In times of financial crisis unfortunately a lot of people are looking for a job. At the same time companies try to cut the costs related to publishing a job offer to established and expensive job boards. This situation has inspired entrepreneurs to enter the job market with targeted niche job sites and some of them have experienced good growth.
Lately WordPress has started spreading its capabilities from being the top notch blogging platform to do nearly anything else people need online e.g. WordPress magazine Themes, Q&A websites, ticket systems, WordPress portfolio Themes, WordPress CMS themes, membership sites, sales pages, WordPress e-commerce Themes, product launch sites etc. I recently found a new and very interesting theme vendor, AppThemes that focus primarily on leveraging the publishing power, ease of use and extendibility of WordPress to create new innovative web applications. I’m going to review their jobRoller application in this article but I just want to let you know that they have also created interesting applications for coupon management, offering classified ads, creating a web directory, setting up a how-to website. The idea of using the WordPress theme framework to create applications is not new, but I think AppThemes take it a bit further and create real applications that are ready to use and solve the needs users have. Compared to creating the functionality as plugins this approach has both pros and cons. It allows AppThemes to create a fully functional ready to use application, but you have to be aware that they are not build to fit into existing sites, but rather help you to set up a new site in minutes with a specific set of features ready to serve users. Lets take a look at JobRoller.
Disclosure: Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links and I will earn a commission if you purchase through those links (at no extra cost to you). I recommend that you do your own independent research before purchasing any product or service. This article is not a guideline, a recommendation or endorsement of specific products.
Once you have purchased the theme you get access to a member area where you can download the theme and where you get support and documentation on how to install and configure the theme. There is also a very active forum used to get help and talk about ideas and solutions with AppTheme and other users. I this customers get what is needed here for a premium WordPress theme and them a bit more.
The Front End
The JobRoller theme adds new features to both the Front End and the Back End (admin area) of WordPress. The page visitor see when entering the site looks like this. You can choose between 7 different clour schemes but the overall layout and structure will be the same. The main navigation consists of a Latest Jobs page and then pages for the different types of jobs your site has set up. The types used here are all set up per default when the theme is installed but this can be easily changed and more can be added. They only appear when a job is submitted having the specific type e.g. Freelance which is good programming. The featured jobs area is controlled from the seetings page in the admin area.
The theme does not support the WordPress menu feature and it does not need it I think. In the top left corner you see a small menu containing the pages created in WordPress. I have seen that JobRoller created some pages it use to show a job, to allow employers to submit a job. The registration is a four step process and it is quite unique for a WordPress form and AppTheme must have implemented the solution from bottom up. Step 1 required registration and confirmation of email.
Once logged in the employer is allowed to enter the Job Details. The page is pretty advanced with WYSIWG text fields and map integration to choose job location if needed.
Clearly this is not a blog theme, but as most websites and online applications have blogs today to publish news, drive traffic etc. this theme also have a blog page template. For just a secondary theme I think it is really looking good and completely living up to the standards for a blog. JobRoller automatically sets up the blog page for you and I think this is well done. You don’t have create your own empty page and then go deep into options pages to choose it as blog page as it is typically the case.
I also found it useful that JobRoller for other important pages provide page templates because it makes it really fast and easy to get the site set up. In the example below you see the contact page.
The JobRoller Back End
Once you log into the WordPress Admin area you will notice that JobRoller has added a Dashboard level “JobRoller” Menu and a “Jobs” menu just under Posts for managing the Jobs. The Dashboard itself gives an overview of your job site situation and earnings.
On the settings page you can configure everything related to setting up the site initially. It is preconfigured so you don’t have to learn all the possible settings up front. This is good because there are tons of stuff made configurable through the settings pages. I’m not going into too many details here but check out the admin demo on their JobRoller Information page.
It is also possible to sell job postings and the theme integrates out of the box with Paypal making it simple to set up payment processing. This integration is configured under Gateways shown below. The listing fee is simply set up by filling in the form. Further you can create Job packs allowing employers to buy multiple listing for a discount price. Order can be tracked on the Orders page.
Under Jobs admins can see all jobs listed and perform any kind of needed editing, approval etc.
Once a job is opened it is similar to editing a post or page in WordPress. JobRoller however adds a few elements which is needed to describe a job. Basically a job is made up of a title, content, metadata (location, company…) Job category and type. It is quite cool to use existing WordPress functionality and enhance it to fit the applications purpose I think. The JobRoller admin area also have pages to set up job categories, types, tags and salary.
The JobRoller theme is actually really great for setting up a job listing site or posting board using WordPress. The build in solution for selling listings to employers makes it a fast track solution for making money online while helping people looking for a job to connet with potential employers.
The same functionality and easy of use that JobRoller offers would be great to have for a theme offering freelancers to post their skills so employers could look them up (opposite scenario). I have not seen a theme / plugin for WordPress doing this but it is needed. I understand from asking questions to AppThemes that this is something they plan on adding in future releases.