Just a few days ago I launched a re-designed version of DesignM.ag that includes a job board for web design and development. The job board was part of my initial plans for the site, but at the time of launch in July I was still looking into the options for adding a job board. I thought I had found an answer, but one of my contacts that was using that option strongly advised me against it.
After I launched the site without the job board I kept my eyes open for a viable solution. Several months ago I came across a premium WordPress theme created specifically for job boards, and I bought the theme so I could customize it for DesignM.ag. When I started to work on the theme about a month after buying it, it wasn’t working quite right out of the box. When I went to contact the designer and seller of the theme for support they had disappeared and apparently closed up shop. Rather than spending a lot of time trying to fix something that I couldn’t get support for on future releases of WP, I decided to go back to the drawing board.
Recently I came across a premium WordPress plugin called WPJobAds that claimed to easily integrate a job board into a WordPress-based site. At a price of $59 I thought this was well-worth a shot. This plugin is ultimately what I’ve used to power the job board on DesignM.ag and I think it may also be a great option for some readers out there who are looking for a way to enhance their site or to find a new stream of revenue.
I give you the background of my situation only to make the point that finding a simple solution to power a niche job board was not that easy. There are some high-priced options that will allow you to build a complex job board, but for a small job board that’s just one aspect of a site, the cost and the time spent on customizing and development hardly seemed worth it. Customizing a WordPress theme manually is always an option, but buying a premium plugin or theme would be a big time saver.
For disclosure purposes, this is not a paid review. However, as I was about to purchase WPJobAds I decided to contact the developer to offer a review in exchange for the plugin, and the offer was accepted. I’m happy to publish the review because I think it’s a plugin that can provide some valuable added functionality to a WordPress-based site, and it’s competitively priced for those who are looking to add this type of functionality.
As a WordPress plugin, WPJobAds is able to be used on just about any existing WordPress theme. The plugin creates a page for the job board where all of the jobs are listed, and a separate page with the details of each job. The plugin also creates a page where employers can submit jobs to be included using a simple form. After a job is submitted through the form it will show up in the WordPress dashboard for approval. Once the job is approved it will be published and visible to visitors.
WPJobAds allows for a lot of control from the site owner/administrator. Job listings can either be free or paid, and WPJobAds even works with PayPal to make the process easier for those posting the jobs, and for you, the site owner.
The site owner can also set the categories of jobs that can be listed. For example, on my job board the categories are design, development, SEO/SMM and other. Employers then choose the appropriate category when posting a job.
Prices can easily be set and changed by the site owner. Different prices can even be applied to freelance positions as opposed to full-time, part-time, or internship positions.
The nice thing about using this plugin as opposed to the premium theme that I had originally purchased is that it integrates nicely with an existing theme. With the premium theme that I bought I would have needed to customize it to match the look of DesignM.ag, but with WPJobAds the job board immediately is part of the existing site and it is styled with the existing CSS stylesheet.
In reality, the WPJobAds plugin will create a job board that could be used out-of-the-box within minutes of uploading and activating it. In my case, I did make some customizations to the style of the job board to create the look I wanted, but it was very simple in comparison to designing a new theme.
WPJobAds includes a few widgets that can be used in your sidebar to help get some attention for jobs that are listed, as well as to encourage new submissions. Additionally, there is an option to display a random job at the end of your blog posts.
The job board also creates its own RSS feed, so there are plenty of things you can do if you want to play around with the feed. I’ve run my feed through FeedBurner so I’ll be able to offer it to visitors and keep track of how many people are subscribed. I’ve also used FeedBurner’s BuzzBoost to list recently posted jobs in the sidebar of blog posts. This should help to draw some extra attention to the listings and make it a more valuable resource for employers.
The Control Panel
The options provided by WPJobAds are easily controlled through the WordPress dashboard. Through the dashboard you can see jobs that are awaiting approval, see what has been paid and what hasn’t (if you’re charging for submissions jobs will not be published until they have been paid), add or delete categories for jobs, control the emails that are sent (more on that in a minute), and even post new jobs manually if you want to.
The options page is simple but powerful. You can set the job board description that will be shown at the top of the “post a job” page, and you can set the terms and conditions that will be shown to employers who are posting jobs. Additionally, WPJobAds sends an email to anyone who posts a job when it has been approved, which can also be customized.
Overall I’m extremely happy with WPJobAds and I think it’s a great value for website owners and bloggers who want to easily add a job board to their site. However, since this is a review I should also point out a few areas where I would like to see some changes or improvements in future releases. I’ve been in contact with Andy, the developer, a few times since getting the plugin and he has been very responsive and eager to get some feedback on ways to potentially improve WPJobAds. I’m confident that he’ll keep working to improve the product whether my suggestions are really any good or not.
(Note: before publishing this review, I emailed Andy with my suggestions, so I’m including his responses to each.)
1. Email notification of a new job submission
WPJobAds emails employers when their job is approved (you can customize emails for both free listings and paid listings) but it doesn’t email the administrator of the job board when a new listing is submitted. Ideally, I would like to receive and email letting me know that there is a job waiting for approval so I don’t have to check for it in the WP dashboard.
Response: Will be included in version 1.2 (the next release).
2. Payment without an email
If you’re charging for job postings the process goes like this:
- Employer fills out the form to submit the job
- You approve the job through the WP dashboard
- WPJobAds sends an email to the employer notifying them that the job has been approved and it includes a link for PayPal payment.
- WPJobAds and PayPal interact so that after payment the job is automatically published.
This system is pretty cool as is, bu my preference would be to allow the employer to pay for the job listing immediately after submitting the job, rather than waiting for an email. The main reason is that some emails get caught by spam filters, so it’s possible that a notification email could be missed. Second, by the time the email comes with the payment link, they may not feel like going through the process anymore.
Allowing payment before the job is approved could potentially create issues if the job is not approved, but I believe PayPal allows the option to refund money that you’ve received if you do not want to accept it.
Response: Will be done in version 1.2.
3. Reminder email at the end of 30 days
Job postings can be set for any length of time, but by default they are for 30 days. At that time the job posting will fall off of the job board. Since not all jobs will be filled within 30 days it would be nice to have an automated email that goes out around 25 days on paid listings to give the employer an opportunity to renew the listing. Taking it a step further, it would be even better if you could offer this renewal at a discounted rate, say 50% off for the second 30 days.
Response: Would need to somehow integrate with a cron job. will be considered for a later version update (would probably *not* be in 1.2).
4. Approval button higher on the page
After an employer fills out the form to submit a job, they are shown a preview of how the listing will appear. At the bottom of the page there is a button for them to click if they are satisfied with the listing, and it is not submitted until this is done. I haven’t used the plugin long enough to tell if this is really an issue or not, but my fear is that some users may not realize that they have to approve the preview in order to submit it.
With the button being at the bottom of the page it is easy to overlook. I would like to either see a button at the top of the page for approval, simply so they realize that it needs to be approved, or just a brief message at the top of the page instructing them to make the final submission from the bottom of the page.
Response: Will be done in version 1.2.
5. Clickable freelance, full-time, part-time and internship links
Each job is labeled on the job board’s front page as either being freelance, full-time, part-time or an internship. To me these labels look like they are links. It would be nice if you could click on the word “freelance” to see all of the freelance positions available. The job board does list the jobs in specific categories that you set up, but this added functionality wouldn’t hurt.
Response: Will be done in version 1.2.
6. Company name links
On the job board the company name of the employer is a link, but it just links back to the front page of the job board if no URL is entered by the employer. The URL field is optional, but all company names become a link even if no URL is submitted.
Response: Will be done in version 1.2.
None of my suggestions are make-or-break factors in my opinion, and since there are plans to take care of them in the future they are even less of an issue. After testing the job board for a while and now putting it to use on one of my own sites I’m very happy with it. As I said at the beginning of this post, there are a number of options for creating a job board, but most are either expensive or they allow very little room for flexibility. There are a few free options for adding a job board, but they will not give you nearly the control that you will have with WPJobAds, they will not allow you to offer free job listings (that’s how they make their money since the service is free), and you will have to share your revenue with them (and usually they take a pretty high percentage).
What makes WPJobAds a great option is the combination of affordability (especially if you’re charging for listings), ease of use, customization options, and no need to share revenue. In my opinion WPJobsAds is best-suited for blogs and websites that want to add a relatively small, niche-specific job board without requiring a lot of work and maintenance. For others, like myself, who are in this situation, I highly recommend purchasing a license for WPJobAds.