The best niche job boards know their audience, and what to provide them. Sometimes this is sheer luck, but more often it's the result of research, and some trial and error. Maybe your success will be a little of both.
If you're just starting out or trying to learn ways to improve, you've got to think like a customer. Your niche board won't be identical to anyone else's, even among those dedicated to the same industry. But some features are more universal, and apply as much to a nursing job board as they do an IT, advertising, or construction board.
If you're ready to get started, here are 4 tips that can help you build a niche job board that shines at least as brightly as any other:
User-Friendly Can't be Overrated
Think about websites that you like, and ones that you don't. Oftentimes, the first turnoff to an otherwise great site is lack of convenience. The same applies to your niche job board. When users have to search for what they want, they won't stay happy for long.
Approach and review your job board as a customer, not the owner. Better yet, hire or ask a few people to navigate through the site, actively looking for snags so you can correct them. Just because yours is a niche board, that doesn't mean job seekers and employers can find what they need easier than with a general job board.
Check out the Competition
They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Although you probably don't want to copy another niche job board, it can pay to check out some of the most successful ones and learn something along the way. You might spot features that you hadn't thought of. NicheBoards.com recommends Topjobsites.com as a good source for finding which niche boards to review.
Conversely, you should check out niche boards that aren't faring so well. You can learn as much about what not to do from poor examples as you learn about what to take away from good ones.
Develop a Community
Niche job boards are especially suited to a social media element. A community lets users create profiles and connect with job seekers and employers in the same field. It also attracts job seekers who might be passive, which increases site traffic.
Passive job seekers benefit from a community as much as active candidates and employers. You and employers benefit because the talent pool can grow over time. Add in other benefits, such as community-focused content, and you have a reason for users to come back.
Watch out for Overselling
You need marketing, but stay wary of promising too much just to drive traffic. Guaranteeing employers access to a certain level of employee talent does nothing to increase loyalty if you can't deliver. You want to offer the best, but you'll lose long-term customers if they have more disappointment than success.
Watch what you promise to job seekers, too. Job Board Doctor explains that TheLadders was sued in a New York federal court in 2013 because they promised job seekers access to jobs that didn't exist. You have features that are worthy of promotion. Stick with those, and you'll stay in the good graces of your users.
Hardly any venture will succeed without some research and experiments. You can create a niche job board out of thin air through hard work, but it's smarter to also use some of what already works for other niche boards. You never know where the right combination exists. Examining good and bad job boards can set you on the right track.
If success is part hard work and part luck, then consider what Psychology Today has to say about it:
''By rigidly pouring all of your effort into one approach, you miss out on unexpected-but more direct-paths to success.''
When you're open to trying something new, you're leaving a path for luck to find you. Chances are you'll find your own brand of success, and then others will be learning from you.