (think of a set of of guides or like drawing some pencil lines on a page) to help you layout your product or service information out in a consistent, informative manner for both yourself and your customers.

eBay listing templates can be exceptionally complex especially when you mix in logic testing keywords and multiple sets of  data. Some of the templates I’ve helped design have far surpassed anything that you’ll ever come across, (going on a slight tangent here, bear with me) I remember one template that I worked on that involved nested keywords in eSellerPro (an auction management tool) that had about 300 lines deep of logic tests and  that excluded the sub paragraphs that were being pulled in with even more keywords in them.

Quick & Simple Example

However on the flip side, they can be exceptionally basic, just a few place holders for the description, images and maybe a few common lines of text for shipping and postage.

I’ve made a really simple one below, even this would assist in easy listing creation:

Item Title Here



  • Major point 1 – Maybe condition?
  • Major point 2
  • Major point 3
  • Major point 4
  • Major point 5 – If you’re stuck for a 5th, why not mention you’re fast delivery or fantastic feedback?

Main description here






Postage Information
Enter text here about postage. You could include the odd paragraph here as well and just leave place holders for postage prices for example:
UK Shipping is £UKShippingHere and Europe is £EUShippingHere

Payment Information
Enter text here about payment, I’ve also included the paypal logo below as well to give you a hand.
We Accept PayPal

Returns Information
Include standard information here, but please don’t scare people away with 10 pages of T&C’s. Write it in plain english

My point is that eBay listing templates can with third party tools go to extremes, but they all do the same job no matter how simple or how complex, which is:

  1. Format information clearly buyers
  2. Format information easily for merchants/sellers to populate
  3. To speed up the listing process
  4. To (hopefully) allow making changes at a later date much easier

Note: We’ll be including complex examples soon and also we have it noted to include some more basic examples and maybe even a short HTML to help you with the basics.

Examples of eBay Listing Templates in Use

For these examples, I’m going to include examples of professionally designed eBay templates, mainly because these show the use of such templates to their best effect, but as noted above, eBay listing templates don’t need to be ultra complex or professionally designed to be a great benefit to you and your customers, its all about displaying information in a clean, well structured format.

Example 1

uniq-clothing-ebay-template

uniq-clothing Template (click the image for super sized image)

In this example, we’ve got a whole host of template things going on. I’ll break these down for you.Firstly the entire outer shell is one big template, for example the logo, the top navigation, the sides and the content areas. If we focus on the sections that change, such as the images, the seller has loaded these images into a back end tool and then the gallery is auto created by the template, placing the first image as a large one and the extra images as smaller images down the side.The listing title “UNIQ P2-J Long Womens MAXI/ Boho/Hippie Summer DRESS” is also included as a keyword (see our other articles for what this means) to bring it through automatically when the item is listed.

Moving down to the item description, this is probably included from one of two places in the backend system, but the output is the same, they’ve entered the description in a description box (of some form) and its being spilled out into the listing where its being told to in the template. A similar process is happening for the lower tabs for sizing, brands, payment, delivery and returns, but instead of them being entered manually each time, they’re most likely hard coded (sorry this is a term I use, it means “written by hand”) into the template, so that they don’t need to keep writing it over and over. Just like the basic example I included above.

They’ve also got a related items box in this listing too, I know how you can do this and I’ll be including the steps to do this in a later article (try searching for “related items” in the search box on the right.

While I’ve picked a pretty complex template to begin with, this only amplifies that the seller would never have been able to achieve such a quality of presentation without the use of an eBay template.

Example 2

funkydivaltd-ebay-template

funkydivaltd eBay Template (Click for super-sized version)

While I personally dislike white text on a black background and excessive use of CAPSLOCK (and flash for that matter), they’ve done themselves a huge favour by using a template.They’re able to include the product information in very easily and are saving themselves a huge amount of time and even with my personal gripes with the template, it gives a uniform layout across all their listings and have a few bonuses to boot, such as the lack of requirement to include the repetitive information for shipping, about us, size guides and returns information, plus including some useful links to their other aspects and a basic cross selling module to the right for categories or products they also stock.

Example 3

cliphair-ltd-ebay-template

cliphair.ltd eBay Template (Click for super-sized version)

While not as visually appealing as the previous two examples, if you look closely at the contents, they’re using a layout to format their information much more clearly than just a few lines of text.For example the opening two paragraphs are common across their listings and adds brand awareness to the listing. I actually quite like the “We Promise” section and reassures the buyer viewing the listing. If you look further down the listing you’ll see a couple of tables included, these are fantastic for showing product specifics and even further down the shipping table, while not ‘visually pretty’, does a good job at formatting the shipping information.

Conclusion

eBay listing templates don’t need to be ultra complex, even though I’ve hinted that some (if not all) of the largest sellers on eBay use complex versions, even if you’re selling just a few items, a simple template like the one I’ve included, will enable you to list faster, not miss out on key information for your listings, provide the information in a clear format for your buyers and crucially make your life a lot simpler, if you need to update the listings at a later date.