Graduate Recruitment Site

March 18, 2010 Steve

Santiago runs a resource site aimed at fresh graduates to help them through their transition from Pot Noodle eating Academia to finding their first job in the marketplace. “Created by Grads for Grads”, Santiago asks how he can improve the readership of, and any ideas for monetisation.

“Hi Affiliate Doctors.

I’m having problems with my site I have slowly been improving my readership (but this still needs work). However with the visitors that I do get on my site, I’m not receiving any income through adsense or my other affiliate widget. No clicks at all.

Can you have a look at my website and give some tips on improving readership, SEO and conversion? I have considered adding a shop to the site.




Hi Santiago.

It’s an interesting niche you are operating in. I’m actually graduating (fingers crossed) in July, so in theory I’m your target market! I’ve broken down my response into the three main areas you’ve asked for help on – Readership, SEO and Conversion.


Your site is in a particularly good niche in that it welcomes repeat visits; if a graduate visits your site and likes what they see, then there’s a good chance they’d also be interested in the content you publish in the future. You therefore have to make it very easy for them to find out about your future posts. At the moment I don’t think you are doing enough to encourage repeat visits. I’d suggest the following:

Twitter – If you don’t have a Twitter account, get signed up! @FreshGrad appears to be taken, but @FreshGradUK or similar would do fine. When used correctly, Twitter can be an excellent tool for identifying and communicating with potential visitors.  Use the Twitter search tool to find people who have recently graduated, or who are about to graduate. Just doing a search for tweeters mentioning “graduation” in July is bound to provide you with a huge list of potential visitors. Think outside the box about how you can get them onto your site and more importantly… telling their friends about your site. It would also be wise to include a feed of your tweets on your site and a big fat “Follow Me” button, so that all visitors to your site cannot leave your site without knowing you’re on Twitter.

Facebook – Create a Facebook fan page. It’s simple, free and effective if done correctly. To get it off the ground, you’re going to have ask as many of your graduate friends as you can to become a fan. Get your grovelling hat on.

Newsletter – One of the most simple and effective ways to get visitors back onto your site is to email them regularly to let them know what’s going on. Make it very easy for your visitors to subscribe:

– Add a form to your sidebar
– Add a form at the end of every post
– Add a checkbox to allow those who comment on your blog to subscribe

There are many free solutions out there. Off the top of my head MailChimp and CampaignMonitor are worth a look.

RSS Feed – At the moment you have a “Blog Feed” link on your nav bar. I personally feel that the majority of internet users haven’t got a clue what a blog feed actually is. On top of that, I would argue that the only ones who do know what a blog feed is know what the RSS logo signifies, so I’d scrap that from your menu and add a nice RSS logo to the header or nav bar of your site, possibly along with a Facebook and Twitter logo.  There are some nice social media icons available at Web Designer Ledger. This will tidy up the site a little but will still allow those looking for your RSS feed an easy way to find it.

Members – I see you have an option for the user to “Register”. To me it’s not apparently obvious why I would benefit from registering and therefore I wouldn’t spend time filling out the form. A strong member base adds value to a website, so it’s a great idea, however you need to have a reason for them to register. If you do currently have a good reason for a user to register, let them know it!


Analysing your site on the Yahoo Site Explorer I can see you have a very small number of incoming links. Think of each link to your site as a vote, the more votes you receive, the higher up the rankings your site will go. Your site can be optimised perfectly, but if you don’t receive incoming links you may never rank well enough to receive any decent amounts traffic. So, get cracking looking for some relevant links to your site.

Focussing on the on-site SEO of FreshGrad, I’d recommend changing the following:

Title Tags – At the moment, your title tags are not doing you any favours. Let’s take your Job Boards page; at the time of writing your page title is “Jobs Board”. Use your page titles to tell both Google and your user exactly what the page is about. Off the top of my head a more effective title would be something along the lines of “Graduate Recruitment Jobs Board – Find your perfect graduate job today”. This new title has the keywords “Graduate Recruitment” and “Graduate Job” included in it, which already is more relevant than “Jobs Board”. I would recommend sitting down and brainstorming for each page of your site to write relevant “juicy” titles. I can see that you have the All In One SEO Pack installed already, so it is very easy for you to write bespoke titles for each page of the site. In case you are unfamiliar with the Google Keyword Tool, it is a great tool for getting an idea of which keywords are worth targeting.

Heading Tags – Although heading tags don’t provide a great deal of weighting, every little helps. At the moment your H1 tag for your homepage is “”. I would recommend changing this to incorporate your main keyword. This also goes for your H2 and H3 tags.

Content – I’m sure you’ll have heard this time and time again – “Content is King”. Well it’s true, the more content you add, the more Google will love you. Adding a post every few weeks won’t get you on Google’s Xmas card list. Add a few posts a day and you’ll get invited round for Christmas dinner! At the time of writing, you’ve not added a post to the site in over 3 months, this would immediately deter me from your site upon hitting your homepage. Keep adding fresh, relevant content and you’ll find your traffic gets a boost from the long-tail keywords you’ll find yourself ranking for.

I could go on for hours about various on-site changes that will improve your rankings and therefore traffic, but so as not to bore you all to death, here’s an excellent post from SEOmoz detailing the various ranking factors you should be aware of.


I think the reason you’ve had no clicks thus far is because your affiliate widgets are not necessarily as relevant as they could be. Put yourself in the mind of one of your visitors. You are searching for a graduate recruitment opportunity and you find yourself on Now, what banner are you more likely to click; a banner about finding graduate jobs online or a banner about books on Amazon? Personally, I would be more likely to click on a banner about jobs than books because that’s the state of mind I am in. After all I am searching for graduate job opportunities. Therefore, I’d remove all of the Amazon widgets and focus on promoting recruitment opportunities. I can see that you currently have a couple of WorkCircle widgets. I’ve never heard of WorkCircle and I feel that having a recognised brand on your site would help your conversion. Having conducted a quick search, I believe the (a well known brand that advertises regularly on TV) program on Affiliate Window could do very well for you. It pays £2.50 for each “Job Seeker that successfully uploads a completed and valid CV”. Focus on diverting your traffic through to Monster and you could see a handsome return each month.

Finally, utilise your white space. You’ve got a juicy 468×60 banner space available on the right hand side of your header, a perfect place for a very eye catching banner.

Please note: Monster is the first program I came across that is worth promoting, I’m sure there are many more available!


Hi, Santiago, how are you?

Well, it’s sad to see it looks like you’ve given up on the site (at the time of writing, the last update to your site was 21st October). Nevertheless, I think there is something you could do with this site, and you may still be able to use it to make some money.

The main issue is that your niche is very broad, you’ve tried to write content to address that whole broad niche, and you just don’t have the time or resources to fill it.

Here’s what I might do before throwing in the towel:

TIP ONE: Ditch most of the ads

There are too many ads, most in the wrong places. There are currently 5 ads on the homepage, probably getting zero clicks each. That won’t get you many links and probably isn’t getting you any sales anyway.

TIP TWO: Flip your content around

Your strategy seems to have been to write any content you could that a graduate may read. Instead, I’d only create content that meets 2 criteria:

1) Articles a graduate would actively search for.
2) Articles that are related to products/services a graduate would buy.

For example, your latest 3 posts are:

• “Speculative Applications – Successful Email Tips”
• “Symantec hires using Facebook”
• “Top Employers Optimistic for 2010″

I doubt any of those will get much search traffic and, if they do, there’s no indication that those visitors will buy. Instead I’d concentrate on articles like these:

• “Graduate Accountancy Jobs: 5 Books To Get You There” (amazon links)
• “Graduate Loans: Everything You Ever Wanted To Know” (affiliate links & adsense)
• “Graduate MBAs: Top 50 MBA Schools” (adsense)

ie. look for products & services that a graduate would buy/search for; Turn that into content; Monetise the content with tighter ads.

(as a side-note, I’d avoid putting any dates on those articles – write them so that they’ll be relevant forever and don’t put a date on them).


If you do manage to turn the site around, this would be a great site to build an email list off the back of. If you could manage to bring in 1,000 visitors a day and turn 5% of them into email subscribers, you’d have a list of about 13,000 new graduate email addresses within a year.

Graduates appeal to many different type of advertisers and being able to talk to them, rather than relying on them coming to your site, could be really useful.

I hope something in there helps.



Hi Santiago.

You seem to have some decent content on the site so far and it sounds like you’re getting at least some level of traffic. The main thing I think that would work well would be to lose the amazon ads down the side and maybe adsense too and instead focus on working affiliate text links to relevant products into your articles. This may be tricky given the subject matter of the blog but I’m sure there’s some relevant products you can push.

Editor’s Note

Hi Santiago.

Thanks again for sending in your site for review.  I see you’re using Wordpress at the moment (great choice), but I would seriously think about ditching the theme for something a lot smarter. There are oodles of professionally designed themes out there for a site like yours which ultimately needs to look the part.  We’re not talking a lot of money, in fact, you can pick up lots of decent themes for free.

Another key point is that I’m guessing you put the site together whilst at Uni (or shortly afterwards?), and if that’s the case, then it could pose a potential problem: unless you’re very interested and maintain awareness of the graduate recruitment scene, within about a year to two years tops, you are likely to lose interest in keeping it up-to-date with fresh, relevant content.  As Mark and Dan pointed out, it’s already been a while since you last updated the site. Why not have a think about how you can tap into some of the Universities and see if you can recruit some of the final year students/recent graduates to run some case studies etc..  Hope this helps and good luck with the site.

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