lschmidt, I always order descriptions. It's much cheaper then do it yourself. But it really depends on your product type. E.g. jewelry is good for everyone. Writers need pictures only. But heaters or equipment for boats... it's much harder to hire a good writer for such things.
I have a food site, after tasting the products I wrote descriptions for them however with silver site I hired a copy writer.
Depends on how much you work you want to do, I do of course edit teh descriptions Im sent to some extent but its a lot easier having someone else write them.
We hired a person to write descriptions for us. The reason was that we are not native speakers, so we didn't feel too confident about doing it by ourselves.
I found him on craigslist and was pretty lucky because guy is also a poet ;-) which was perfect for our jewelry products. Descriptions are pretty unique and I would say they have a "soul". For some this approach can seem funny but majority of our clients are women and it seems to work pretty well. I am happy we did it. We just provided him pictures and everything was ready within a week.
We use online based software. It shows picture to a writer, check descriptions to verify they are unique and keep billing.
offtopic: krolik, are you Russian or so?
I'm surprised at you lazy guys!
Descriptions from manufacturers are dreadful for web use. We jazz 'em up, make sure descriptions include the right keywords for search engines and, where necessary, add text, charts, pics that web buyers need. We repeat vital keywords 2-3 times. And we trim fat.
Having the identical tepid text as 100 other sites isn't going to get you high in G.
Then we go a step further: Our hottest products get especially lovin' attention. Every word of description is polished to a sheen.
"offtopic: krolik, are you Russian or so?"
I am not Russian I am Polish.
I write mine myself, and my descriptions are one of the things that attracts people to my site. A well done description also helps you in the search engines. I make sure that I give information that people can't find elsewhere on products I sell that are not unique. It does take a lot of time, usually several hours to research and write one page (I have about 500 pages now). I have to tweak the page occasionally to keep a good ranking. Sometimes I rewrite them altogether when I am in the mood. I am a fast and professional writer, and even a fast typist. I can't imagine what this would be like if I were not. I take that back--I see it all the time with my competitors, who have no description or one line descriptions of their products. They are forced to compete on the basis of price or to carry a massive inventory. OTOH, my pages attract many visitors who don't buy anything and who are just reading for info. Realizing this has made me start working on a site for info only to be supported by ads.
[edited by: HRoth at 10:30 pm (utc) on Nov. 9, 2007]
What software is that?
I find that writing our own description works far better than getting prewitten content. Not only can you better optimize the content, you can also make the verbage more easily understood by the average person. This works very effectively for mechanical equipment where technical content doesn't flow very well. The time spent writing your own content can really pay off in conversions.
Good luck with writing your descriptions!
We write all of our own descriptions, but it can be a real bottle neck. For me to write descriptions I need to be in a creative mood and if I'm consumed with doing routine work, it is real hard for me to get into the creative mode.
I have looked at outsourcing them and have even tried it a few times. The problem is that often a picture does not provide enough technical information so that someone can just look at the picture and write the description. So when I have tried to have someone write descriptions, I get questions like "Is that black powder coat or is it spray painted black?", "Is the tubing solid or is it 1/8 thick hollow center tubing?"
By the time I answer all the question, I could just write the description myself.
Another problem though is how much can you really write about some items, like a sheetmetal screw.
It can all be frustrating and leads right back to what makes it a bottleneck. I guess it is where some shiny and others start to fade. But at the end of the day, it is one of those bottlenecks I am continual trying to figure out how to solve.
That being said, I'm off to write some descriptions.