WebsiteCenter.com (WebsiteCenter, Inc.) was founded, created and established by the husband and wife team of Enrique and Patricia Tan dating back to March, 1998. Here's how the story goes...
Our primary and only reason for creating and establishing a website design business is to help small and medium sized businesses with their website design needs; to promote their business online and to help them with technical support as technology changes. Having owned several small startup businesses in the past without the help of the Internet was very hard. Building websites was the fastest way we can help a business grow and prosper. However, in those days, promoting and encouraging local businesses located in the rural high desert communities of Southern California was quite challenging to say the least. Back in 1998, only a small percentage of businesses have computers much less an Internet connection. So walking in with my self-made flyer about website design ideas just kind of flew over the head and they give you this blank stare look on their face. Yahoo was the ONLY major search engine. Google was scheduled to go live on September of that year. The business owners that did know about the Internet, asked a lot of questions which I was more than happy to answer. My routine then was as soon as I land a website design deal, I will go back to my home office and pump out my best website design work to date - then hit the streets again until I practically visited every business owner in every nearby cities. If you've driven anywhere to California from Las Vegas, you would have passed the popular high desert cities of Apple Valley, Victorville, Hesperia, Phelan, Oak Hills, and Wrightwood. There's no way around it. This is where WebsiteCenter.com was born.
The move to Las Vegas, Nevada in 2000 from Oak Hills, California was actually more for family reasons than a business one. The ever growing population of Las Vegas during that time did help sway our decision. I can still remember when we said that we would try Las Vegas, Nv for one year. Yeah, right. Businesswise, it was pretty much a given; if we can maintain and grow our website design business in a sparse business population of the high desert cities, we can certainly grow our website design business in the booming and business friendly environment of Las Vegas, Nevada. Today, after 17 years in 100 degree heat, I can wholeheartedly say, we love Las Vegas!
On with the miracle story. Our story begins with the birth of our daughter, Lauren, that placed tremendous pressure on both of us to do more than just go to work 9-5 everyday earning the same amount of money every two weeks to pay the bills. At the time, my wife Trish was working as a bookeeper and I was working for Pilgrims Place in Claremont, California as the Assistant Director for Buildings and Grounds. Pilgrims Place is a 35-acre retired community for religious missionaries who has served overseas for a minimum of 20 years. Only then, you can be added on the waiting list to live at Pilgrims Place. Prior to working at jobs, we owned and operated a real estate financial company out of Walnut and Rancho Cucamonga, California. I was a licensed California Realtor and Broker at the time. After several years in the real estate business, we closed shop and went back to our 9-5 jobs. We were living on a 2-1/2 acre property next to a rural highway in Oak Hills, CA. In other words, the street in front of our house is dirt. Everything was fine but with the new addition in the family, we would definitely need something more. The 9-5 job has always been temporary in our mind. It's our break from the rat race, one might say, and in our case, from the entrepreneurial world we just came out of. My career in real estate dealing mainly in conventional mortgages for residential, commercial, construction and land acquisitions was actually my first love but after being in the field and learned more about the dog eat dog world mentality among Realtors, I fell out of love just as fast.
Before and during my real estate career, I worked as a legal secretary, paralegal and legal assistant for major law firms around the Los Angeles area. In many instances, I was in charge or had access to the company's computer network, hardware, business applications and from time to time, conducted daily backups with 7-10 layers of hard discs as big as 24" wide. My experience in computers dates all the way back to 1982 working on advanced word processing programs and softwares such as Wang OIS and NBI 2000. So when Vice President Al Gore started talking about the Information Superhighway, aka the Internet, I immediately knew the many benefits that this new medium had to offer. The Internet protocol www (commonly known as the World Wide Web) was growing in popularity. I could already imagine how websites will need to be the central part of any business in order to communicate with its customer base on a regular basis. As luck would have it or as fate would have it, we were proactive enough to have been going to local community colleges on a regular basis taking selective classes related to the Internet in general. Enough classes for me to obtain my Web Authoring Certificate. With classes completed on object oriented programming, graphic and media applications, business development including accounting and even elective non-credited small business management classes, we were in pretty good position to start the website design business model. With my Web Authoring Certification in hand, my Microsoft certifications (MCP and MCSE) in progress, and a strong partner relationships with key Internet companies of the time reselling their services - we could not be more prepared and excited about our new business venture. Our brains were like sponges absorbing everything we can learn about online technologies which consequently came quite easy for us so we were able to apply much of what we've learned almost immediately towards our website projects. Everything was much simpler and easier then.
Initially, our newly found website design business was under the name of www.HD-2000.com (remember, the year was 1997 and HD stood for high-definition or high-desert, whichever you preferred). It was obvious to us the name HD-2000.com was a short-term solution. It was our first registered domain name. It was an appropriate name that we can work with at the time. We even had business signage on our front lawn and permanent car window signs that bears the name. However, after several months into the business, we soon realized that the name will not work on a long term basis so we immediately started considering other names for the business. WebsiteCenter.com is now upon us.
The miracle part of the story is when I came up with the domain name WebsiteCenter.com. Its origin is based on my experience working at word processing centers within the engineering and legal firms in Los Angeles. From 1982 through the early part of 1990s, I worked at Word Processing Centers at various engineering and legal firms throughout Southern California. When we first tried to register the domain name WebsiteCenter.com, it stated that the domain name was already taken. Much to our dissapoinment, we let go of the idea for the time being thinking that we would need to come up with a different name. From time to time for several days, we would try other domain names but did not settle on one. About two weeks later, we tried other ideal domain names, and again, all that we liked were already taken. A hunch, an inkling or a nudge made us try the domain name WebsiteCenter.com again and miraculously, it was AVAILABLE for immediate registration! We grabbed it, of course. We got the .com and the .net but the .org was already registered by someone in France. Now, why would we consider this to be a miracle? Well, if you know the rules of domain name registration, you will surely know the reason why. Domain names have a waiting period of 40-days from the date of expiration! Only when the 40-day waiting period has passed, can the domain name be available for registration. I clearly remembered the domain name still being active during my initial research - which was, again, no longer than two weeks before. Why would someone register the domain name only to let it go one year later? Why would the domain name be available for registration when it should have been on its 40-day waiting period? Getting the domain name was meant to be. We believe in this mirable because we've always known that we were meant to do this - to be the best website design company for local and worldwide businesses. It's our fate, our destiny.
I remember clearly my emotional and mental state at the time, that something urged me to try the domain name again even though I knew that it was no longer available. As if an inner voice was calling to me urging me to try again; a higher calling; it's that imaginary person you talk to when you're talking to yourself - the one you know is good and righteous, the one who always give you the good or right advise. My wife and I believe strongly that what happened was nothing short of a miracle because we knew even then that it is all part of GOD's divine plan for us to start this website design business; that this is GOD's divine guidance in the works. Everyone, at one point in their life, will wonder why they are here on earth; what their purpose in life is supposed to be. With us, we already KNOW the answer to that question: To service the local businesses with their website design needs; to help grow their online business to its full potential; and to give back to our local community; to help those who has entrepreneurial dreams of doing business online; to build a better future for our family; and to help humanity as a whole however way we can.
WebsiteCenter.com has come a long way since then. Our small website design company has grown over the years with clients located all over the United States and the world. WebsiteCenter.com website design services has also expanded to various other aspects of website design which includes ecommerce solutions, web hosting services, website management support, online marketing campaigns (search engine optimization and search engine marketing), merchant services, HTML training, custom database design, network services, custom programming, including audio-video productions. We have partnered with the best companies in the industry, including Microsoft®, Google®, Bing®, Yahoo®, Adobe®, GoDaddy®, Network Solutions® and more. We have been fortunate to have acquired the friendship and loyalty of the best staff any business can ever have.
It has been over 18-years and counting since HD-2000 and WebsiteCenter.com was born. It's not hard to see what tomorrow has in store for us but like anything new in this world, there's always a hint of uncertainty, which makes life more interesting, challenging and more fun. But there is one thing that we can be sure of, your story and our story will continue to be what we all dream it to be.
Thank you for your visit and support throughout the years.
Best wishes, always.