Lately I’ve been getting lots of calls from newbies who want to start their own job board. So with their questions fresh in my mind I wanted to summarize how to start a job board from the ground up.
First, a warning. If you are not experienced in the operations of a website I suggest you find a partner who is. Its much harder for a non techie to make it work successfully. Two heads are always better than one so one of you can concentrate on sales while the other keeps the website up and running.
My first tip is to find a niche to target. This is harder than it sounds because most industries (aka niches) already have multiple job boards that serve that sector. So find a niche that is UNDERSERVED. You need to do your homework.
A good way to find a niche is to look at job market trends. For instance a couple years ago I read an article about how the FAA is going to open the airspace in the US to civilian drones. And it said 100,000 jobs would be created to serve that industry. So I started 2 job sites…UAVjobbank.com and JobsinDrones.com to cover that market. Both rank highly now for their target keywords.
Once you find a good niche to need to either buy the software or make your own. For software I recommend checking out Jobboard.io, Webscribble, Smartjobboard, Jobtarget or Jobamatic, just to name a few. They all offer the basic functionality you’ll need to get started. If you have custom requirements for your new site I suggest you build your own or take one of the job board wordpress plugins and customize that to do the job.
Dont skimp on design either. Your site needs to LOOK AWESOME in order to attract employers and job seekers. In fact it needs to be BEAUTIFUL so hire a good designer off 99designs.com and have them design the logo and basic layout of the site. A good design will actually help you get more sales. People trust well designed websites.
Start blogging. Before you even start design, set up a blog and start writing about the industry/niche you serve. It will help your SEO rankings and serve as a way to collect email addresses before you launch. Start to build an audience.
Chicken or the egg. You need to have jobs on your site when you launch. So there are basically 2 ways to get them. Contact employers and give them away for free or just go and copy them off their website and link back to them for job seekers to apply. They usually wont mind because they’ll get some free exposure. But you should try and get at least 50 jobs in your site before launching. I also recommend backfilling your site with listings from Indeed.com or one of the other aggregators like SimplyHired. This has 2 advantages. It gives job seekers other jobs to see IF you don’t have what they are looking for, plus you can earn a little revenue every time that job seeker clicks a job and goes back to indeed.com.
To be successful I suggest concentrating on getting job seekers for year one. Think long term. Build up a job seeker audience for at LEAST 6 MONTHS before trying to charge employers. Plus it will take 6 months to a year to get your search engine rankings up anyway. You should also try and get other sites to link to you. The more incoming links to your site you can get the more Google will like you! Spend money advertising your site on places like Google, facebook and twitter.
After a year you can move to a paid or freemium model. By this time you should have a steady stream of traffic. You could continue to give free postings while “upselling” employers on “featured” listings such as bolding their jobs in results and having a logo on the job description. Start out by pricing your products low since you want to gain market share. You can always raise them each year after that. A basic job postings should cost between $50-$100.
So thats the basic way to start a job board. Good luck!