hackATL – The Largest Southeast Hackathon

This weekend, over 800 college and graduate students will come together for hackATL and build a complete business in 48 hours. Groups of students conceptualize a project on Friday night and then present the entire proposition on Saturday. The winner is connected with mentors and venture capitalists after just 48 hours.

This competition is a fascinating condensed lesson in project management. Participants need to build a team with complete strangers, convince them that their idea will work, develop the technology, identify their target audience, put together a marketing plan — and if your head was not already spinning — pitch the whole thing to a room filled with REAL investors.

HackATL is hosted by Emory Entrepreneurship and Venture Management, a community of innovators dedicated to finding faster connections between talent, ideas and capital. EEVM President, Jeff Meng, says, “HackATL is a really interesting experience. Our goal with HackATL is to kickstart entrepreneurship and we’ve seen some fascinating technology. There were hackathons in other parts of the country, but nothing here in Atlanta. We want to build this community between innovators.”

HackATL is in its second year, doubling in this year’s participants. Key speakers include Sanjay Park, the organizer of Startup Riot, Natalia Livingston, an actress from General Hospital, the founders of Yik Yak, Emory student Dominique Barfield, who founded and sold Brotips, and the CEO of Cinnabon.

You can still register for hackATL, which is November 7-9.

Expectations for a Website Redesign


Website Redesign

Website Redesign

What to Expect from a Website Redesign

Everything you read about increasing your customer base mentions content marketing, responsive website design, social media strategies and optimizing the mobile user’s experience. Your eyes glaze over like the donuts you sell, even though your business partner says you need an online marketing strategy.

You don’t need a website redesign. Aren’t the lifelike photos of your decadent dozen enough “content” for your website? The hot, gooey donuts loaded with frosting and oozing fillings of chocolate, hazelnut and caramel sell themselves.

Well, except for when customers want the caramel-filled, red velvet donuts that look so yummy on the page but you stopped making.  Or when you hear about someone who wanted to buy your donuts but it took so long for your “about us” page to load on their smartphone that instead of waiting for your address they found another nearby donut place. It’s not as tasty as yours, but it’s easier to find.

And so you finally agree to a website redesign. What should you expect?

Current Content

Redesigning your website includes updating the content. When your products or offerings change, so should your website. Now is the time to update the presentation of your information–your content must be engaging and in a format viewers are used to seeing across the web. For example, in addition to your mouth-watering photos, add an explainer video showing how your donuts are equally delicious at 2am on Saturday and 8am on Monday. Include a menu and the food review naming your donuts the best in town, or share a secret recipe with people who join your email list.

Ease of use on any device

Your website needs to load quickly on tablets, phones, computers and whatever the next new device is. Viewers need to fully experience your site no matter what device they use. Responsive design is no longer the way of the future—it’s what your website needs today.

Positive representation of your brand

When potential customers visit your website, everything they see and hear should be consistent with your business image. They should quickly grasp what you offer and why they should buy from you. If they’re not impressed in ten seconds, you may have lost them for good.

Achievement of your business goals

You have a website for a reason. Maybe it’s to let customers know where you are and what you sell. Maybe you want to expand your email list or ensure that people looking for plain donuts don’t waste their time visiting your shop because your most boring donut has two toppings and a filling.

A successful website redesign includes a review of your business goals for the site. Just as the look and content of the site must be consistent with your brand, the design must be consistent with your business goals.

Benefits of A/B Testing for Your Website

Benefits of A/B Testing for Your Website

Benefits of A/B Testing for Your Website

A/B Testing is the secret ingredient of successful websites. You may be thinking, “A/B testing is no secret–even presidential campaigns use it.”

The secret about A/B testing is that while “everybody” talks about it, most businesses don’t do it. This means that using A/B testing on your website gives you an advantage over your competitors.

A/B testing, also called split testing, studies customer behavior by testing hypotheses about how website visitors react to different versions of website content. For example, are potential customers more likely to click on a button that says “buy now for 20% off” or on a button that says “order now for free shipping”?

Results of A/B Testing

Numerous case studies show that when companies modify content based on A/B testing results, they experience

  • Reduced bounce rates
  • Increased conversion rates
  • Higher conversion value
  • More sales

Benefits of A/B Testing:

  • Improved content

The process of A/B testing leads to better website content because you must discuss which content is valuable and why. As you generate the variables to be tested, you create a list of potential content improvements.

  • More profitable companies

A/B testing can cause organizational shifts that increase profits. Organizations using A/B testing value data over opinions. Resources are spent on implementation, not debate. These companies are nimble–they quickly adapt to changes in the marketplace and changes in data. Decisions are made quickly and mid-course adjustments are expected.

  • Lower Risks

A/B testing reduces risks inherent in big decisions like pricing and strategy. Testing customer behavior before making decisions increases the likelihood of success. A/B testing helps companies target their resources for maximum results, increasing the ROI, whether the return on investment is defined in short-term success or long-term customer loyalty.

Why A/B Testing Works

A/B testing lets you see which content causes visitors to

  • Spend more time on your site
  • Click through to additional pages
  • Sign up for more information
  • Make purchases

A/B testing for websites lets you see which versions of content cause your target audience to take the actions you want them to take. If your goal is to have a visitor join your mailing list, you can test different call to action designs to see which one leads to the most sign-ups. Instead of trying to predict what visitors might want or do, you test your theories. You see what website users actually do when presented with different options.