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Getting the most out of your auction site – Part 1: The Home Page

It is sometimes a love / hate relationship between developers and users.  They love users because they can show them all of the possibilities for the products that they create.  They hate users because they always ask for more.  I am a user, and as a user,  I am at times the epitome of a 5 year old kid.  I want more, more, more from our own software. Luckily, I have access to our developers, and we have a good relationship. Plus I can try things out on sample sites to see how we might be able to implement new features and ideas without tying up our developers.

Recently our sample site has undergone a bit of a facelift as I tried applying new techniques to our existing home page modules to create a new face.  You can see the attached image or go to the site at, but let’s look into it in detail.

  • I am using the standard Home Page template that we set your site up with originally.
  • On the left column, I set the top home page module to show Featured Items.  To do this, I also changed my featured item settings to 1 item per row, and I only wanted 4 rows to show so I set that as well.  I am only showing the image, title link and current bid to keep things nice and neat.
  • Below that, I included the category listings as well.  This is your personal preference, but I like having categories shown on the home page.

Let’s look at that exciting main column.

  • I started with Custom Message #1 to provide some information.  While I am never a huge fan of the content that I see there on most sites, I know you want to get information to your bidders, so I kept that simple for you and just typed in some generic instructions.  I could have stylized it using CSS (cascading style sheets) but to keep it simple, in this case, I didn’t.
  • Now what is that Deal of the Day thing? This is just outstanding.  I used the Custom Message #2 field to input my custom HTML and CSS to highlight a particularly exciting deal.  I used a Grouponesque design to give it the look that many users are familiar with seeing a daily deal look like.  Attached to this blog post you will see some of the CSS that was used to format the page.  I am sure it could have been more efficient, but this was a sample code and I wanted to illustrate more than focus on coding efficiency.
  • As I wrote this post, I found out that Facebook came out with a new Send option (which we just added to this blog by the way) so I will be removing the Email a Friend link and replacing it with the more popular Facebook method of emailing a friend.
  • The key to writing the code for this sample is to really highlight your content where the title, prices, discounts, etc. go so that it is quick and easy to manipulate each day.
  • Why didn’t I include the description? Primarily because this is a sample site so I didn’t have an actual description since this was a fictitious listing.  You very easily could have written a light item description.  Remember to not be too overly analytical and detailed on your home page description as you want to get the user to the bid form to complete the action of bidding or buying.

Next Post:  Part 2 – The Auction Header

More Information: CSS Tutorials:

Sample Code: Home Page CSS:

One Response to Getting the most out of your auction site – Part 1: The Home Page

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