Building a Job Board Website using JobPress

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by Heather R. Wallace | July 2010 | Open Source WordPress

No matter how good or bad the economy might be at any given time there will always be job seekers. Every day people search online to find employment in a variety of industries. Searching the bigger job boards can be overwhelming and time-consuming because job seekers must sort though the myriad of job listings in an attempt to locate positions that match their unique skill sets. What would greatly benefit these job seekers is a fine-tuned job board that concentrates on a smaller segment of the overall job market. That's where JobPress comes in.

In this article by Heather R. Wallace, author of the book WordPress 3 Site Blueprints, we will see how with the JobPress theme, you can easily create a niche job board to serve a particular segment of job seekers.

(For more resources on WordPress, see here.)

With so many types of jobs out there, the possibilities for niche job boards are almost endless. Drawing in traffic shouldn't prove to be too difficult either because, after being populated with niche-specific job listings, your job board will be filled with a wide variety of targeted keywords. Once these job seekers arrive at your niche job board they should transition into repeat traffic since they will be able to easily peruse job listings that are appropriate to the skills that they posses. That will remove much of the hassle that job seekers suffer as they seek employment.

FoxNews and Smashing Magazine are two users of the JobPress theme who have zeroed in on a niche for their job boards. FoxNews only covers positions available within their own company while Smashing Magazine provides job listings primarily targeted toward those seeking design and programming-related jobs.

So, as you can see, opting to focus on a niche will put you and your job board in good company.

 

Building a Job Board Website using JobPress

 

 

Building a Job Board Website using JobPress

 

The previous screenshots of the FoxNews and Smashing Magazine job boards will give you some idea of just what you can do with this theme. As you can see, JobPress can be integrated into the design of an existing website so that the two blend together nicely.

In this article, you will learn how to:

  • Build a dedicated job board website
  • Make the JobPress sidebar widget-ready
  • Run JobPress alongside an existing web site

Once this project is complete, you will have succeeded in creating a site that's similar to the one shown in the following screenshot:

Building a Job Board Website using JobPress

Introducing JobPress

JobPress, which can be found at http://www.dailywp.com/jobpress-wordpresstheme/, took the inspiration for its features from several of the job boards already in existence on the Internet. As you would expect, the theme offers those building a job board site the ability to edit and customize various features using a theme-related settings screen. This one screen houses all of the settings specific to this theme, so the customization of JobPress and its features can be completed in record time.

If you're looking to earn a profit from your job board, then you have two options. You can either include advertisements in their various forms or you can charge a fee in order to post a job listing. If you would like to go with the latter option, then you can simply enter your PayPal information into the appropriate settings area and JobPress and PayPal will take care of the rest. JobPress also includes a feature whereby payment is verified between PayPal and JobPress, so that you can always be sure that the job listings that appear on your website have, in fact, been paid for.

JobPress makes the job hunt easier for your visitors by allowing them to use the FREELANCE, FULL TIME, and PART TIME tags to sort listings. These sort options are available on both the front page and within categories to make locating a suitable job as easy as possible. If job seekers want to search for a specific job, instead of browsing, then they can do that too by using the search box provided by JobPress.

JobPress also includes a feature that will alert job seekers when a listing has been online for more than 30 days. That way they will be able to see which listings are fresh and which ones are likely to have already been filled by another applicant.

Running a job board isn't just about pleasing the job seekers who come to your site looking for listings. It's also about catering to the desires of those who will be placing ads. After all, without them your job board won't contain any job listings which means that there will be nothing there to draw in visitors. The developer behind JobPress took that into consideration when designing this theme by making the job listing submission process virtually hassle-free.

Setting up and configuring JobPress

After uploading and activating the JobPress theme, a new JobPress Settings link will appear. From this screen, all of your JobPress settings can be configured. So, to begin customizing JobPress to your liking, click on JobPress Settings.

The Publishing & Payment Settings area is the first section that you will need to concentrate on during this configuration process. The Auto Publish? setting allows you to publish job listings automatically or manually. This setting is currently set to On, but you may switch it to Off if you prefer to have more control over the ads that appear on your website. The Paid Submission? setting is currently enabled. If you would like to charge a fee for placing a job listing, then this setting shouldn't be changed. Otherwise, change it to Disable to offer job listing placements for free.

Building a Job Board Website using JobPress

If you've decided to offer job listing placements for free, then proceed to the Custom Information settings area. If, you've instead opted to charge for the placement of job listings, then you will need to configure the remaining settings found in the Publishing & Payment Settings area. First, enter the email address associated with your PayPal account into the PayPal Mail textbox. In the Submission Price textbox, enter the amount that you would like to charge for standard ad placements. The last setting in this area is the Currency drop-down menu. Here you need to choose the currency associated with your area of the world.

Building a Job Board Website using JobPress

The Custom Information section of this settings screen is next and Renew Jobs is the first option that you will see. This feature is currently set to Enabled which means that job posters will be able to renew their listings if they would like to do so. This setting can be left at its default or you can, instead, set it to Disable if you would rather not provide a renewal option. It's best, however, for ease of use, if this setting remains enabled.

Building a Job Board Website using JobPress

The Apply Online option is also set to Enabled and it's probably best if this is left as is so that your job board offers the highest level of convenience to job seekers. With this setting in place visitors to your job board will be able to apply online for the jobs that they're interested in.

The Sociable setting is also currently enabled, which is ideal since this will provide your visitors with a way to share a job listing that they see on your site with someone who might be interested in applying.

Featured Job is next and, like all of the proceeding settings, it's also enabled. If you want to provide job posters with the option of upgrading from a standard listing to one that's featured, then this setting should remain enabled. If, however, you would rather not offer featured job listings on your website, then change this setting to Disable. If you opted to leave this setting enabled, then enter the price that you plan to charge for featured job listings into the Submission Featured Job Price textbox.

Building a Job Board Website using JobPress

Now, in the Items Per Page textbox, enter the number of job listings that you would like to appear on a single page.

In the Success Message text area you will find a pre-written message that's displayed on the confirmation page when a job listing is submitted. It's best if you rewrite this message to correct grammar issues and to add any additional information that you would like to provide.

Success Mail is next and this setting contains a few different options that must be addressed. First, you must choose whether you would like to leave this feature set to Enabled or, instead, set it to Disable.

If you would like to use this feature, then you will first need to heed the advice included below the drop-down menu which advises you to contact your web host before enabling this setting. When you contact your web host you will need to ask them to if the mail() function is activated because the Success Mail feature won't work if that function isn't enabled. If the mail() function isn't enabled, then you should next ask your web host to activate it on your account. If they're unable to do so, then you will have no choice other than to set Success Mail to Disable.

If you would like to use this feature, then you will first need to heed the advice included below the drop-down menu which advises you to contact your web host before enabling this setting. When you contact your web host you will need to ask them to if the mail() function is activated because the Success Mail feature won't work if that function isn't enabled. If the mail() function isn't enabled, then you should next ask your web host to activate it on your account. If they're unable to do so, then you will have no choice other than to set Success Mail to Disable.

If it was possible for your web host to enable the mail() function, and you set Success Mail to Enabled, you must next deal with the Subject textbox. The default text provided in this textbox is certainly sufficient, but you might want to add the name of your job board to the subject line. That way recipients will be able to easily identify that the message that they're receiving isn't spam. The message within the Content text area is fine as is, but you may certainly rewrite it if you like. If you do decide to create your own message, then be sure to include the tags provided by JobPress for usage in this area so that this unique information can be populated before the message is sent. The From textbox that follows should be left at its default. Now, click Save to finalize your changes.

Building a Job Board Website using JobPress

Companies submitting job listings to your site will have the ability to include their company logo along with their submission. This feature won't function properly, unless you change the permissions on the upload folder, which can be found inside the wp-content directory. So, navigate to the upload folder and then CHMOD it to 777.

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(For more resources on WordPress, see here.)

Making the sidebar widget-ready

Unfortunately, JobPress doesn't have a widget-ready sidebar. You can, however, easily make a few edits to two of the JobPress theme files in order to correct this issue. First, open up the sidebar.php file included with this theme. Once it's open, scroll to the bottom of the file and then add the following lines of code right above the final </div> tag.

<?php if ( !function_exists('dynamic_sidebar')
|| !dynamic_sidebar() ) : ?>
<?php endif; ?>

With this code placed in that area any widgets that you add will appear just below the employer login box located at the top of your sidebar. Before you can start adding widgets via the Dashboard you need to first edit the functions.php file. Open that file and then enter the following code just below the opening <php> tag.

if ( function_exists('register_sidebar') )
register_sidebar();

After saving and uploading both files, widgets will be usable on your JobPress-themed site.

If you ever update your JobPress theme to a new version, then it's likely that you will need to perform these edits again as these files will, most likely, be overwritten. Also, since widgets previously were not a factor, you may find that the styles being applied to this area aren't to your liking. If that's the case, then you will need to perform some edits to both sidebar.php and style.css in order to add widget-specific styling.

If you ever update your JobPress theme to a new version, then it's likely that you will need to perform these edits again as these files will, most likely, be overwritten. Also, since widgets previously were not a factor, you may find that the styles being applied to this area aren't to your liking. If that's the case, then you will need to perform some edits to both sidebar.php and style.css in order to add widget-specific styling.

Building a Job Board Website using JobPress

Unfortunately, widgetizing the JobPress sidebar does have a downside. That's because the add_action('admin_head', 'jobpress_style'); function, found in functions.php, conflicts with the code that you just added to that file as part of this process. As a result, the Widgets page located in the administration area, won't display properly. Instead of the various elements being aligned in a collection of rows they will, instead, appear in one long line. There isn't a known fix for this problem. It is, however, merely an inconvenience and won't hinder the usage of widgets on your site.

Adding a job listing to test the system

Before launching your job board, it's important for you to ensure that people will actually be able to post job listings and, if you're charging a fee, that they will be able to complete the payment process. To do this, you will need to post an ad yourself.

If you decided to require payment for the placement of job listings, then you will need to temporarily lower the price of a standard ad placement in order to conduct this test. In addition, if you're planning on selling featured job listings, then you will need to lower the price of that as well. That's because JobPress doesn't provide a way for you to switch over into a test mode so that you can perform this test using the PayPal Sandbox.

So, click on JobPress Settings to visit this settings screen. Once there, replace the number found in the Submission Price textbox, with a nominal fee. If Featured Job is enabled, then replace the fee found in the Submission Featured Job Price textbox with a lower amount. Now, click Save.

Navigate to the frontend of your website and then click on either the Post Your Job link or the Post a Job button. Then, work your way through the multi-page job listing submission process. When you reach the Create Account screen, be sure to create a new account, rather than logging in to your administrator account. If you're charging a fee for submitting job listings, you will be directed to PayPal where you will need to complete the payment process.

When making this payment at PayPal, you must use a funding source and an email address that isn't attached to your PayPal account.

Now, visit your job board's home page and then click on the title for the listing that you just placed. If all went well, then your fictional job listing should look similar to the one shown in the following screenshot:

Building a Job Board Website using JobPress

If anything went wrong during the testing process, then read over this article once again to ensure that all of the configurations were performed properly. If you find that your site is correctly configured, but the issue persists, then, depending upon the problem that you're experiencing, you will need to contact either JobPress or PayPal support.

Once you've finished performing this test, if you previously lowered either of the fees associated with posting a job listing on your website, you will need to return to the JobPress Settings screen and then return those fees to their original amount. Then, click Save. Next, delete the job listing that you submitted during this test. Finally, delete the user account that was created as a result of this test.

Replacing the JobPress logo with your own

To add your website's logo to your JobPress-powered site, open the style.css file located in the JobPress theme folder and look for the following lines:

.header { background: url(images/headerBg.jpg) no-repeat top left;
height:150px; }
.header h1 a { background: url(images/logo.gif) no-repeat top left; }

Once you've located that portion of code you will then need to replace it with the following code designed to point to the location of your website's logo. You will, of course, need to replace logo.gif with the filename of your website's logo. Once that's done, be sure to upload your website's logo to the image folder found within the JobPress theme directory.

.header { height:150px; }
.header h1 a { background: url(images/logo.gif) no-repeat top left;}

To fit perfectly in this space, the height of your logo must not exceed 65px.

Having saved and uploaded this edited file, your job board will now be branded with your logo.

Running JobPress alongside an existing website

It may be the case that you don't want to set up a dedicated job board but would prefer to add one to a website that you already have online. If that's the case, you will need to run JobPress alongside your existing website since it's powered by a unique theme rather than a plugin. This means that you will need separate installations of WordPress for your main website and your JobPress-powered job board.

Your first WordPress installation will need to be placed at the location where you want visitors to access your main website. This will, most likely, be at the root of your domain. After you've finished building the main website to your liking, you can then focus on the installation and configuration of JobPress. You can choose to either place this second WordPress installation in a sub-directory or you can, instead, place it on a sub-domain. The choice is yours. With these two separate websites set up you now need to make it appear as though they flow together seamlessly. The first thing that you need to do is work on editing JobPress so that your two sites are similar in appearance. As things stand, your JobPress site will look very different from your main site since it's appearance is being dictated by an entirely different theme. The easiest way to make these websites similar in appearance is to make a few edits to the JobPress theme.

Customizing the appearance of JobPress to match your main site

Open both the JobPress stylesheet and the stylesheet being used by your main site. Then, find the section of your main site's stylesheet that dictates how the background should look. Once you've located that section, copy it and then return to the JobPress stylesheet where you need to look for the following line:

body { background: url(images/bg.jpg) repeat-x center top; }

This section should be completely overwritten by the line of code that you just copied. If you're using a background image and it's being referenced using a relative path, then you will need to copy that background image into the images folder within the JobPress theme directory in order for it to display properly.

This procedure for replacing the background on your JobPress site with one of your own will only work under ideal conditions. That's because, if the CSS used on the background image that appears on your main site includes repeat-y or if the image is too tall, the content area will be obscured. If you find that you're unable to use this method to edit the background image of your JobPress site, then more in-depth changes will need to be made to the stylesheet for the JobPress theme. In that case, it would be impossible to predict the exact changes that you would need to make since there are just too many variables involved.

The last visual elements that you will need to concern yourself with are the colors used for various elements such as links. The colors used in the JobPress stylesheet will need to be changed until they match nicely with your main website. Once that's done, the visual aspects of your main website and your JobPress site should blend together nicely.

Adding seamless navigation between your websites

As things stand, visitors who arrive at your main website have no way to get to your job board while those who land on your job board will find it impossible to click through to your main website. This scenario is less than ideal, so you must now work to link these two websites together in such a way that it appears as though they're both part of one big website.

The easiest way to provide visitors to your main website with access to your job board is to place a widget somewhere on your main website that links over to your job board. As an alternative, if your main website has a navigation menu, you could also hard code a link to your job board either before or after the template tag that's responsible for creating your site's navigation menu. Depending upon the design of your theme this will either be the wp_list_categories() or the wp_nav_menu() template tag. If you do perform this edit to one of your main site's template files, then be sure to save and upload the edited template. Getting back to your main website from your job board, however, is still impossible. Your visitors are also likely to become confused because the JobPress navigation menu includes a link named Homepage, but it directs them to the front page of the JobPress site rather than the home page of your main site.

Correcting both problems is a simple matter of editing that link to the home page so that, when clicked, it will direct your visitors to your main site. Open the header.php file associated with the JobPress theme. Then, look for the following section of code.

<li class="page_item<?php if(is_home() && $_GET['poststeps']=="")
{ ?> current_page_item<?php } ?>"><a href="<?php bloginfo('url');
?>">Homepage</a></li>

To create a link to the home page of your main site, the following piece of code must be replaced:

<a href="<?php bloginfo('url'); ?>">

So, select the proceeding portion of code and replace it will the following. You will, of course, need to enter the web address of your main site in place of example.com.

<a href="http://example.com">

Having made that change, visitors will now be able to navigate from your job board to your main site. They won't, however, be able to reach any of the other sections found on your primary website. To make that possible, you need to once again edit the JobPress navigation links so that the various sections of your main site are represented as well.

In the JobPress header.php file look for the following line:

<?php $setPageExclude = get_option('setPageExclude'); wp_list_pages
("title_li=&depth=1&sort_order=DESC&exclude=$setPageExclude"); ?>

Now, suppose that you would like to add a link to the Contact Us page found on your main site. If that were the case, then you would need to add the following list item directly after the line of code shown above. Once again, the example.com URL should be replaced with a link to a page found on your primary website.

<li><a href="http://example.com/contact-us/">Contact Us</a></li>

Continue adding list items until all of the sections found on your main site have been included on the JobPress menu. Once all of these changes have been made, save and then upload header.php, so that your newly updated navigation menu will be available to your visitors.

Summary

As you can see, the installation and configuration of JobPress isn't that difficult. This project is so easy to complete that there really isn't any good reason why you shouldn't either build a dedicated job board or add one to your pre-existing website. Either way, you will be providing web users with a valuable service with very little effort on your part.

Even content generation will be practically effortless since you don't have to toil away writing material, as is the case with some websites. Instead, your content will be generated by businesses looking to hire employees.

A job board really does prove to be beneficial for everyone involved. For you, there are two obvious benefits associated with running a job board. You might use your job board to drive traffic to your main website or you could use it to generate revenue from job listing fees. Job seekers will benefit by being able to save time since your job board will provide them with job listings specifically targeted to their industry. Lastly, businesses will benefit since the job seekers visiting your website will be particularly qualified to perform the jobs that these businesses are looking to fill.

In this article, you learned how to build a job board as either a stand-alone website or as an additional element to another website. You were also shown how to improve the JobPress theme by making the sidebar widget-ready.


Further resources on this subject:


WordPress 3 Site Blueprints Ready-made plans for 9 different professional WordPress sites
Published: August 2010
eBook Price: $23.99
Book Price: $39.99
See more
Select your format and quantity:

About the Author :


Heather R. Wallace

Heather R. Wallace is an author, WordPress consultant, and web developer who has been building websites since 1997. She has developed and managed several different websites and blogs; many of which have been powered by WordPress.

While Heather manages several websites, it's at WPBlogBot.com that she offers her consultation services on a wide variety of WordPress-related tasks such as installation, customization, troubleshooting, and more.

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