A picture says a thousand words and take much less time for both you writing the description and a bidder reading your page. A few quick snapshots of the item up for auction can answer any number of questions a potential bidder may ask. If cosmetics may be a factor in bidding, try and include multiple angles to ensure you are not trying to hide anything. Specifics of an item can easily be shown such as all the interfaces on the rear of a dvd player or the color and finish quality. If you can include one shot of everything included in the auction (e.g. the power adapter, the original box, product manuals), this can simplify the text by saying "The auction includes everything pictured."
If you can include an actual picture of the item up for auction instead of a generic photo grabbed from the manufacturer's web site, the bidders may feel more comfortable since they can actually see what they are getting.
For small, light items, set a reasonable domestic shipping price and state international bidders pay actual shipping, if you choose to list internationally. Larger or heavy items will vary depending on the distance, shipping method, and type of service. It is best to include an approximate weight, package size, your zip code, and what carriers you are willing to work with. State the buyer pays actual shipping cost and they have all the information they need to estimate shipping before they bid.
The HTML (your description formatting)
An ugly run on paragraph will discourage bidders from reading all of your text. Try simple lists, small separate titled sections. Take a look and some of auctions similar to the item you are selling and see what grabs you eye. Personally I find simple designs most effective. Often I see "ebay store sellers" with all kinds of fancy borders and backgrounds that detract from the item.
If you are unexperienced with making your own HTML, there are plenty of simple editors that will create it for you. Mozilla Composer/Netscape Composer is a free easy to use editor.
A seller's feedback is their reputation. For each transaction, each side can leave feedback: negative, neutral, or positive. Bidders look at this information when determining if they want to send their money to you and trust you will deliver the goods. If you are new to ebay and want to sell, I strongly suggests buying a few small items and complete the transactions. This should allow you to give some other sellers positive (hopefully) feedback and gain some positive feedback yourself.
How you accept payment is entirely up to you. All methods have pros and cons and you will have to choose what risks you are willing to take. Cash is not the best thing to send in the mail and a seller can always claim 'it never got here.' Personal checks and cashiers checks are safer in the mail, but have the potential for bouncing or being forged. I suggest waiting 10 business days after deposit to send an item paid for with a check. A number of electronic transfer methods are available: PayPal, BidPay, etc. This allows an instant transfer from buyer to seller with none of the risks of cash or checks, however most of these services charge the seller a fee per transaction.
Here is an example description I generated: Cisco 2611 DC Power SupplyPlease send any comments, suggestions or questions to philip at shuman dot org