How long have you been on eBay? When was the last time you paid attention to the look and feel of your site, store or listings? Perhaps you've been so busy selling things, you haven't taken the time to update your online presence.

Updating your eBay site should be of top importance to any seller. So in the spirit of spring, here are a few "spring cleaning" tips to bring your site's content and appearance up to date.

  • Graphics. When was the last time you put some new graphics on your site? Your store banner is a simple thing, but think about how often people see it. Your store graphic (you do have a custom one, don't you?) appears on your store--but it also appears on every listing you have on eBay! Certainly that makes it worth giving it a facelift at least once a year, doesn't it?
  • There's no need for you to spend your own time designing it. There are a large number of graphic artists who list their wares and talent on eBay. Type into eBay's search engine the keywords: "animated banner" or "web graphics" and you'll be presented with a plethora of people who'll design one for around $20 for a simple banner.

    Be sure you know what you want to say on the banner before you begin the design process. You'll have to communicate, in a simple fashion, a few details including the required size, your preferred text, any pictures/logos/images you want to use, and color scheme (if you have a preference). If you have pictures, logos or clipart that you would like to appear as part of the banner or graphic, be sure to e-mail them to the graphic artist, or if they reside on the internet you can send them the URL.

  • Keyword Campaign. Please tell me you're not using the stock "instant graphics" that are supplied on the eBay Keywords site. They produce some of the most blah and boring text boxes and banner ads I've ever seen! If you're going to be spending good money on a keyword campaign, why wouldn't you make the best of your investment? Have a custom ad designed for you!
  • Photographs. I'm sure your store carries some stock items. When was the last time you took new pictures to illustrate your wares? Sure, you're still selling and everything seems to be going OK, but why not freshen things up a little? Take the time to shoot some new pictures. There's a lot of competition out there, so be sure that your merchandise shines!
  • There's no need to hire a photographer. You take pictures all the time; just take the time to do it. Update your images; after all: they represent your image online!

  • Description Copy. Here's another place where we all tend to get complacent, using the same tired text for our products that we've been using for the past several years. Look at your products again. Is there something you've neglected to say about your items? The manufacturer may have changed something slightly--be sure you're aware of that and be sure you make your customers aware of any new features or benefits of your items.
  • Are there other sellers giving you competition for some of your stock items on eBay? Perhaps today is the day to look up their listings and see how they're competing with your sales. Run a completed items search on a few of your more profitable items and see who's chipping away at your market. Read their copy and look at their photos; are they doing a better job then you are? If so, they may soon be cutting into your profits.

At this point I want to make a confession. As many of you know, I'm a PowerSeller on eBay, and have made a nice living from my eBay sales over the years. As I was writing this column I became keenly aware that I'm guilty of much of the above. It's time for me to buff up my eBay store and listings. As soon as I finish this article, I'll be busy making all these changes to my own online presence!

Marsha Collier, a successful eBay PowerSeller, is the author of the bestselling eBay references,eBay for Dummies, 4th Edition and Starting an eBay Business for Dummies.