So You Wanna Build a Job Board? Part 2: “Frankenstein’s Monster”
This blog post is the second in a series that will examine the pros and cons for different methods of creating and running a job board. There are many reasons for creating a job board–it can be the centre of your business, a way to pipeline talent for your recruitment firm or staffing agency, or a way to help monetize your already traffic-heavy news/media website. This second installment covers the ins-and-outs of building a job board using WordPress technology. Also see: Part 1, Part 3, Part 4, and Part 5.
Why did I title this method of building a job board “Frankenstein’s Monster”?
Let me state up-front that I love WordPress. I’ve used WordPress in both my work and non-work life to blog, and to create and manage websites. WordPress is awesome. (I’m also quite fond of Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, come to that.)
This blog runs on WordPress, and its Content Management System is the go-to CMS for most business websites. There are tons of free resources for beginners, and you can find free and premium/paid themes, plugins, and other add-ons to enhance a WordPress site’s functionality.
Bottom line, if you need a website for your business, start with WordPress.
There are now a number of WordPress themes and plugins that provide basic job board functionality, which means you can combine them to create your job board. I call this WordPress job board option “Frankenstein’s Monster” simply because it involves using tools and elements created by others, and fastening them together to create a final product.
Alright, so what’s good and bad about this option? Many of the pros are similar to those for building one from scratch yourself, because you are in charge of your hosting, your content, and how you use your technology.
THE PROS IN FAVOUR OF WORDPRESS-POWERED JOB BOARDS
1. This is DIY made easy. You don’t have to touch any HTML, CSS, or PHP if you don’t want to bother with it. WordPress lets you create and manage content on a “What You See Is What You Get” basis (WYSIWYG, pronounced “wizzywig” if you say it out loud). And most themes make it easy to manipulate colour schemes and placement of widgets, which means you get all the benefits of DIY without the steep learning curve of building a website from scratch.
2. Plugins, plugins, plugins. I know I already mentioned it earlier, but it deserves its own bullet point. A plugin is like a little package of code that is built to integrate into your existing WordPress site. There are plugins for social media, for booking appointments, contact forms, saving back-up versions of your content, and tons more I haven’t ever had cause to search for. Plugins make it easy to add to the functionality of your website without having to develop stuff on your own.
3. As mentioned above, you can use selected plugins or themes that will deliver the functionality of a job board, like the ability to post jobs, register users, and eCommerce. Some fancier ones may even include profiles that can be filled out by users (employers or job seekers). So without knowing any coding, you can have your very own job board, all using WordPress, for relatively cheap.
THE CONS FOR BUILDING A WORDPRESS-POWERED JOB BOARD
1. You are limited by, and are at the mercy of, the authors of the plugins or themes that provide your job board functionality. What does that mean? Well, if something’s not working right with the theme or plugin you’re using, there’s a bug, or you know it would be 1000% more awesome if they just made one little change—you’re dependent on them to make it happen. It’s important to check when the last update to a theme or plugin was made, to help you determine if it is still supported by the authors, or if the authors are still active and can be reached for help.
2. Using WordPress to build your job board technology is relatively easy and affordable. Which means there are a lot of other people and businesses are using the exact same technology and designs to do exactly what you’re doing. It’s not a complete disaster, but it does make it harder to be competitive and differentiate yourself. Because let’s face it, there are a lot of other options for job seekers and employers than your board, so you’ll wind up working harder to stand out in the crowd. If your job board technology is based on a theme, you’re going to be even more limited in any design changes you can make later on.
3. There are limits to using a WordPress theme to power the technology a job board needs. Being able to search a large database of jobs, handle high rates of traffic, and get accurate search results in a timely matter is likely to strain most basic WordPress websites. You might get slow responses to searches, and job seekers might have trouble being able to search all your posted jobs. So even if you’re fine with the basic functionality of your WordPress-based job board, you’ll run into trouble when your business is ready to scale up. Higher traffic, more customers, and more candidates should be good news, but could cause headaches.
4. Combining different themes, plugins, and other tools to create the total job board solution can get unwieldy. Cobbling together too many different pieces that were never intended to work together can get tricky, and may cause problems you can’t predict. Instead of making a better job board, you might create a monster.
If your budget is tight and you really just need a solution to help you get your feet wet, using WordPress to build your job board is an awesome way to get started. And no matter what kind of business you have, when you need to build your website, run your blog, and create and manage your static content, WordPress is a fantastic and flexible solution.
On the other hand, if you run (or want to run) a really high volume job board, you may find the limits of WordPress technology too restrictive. And a few years later when you want to make a change to your design, or update your technology, the narrow confines of those plugins and themes might mean you can’t level-up your business without a larger technological and/or design overhaul.
Stay tuned for the rest of our “So You Wanna Run a Job Board?” series, where we’ll cover other ways to create or update an online recruitment website.
- So You Wanna Run a Job Board? Part 1: The DIY Project
- So You Wanna Run a Job Board? Part 2: Frankenstein’s Monster
- So You Wanna Run a Job Board? Part 3: Outsourcing Sorcery
- So You Wanna Run a Job Board? Part 4: Software Install, Legacy Catch-All
- So You Wanna Build a Job Board? Part 5 – Cover Your SaaS