Crexendo Launches Website Contest for University Students

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Web marketing provider Crexendo is giving real-world experience to college students in the form of a website contest. Read how some of these projects are turning into careers.

This contest allows students with an entrepreneurial bent to create an online business without the large amounts of capital that other types of business require.

With so many people going straight to the Internet to find what they need, it’s more important than ever for companies, practices, and other organizations to have websites that rank high in search results. In an effort to help college students understand this reality and teach them how to create and implement effective Internet marketing strategies, Crexendo, a premier Web marketing company, is holding a website competition at Brigham Young University (BYU). Beginning February 3 Crexendo Business Solutions, headquartered in Tempe, Arizona, will provide its online marketing tools free to BYU students who are entered in the competition. Each contestant gets free web hosting for their site, access to the Crexendo content management system (CMS), and SEO training; all the necessities for building and marketing a live e-commerce website.

Crexendo President Clint Sanderson said, “This is a great way for college students to get real-world experience in entrepreneurship, Web marketing, and Web design. Each contestant has access to everything he or she needs to build, run, and market a working e-commerce website.”

Students plan and build a website promoting a real-life product or service, and then use the website and SEO training—including link-building techniques—they’ll get from Crexendo to draw visitors to their site. The training is part of the contest and free of charge.

“Technology is a fundamental aspect of conducting business in today’s society, and as long as that is the case there is a vital need to help students understand how they can leverage it for their benefit. Those who understand the foundational principles behind online business and are able to network with the movers and shakers in the field will have a significant advantage over those who do not,” said Jeff Brown, Program Director at Rollins Center for Entrepreneurship & Technology at BYU.

Prize money pay-outs will be $10,000 for first place; $5,000 for second place; $1,500 for third place; and six runners up at $250 each. Judges from Crexendo and BYU will evaluate websites on Appearance (15%), Mechanics (35%), Marketing (25%), Overall Idea (25%), plus a bonus category called Traction, wherein contestants can earn up to 10% extra points for actual leads or sales their websites generate.

This marks the second time Crexendo has held this competition at BYU. Crexendo is repeating the contest at BYU because of the overwhelming positive response it received the first time. Some of the websites BYU students built for last year’s competition are still operating. Since then, Crexendo has taken the competition to California State University-Fullerton and the University of Utah. Further expansion is planned in the future for Crexendo’s University Program (UP), including a contest at Biola University and possibly even making the competition intercollegiate.

In last year’s Crexendo website competition at BYU, 72 teams competed. Last year’s first place winners had 60,000 downloads of their product by the fall and had signed on as an early partner in the Adobe Melrose project, enabling them to sell their application as part of an Adobe online storefront. One of the other winners is now employed at Crexendo.

Crexendo instructor and VP of Web Marketing Parker Garlitz said, “This contest allows students with an entrepreneurial bent to create a website without the large amounts of capital that other types of business require. With this contest, we hope to introduce college students to the exciting world of Web marketing very early in their careers. That’s important because Web marketing skills are something students can use no matter what career they pursue.”

This year’s competition kicks off on February 3 and students can register online at http://up.crexendo.com. People who aren’t students at BYU are also welcome to participate provided they are referred by a BYU faculty member.

Crexendo is a technology company that serves small- and medium-sized businesses, and specializes in Web marketing services and hosted business telephone services. The Web marketing services Crexendo provides include link-building and other SEO, paid search management, social media management, conversion rate optimization (CRO), and more.

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Dominic Bria
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