Let's face it, the myriad of tasks that go into maintaining a business website -- blogging, coding, tracking inventory, updating product listings and maintaining servers, to name just a few -- can cost a company a significant amount of time and money. So what can a small business do to offset some of those expenses? One way is to create an online job board.
At the very least, a job board can be an add-on content page for your site and help draw traffic. More importantly, you can charge people money for posting jobs. Industries serving specific niches and requiring advanced skills, such as consulting or service companies, are probably the best fit for the type of job board a small firm can launch.
There are several software and Web-based solutions that post, update and even sell job listings inside a blog or website. While starting a profitable job board doesn't happen overnight, we tested a few of the solutions for creating one.
Here's a look at what we learned about generating revenue with a job board and the steps you should consider when developing one of your own:
Create an industry jobs checklist. The job board tools we studied will allow just about any business to connect industry players. But the first step is to create a checklist of choices. Would your clients prefer a simple, unscreened list of potential entry-level employees with certain minimum qualifications? Or are detailed postings for more senior, specialized candidates the secret job board sauce?
Once you've nailed the concept for your job board, choose your tool -- software or Web-based applications.
Option One: Start with the Web. The Web offers the fastest on-ramp for developing a job board. With that in mind, we liked Job-a-matic, from Mountain View, Calif.-based Simply Hired, which creates branded job boards from existing templates. The board is managed through an online dashboard that lets you customize forms and set prices. You are responsible for selling job listings, but Job-a-matic handles the payments.
We also liked New York-based JobThread which, like Job-a-matic, lets users generate boards with online templates. We found both services easy to use, but some coding skills are needed to create the best design.
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One caveat: Although both services let you set up job boards for free, they take a 50 percent cut of any sales.
Option Two: Download a software tool. Software generally offers more features and greater flexibility than the Web services, but costs more and requires more coding skills.
Two tools stand out: Hong Kong-based Jamit and webJobs from Troy, N.Y.-based Web Scribble Solutions. Both feature fundamental editing systems that enable you to create fairly sophisticated job boards for a reasonable investment.
Be aware that your programmers will likely have to integrate any code created with this downloaded software back into your website. But once installed, both tools can be managed online.
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Jamit ($199 per license) and webJobs ($599 per license) both offer features including resume posting and a variety of e-commerce payment options.
Syndicate job listings from other sources. When you start, you might not immediately have enough jobs posted to attract much attention. Fear not. Several networks such as Simply Hired and Indeed will let you post some of their listings on your job board. In fact, Job-a-matic and webJobs make that link automatic. But similar to Google's AdSense, Simply Hired and Indeed will collect a small percentage of the revenue each time someone clicks on their postings.
Running a jobs board requires time and discipline. Besides some technical know-how to get a board up and running, you will need someone to manage everything from setting prices and designing forms to providing customer service. And if you choose to charge for listings, it can require a dedicated marketing effort to promote your job board and attract postings.
Still, we were impressed with how user friendly the software was. Assuming you target your market properly, creating a job board can be the sort of experience that makes your site stand out.