Ruud Questions: Joanna Lord

by Ruud Hein January 15th, 2010 

A smart PPC player who came up with an idea for an improved job search engine, stepped up, executed it and got $100,000 funding for it. World: caffeine-fueled "I'm shooting for the stars" rocket Joanna Lord " Joanna the world.

You're co-founder of YourJobStop which has received investment from so-called angel investors.

For those who (try to) make their money online blogging, selling affiliate stuff, having some Adsense — how does that work? You just come up with a really cool idea, walk up to someone with money and go "so, how about you give me 100 grand, no questions asked?"

Joanna LordYup, thats about it.

Okay maybe there is a bit more to it than that. I think you did hit some important pieces though"the cool idea part is clutch. You need to be embarking on something that has a few really important factors"timeliness, demand, innovation. People think investors are going around looking for the next Twitter, but most investors are smarter than that. They are simply looking for solid investmentswhich yes"usually includes a cool idea.

With that one other thing that usually seals the deal with an investor is an overwhelming sense of passion felt from the founders. A start-up is based on passion. No way to fake it, no way around it, without it, there is seriously NO WAY you will succeed. Thats how it worksget people obsessed with a cool idea and investors will bite

YourJobStop is essentially a meta search engine, scanning other job boards. As you see an opportunity here, does that mean the other sites have left SEO laying on the table that you're able to pick up on?

Joanna LordYourJobStop has two things going for it that other job boards dont.

One"we really do understand the intersection of SEO & PPC better than some of the others. We have some cool in-house tools helping us expand our PPC buys to supplement some of the more competitive SEO categories. Other job boards are just starting to expect a return on PPC buys, where as with us its always been the intention of every buy.

Secondly, our content really focuses on helping job seekers gain an advantage using social media channels. For example, instead of telling you (for the millionth time) how to write a resume, we show you how to integrate your social network links into that resume to strengthen it.

YourJobStop is the only job board out there focusing on personal branding as a job search tool. We believe the future of job search will move online, and we want to prepare the next generation with the tools to understand the landscape and navigate it successfully.

Now that you're running a meta search engine, do you view web spam and search engine optimization differently or are all results 100% relevant all the time?

Joanna LordYou know thats a funny question because some people would see our search approach as spammy in itself. My rebuttal: I think there will always be a place for the comparison shopper.

Some people turn to the web for the most relevant and most specific answer they can find, while others are wandering instead of searching. We really cater to those looking for options rather than opportunities per say. This is a very different approach to the job search process, but with the current job landscape and where it is moving, I think this approach has a definite demand.

So yes, running this site has made me revisit my views on spam. Not because I think there should be more of it, but because I think there are different search approaches that shouldnt be ignored simply because a search engine has a best practice list.

After Google, what's your largest traffic driver?

Joanna LordYahoo is still rocking some heavy traffic for us.

Most of my fellow PPC-lovers would agree that Yahoo users still convert strongly, and although they will never have the reach of Google, the traffic we do find there definitely makes us money.

You have $5000 to spend on your site for the next 30 days. Social media or outsourced link building?

Joanna LordHa, you would ask me that.

Im going to get drilled for this but social media. I think any money or time I invest in social media returns in a variety of ways"driving traffic, building relationships, brand awareness, media attention, etc.

I would focus on building out community attention through a kickass giveaway that had a positive spin I could integrate into a PR initiative, hoping for optimal viral traffic-driving success.

Picture this: you have a daughter … she's 18 … and today is your last and only chance to impress on her 3 key lessons for earning a living online. This is your chance to help ensure she won't fail. What will you be telling her?

Joanna LordFirst off, my 18-year old daughter better be asking me about boys or fashion rather than making money online. Judge away but part of me wishes I had waited a few years before jumping into this online craziness, because as we all know"once you are inyou are always in. Id tell her to go backpack around the country for a while, then we could talk online money.

BUT, if I had to give her 3 key lessons on how to earn a living online it would be this"

1. Write down the things that you enjoy and do those the most. If its writing"blog, if its reading"research, if its helping others"join forums. Make sure the piece you do online answers something greater than the activity itself.

2. Seek out others that share your passion. Search every community, every network, anywhere you can think of and find the people that love what you do. Ask them questions, genuinely build those relationships out, and appreciate those that have been doing this long before you.

3. Once you have done all that, ask yourself"how I can make money off this? Most business people think you need to make money first, and then have fun. Thats ass-backwards. Online the key is to do what you love with people that love it as much as you"then monetize.

BottomlineIf you love something enough"you will find a way to make a living out of it. Thats the truth.

What was your first computer experience?

Joanna LordYou mean other than the most amazing day of my life? No seriously, when I was 14 my parents bought a computer for the family. I remember watching them set it up in the dining room (since back then there was one per house) and I remember playing Where in the U.S.A. is Carmen Sandiego? I would play for hours, start after dinner and just stay up long after everyone else went to bed.

I think both my insomnia and my need to have online adventures can be traced back to that first experience. J

Coffee, tea or diet coke?

Joanna LordDrop the tea, make it a second cup of coffee and you just described my three meals of the day. #caffeineheaven

Ruud Hein

My paid passion at Search Engine People sees me applying my passions and knowledge to a wide array of problems, ones I usually experience as challenges. People who know me know I love coffee.

Ruud Hein

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2 Responses to “Ruud Questions: Joanna Lord”

  1. [...] Ruud Questions: Joanna Lord, Search Engine People [...]

  2. La Digue says:

    very interesting interview with someone who's clearly successful. Has been a really interesting read.