Security continues to be an important topic relating to all things digital, both for individuals and online businesses. Breaches in security can happen through a variety of means, and one recent ransomware attack that affected the UK National Health Service has a lot of people asking how they can protect themselves and their businesses.
Something many businesses that serve a particular geographic region take advantage of when it comes to their Search Engine Optimization is local SEO.
If you live in Moosejaw, Saskatchewan and search for “pizza”, it’s not very helpful if the results you get are for restaurants in New York. That’s why search engines try to deliver results that are relevant to your location as well as your search terms.
So, if you make great pizza in Moosejaw, how do you reach local potential customers? Okay, I know if you’re reading a blog on a job board software provider’s website, there’s a chance you run a job board or a recruiting business and are not in the business of making delicious pizza. (That said, if you’ve found a market for pizza-related employment and you’re thinking of starting a job board…call us!)
Below I’ve gathered some tips and resources for bolstering your local SEO and ideas on how to handle some of the challenges that online businesses may face.
The online recruiting industry is a big and bustling place, full of competition, but small job boards that are niche have a lot going for them.
Writing for the Society of Human Resource Management, Roy Maurer describes the advantages of niche job boards in recruiting:
“Niche boards may not boast the traffic of mammoths like CareerBuilder and Indeed, but their use often leads to lower cost-to-hire and higher quality-of-hire metrics because they are more likely to attract highly coveted candidates with specialized skills and relevant experience, experts say.”
Many new job boards can find themselves struggling to stand apart from both older, more established job boards and those mammoth-sized, generalist platforms. One of the questions we encourage job board entrepreneurs to ask themselves is, “Am I niche enough?”
This blog post will outline how new job boards can think about being niche, explore ways to further specialize, and highlight a few helpful tools that may help.
If you’re starting a new job board, you’ve hopefully been making use of Careerleaf’s resources for job boards, and now you’re starting to think about how you’ll price your services.
To do this, you’ll need to know your overall costs and your business model, including what products or services you’re selling, and any other sources of revenue.
Many entrepreneurs may start off with dollar signs in their eyes, dreaming of all the cash they’ll have once they get their new business off the ground. The reality is many businesses take the time to become really profitable, so it’s important to set milestone goals for you to meet along your journey.
- Your First Sale – The first goal is proving out your business idea by making a sale, or a few initial sales, and learning from those early customers. Was the price right? Did they get what they wanted? Will they recommend your services to other people? You might experiment a little during this early stage to find the prices that match the value your customers expect and experience.
- Break Even – The second milestone is making enough money to cover your costs. How much do you spend to operate your job board in the first place? What do your monthly costs for software, hosting, marketing tools, and hours of labour (yours or that of an employee or contractor) add up to?
- Make a Profit – The third goal is generating enough revenue to cover your operating costs and make a profit. Once you’re profitable, you may invest that profit into growing the business further.
Search Engine Optimization is never going to truly be a “set it and forget it” tool for getting traffic to your job board or turning up on the first page of Google search results.
Ideally, search engines like Google and Bing want web search to be a meritocracy. Websites and pages that are relevant to the words or phrases you search for and have proven themselves to be valid and valuable should be what rises to the top.
Websites new and old have challenges in managing their SEO, often for different reasons. Old websites usually struggle with updating or cleaning up the structural and technical components of their site’s content, design, and its organization. New websites usually struggle to figure out how they can be unique and valuable enough to differentiate themselves from existing sites, and build up credibility.
There is a view, which stems from the early days of SEO, that making a website turn up on the first page of search results can be achieved simply through technical tricks and hacks. Google, in particular, is known for its evolving search algorithm – the way Google applies your search terms to look for appropriate search results today is not the way it worked last year, five years ago, or ten years ago.
Maybe it’s the magic of reverse-psychology, but our most popular blog post has consistently been 5 Reasons Not to Start a Job Board since it was published.
It’s not that I don’t think people should start job boards. In fact, it’s kind of important to our business that people do run and start job boards. But, there are things that can cause problems for a new job board, and I’m interested in helping you avoid and overcome those problems.
So, back by popular demand, here are 6 more reasons not to start a job board!
1. You Don’t Know What You’re Selling
Why should anyone use your job board? Why should job seekers use your board, rather than using Indeed, LinkedIn, other large aggregators and job boards? Why should employers use your job board either, for that matter?
If you can’t answer those questions, you have a problem. This is usually the first thing to trip up a new job board. If you can’t think of what your board offers that other competitors (big or small) don’t, you’re going to have a hard time selling it to employers and candidates.
One of the reasons why job boards with a focus on a particular niche or regional market are successful is because it makes it easier to identify the problems of finding great talent and great jobs, and then work to solve them.
Make sure you know what you’re selling so you can communicate it to the people to whom you’re selling.
You want to start a job board, but you’ve asked yourself some tough questions and realize you may need to do some legwork before you’re ready to go all in. Don’t lose heart – Careerleaf’s pre-launch plan for job boards should help you reach your goal.
If you decided you’re not ready to launch yet – look at the reasons why and turn them into milestones along the path to starting a profitable job board business. The criteria you’re using to judge whether or not you are ready likely involves four key areas: market research, candidates, employers, and branding.
Build a Candidate Following
To get employers to be your customers, you need to prove you can deliver the kind of candidates they want to hire. To do that, you need to establish a connection with the candidates you and your would-be customers want to attract. There are a lot of great, cheap ways you can start community-building before you launch your job board, including:
- Social media: share content, resources, and advice with the candidates you want to target. Take advantage of the hashtags, groups, lists, and search functions that social media platforms provide to discover and engage with the online community in your target industry. Interact with people and start providing value now.
- Blogging: plant your flag and start creating your own valuable content and resources. You can also contribute content to other industry blogs to expose your brand to wider audiences in your market.
- Start a Group or Mailing List: you might already be in the habit of finding and sharing amazing jobs within your space – why not start a social media group or mailing list to share them with subscribers? This is especially valuable, because people who have opted in to this service are more likely to want to use the amazing job board you’re going to launch.
At Careerleaf, we’re always looking for ways we can help job boards be successful. What “success” looks like for every job board is never exactly the same, but we’re certain this list of resources from our blog can help you get there.
Let us know if there’s something missing from this list that you’d like us to write about!
Getting Ready to Launch:
- Questions to ask before you launch
- Your Pre-Launch Job Board Plan
- 5 Awesome Reasons to Start a Job Board
- 5 Reasons Not to Start a Job Board
- Alternative Revenue Streams
- Curating a Jobs Backfill
- Setting up Job Distribution
- Job Board Branding Checklist
Technology Options for Job Board Websites:
This week’s blog post comes from Jonathan Page, Careerleaf’s Director of Sales and Marketing.
Every week I have conversations with entrepreneurs researching technology solutions for a new job board or career portal, and often provide advice on their value propositions, target markets and initial launch plans. Some of this advice is specific to a particular business idea, but much of the advice crosses industry or territorial differences.
The best advice I can give job board entrepreneurs begins with asking a series of 5 core questions:
Where and how are you getting your job seekers? Why are they interested in you?
There is a reason that aggregators and virtually every job board in existence pays or has paid for candidate traffic. Your candidate traffic is why employers will pay you. So if you don’t have an impressive* number of contact emails for your niche, you aren’t ready to set up your job board or invest in a technology solution.
Priority number one is having something of value to say to your target candidates and start winning them to your tribe.
*The term impressive is purposefully relative – the more differentiated and desirable the candidates the smaller the number needs to be to qualify as impressive. Also, understand that geography is implicit in any Niche and should not be ignored.
There are so many cases where a problem can be solved with a simple phone call. Wondering why an employer posted one job on your board last year? Find yourself wishing you could help that new company from the news with their hiring?
Just pick up the phone.
That’s a phrase I have often heard from Careerleaf’s own CEO, whose recruiting and entrepreneurial background has given her many opportunities to test out her own advice. A quick conversation over the phone can be an incredibly effective way to qualify your employer or recruiter customers, build relationships with them, and solve problems.