WordPress as an Application Framework?
Yesterday I wrote about how I pitch using WordPress as an application framework. One of the distinctions I made was around the concept of “application type.” I said some web applications are like file cabinets. You collect data, store it, and then display it for others to see. It doesn't sound very sexy when you put it that way, but some file cabinet applications can generate a good amount of income, support your business model and even look sharp.
As you can imagine, after posting an article like yesterday's, people ask for examples, and so I thought I would give you one file cabinet example that we've all probably experienced before: the job board.
WordPress job board Requirements
Multiple Post Types
Because every job board brings recruiters/employers and prospective employees together, it makes sense to capture two kinds of data: resumes and job openings. That means you'd likely want at least two different post types (and the taxonomies that come with each).
Roles and Access Rights
Yesterday I told you that most web apps have role and right restrictions and that WordPress can do those (pretty easily). Well, in a job board app, applicants should have access to some pages and posts, while job posters should have acccess to different parts of the system.
Want to collect money for a featured post? What about a fee just to see all the openings (a closed board can work if you're creating a focused offering)? WordPress can do it, and why wouldn't you want to collect a little cash while you're doing this?
Custom Data Collection
In the end, most file cabinet apps require custom data – nuanced fields that make the app useful. Job boards are no different. You can imagine that job seeker applying, can't you? What additional questions would you like to ask them?
Everybody and their brother has a smart phone and looks at sites on them. So shouldn't your job board look good on a mobile phone? You bet.
Six WordPress Job Board Examples
So given all the above, can WordPress be used to create a job board? Absolutely. Why don't I show you six different solutions that already exist to help you create your own? Each of these is available to you for under $120 – which is a lot cheaper than asking a web developer to build you one from scratch.
WP Job Manager & Jobify – Free & $55
The very best solution available is a combination of WP Job Manager (which is free), with Jobify (which costs $55). The fact that you can do everything you'd want with these two makes it the no-brainer choice of the bunch.
Colorlabs released this solution a few years ago but recently updated it (Jan 2013) and it's looking sharp. It stands out from the others in that it actually looks like a designer was involved in the development of this theme.
If you've never checked out appthemes, you need to right away. They're creating a series of themes that function as apps. Who knows, maybe that's how they picked their name. Anyway JobRoller is their solution, and at $99 it still feels like a steal!
Another theme-based approach, Job Board is pretty easy to put to work. And while most other solutions work only with Paypal, Job Board works with multiple payment gateways.
It's one of the more expensive themes to do the job, but still much cheaper than a programmer building you a solution from scratch. Plus, JobPress comes with lifetime updates and integration with Facebook and LinkedIn.
The original plugin-based approach, WPJobBoard is a plugin that works with any theme. I've used it several times for folks creating vertical marketplaces. It's remarkably easy to set up.
The bonus free theme: Job Manager
The first time someone approached me to help them build a job board was a little over ten years ago. Back then I remember explaining what would have to go into it. I described all of the above and then quoted my time to complete it. I don't remember the quote exactly but it was several thousand dollars.
The last time I helped someone build their job board was a little over a year ago. It took one email, one link, and cost my friend less than $100. As you can tell, I reject the debated notion that WordPress can't act as an application framework. I'm not saying it's great for everything, but I can make the case pretty easily that customers prefer this result (in time and money) over a hand-made solution.
What would you like WordPress to do for you? How could it help your business? Tell me.