By Dave McMinn
The year was 2002. A fast-growing web design company from Minnesota called Tension Design had just relocated to sunny Arizona, where opportunities were abundant. In the early 2000s, more and more companies were scrambling to catch up with the digital age, launching websites and publishing information in a place simply known as “online.” This increasing demand for web content fueled the growth of Tension Design. Averaging nearly 80 new websites a year, they were set to continue their upward trajectory. For this company from Minnesota, life was good. But Mother Nature had other plans…
In 2016, California had been hit with record rainfall – enough to end the drought conditions in certain parts of the state. Unfortunately, when massive amounts of rain mix with dry soil in a mountainous region, gravity goes to work. During the rainstorms, a huge mudslide took out the west coast data center for hundreds of companies, including Tension Design. That meant all the website backups for Tension Design’s clients were obliterated. A quarter-million dollars of work, suddenly gone. Ironically (and tragically), Tension Design had been paying a premium for the safety and security of this offsite backup solution. Eric Asleson, a Norterra resident and co-founder of Tension Design, was faced with a choice: Close down the company or rebuild it. He chose the latter. Eric and his team went to work rebuilding everything from scratch. Every web page, database, photo gallery, and video library were painstakingly recreated and delivered to their clients, as promised. The process nearly bankrupted the company. But they persevered.
Fast-forward to 2018, and Tension Design is once again on the rise, delivering not just websites, but complete digital strategies. They pride themselves on providing user experiences that “bring brands to life.” Their sites incorporate search engine optimization, data analytics, and user behavior measurement. This allows companies to see real-time results from their marketing efforts and make critical adjustments in an ever-changing marketplace. Simply put, they believe websites must be user friendly, search engine friendly, and business friendly. This approach seems to be appreciated: 96 percent of Tension Design’s business comes from repeat clients. Not bad, especially for a company that lost everything to Mother Nature less than two years ago.
When asked for advice about building or redesigning a website, here’s what Asleson had to say: “Do your research and make sure you choose the right web partner and content management system. A good web design company won’t hold all the cards in their hands post-launch. If they are a true partner, they won’t force you to go through them for simple website updates. Instead, they will train your staff to be able to update your site as needed.”
And as for their backup system? Tension Design has found a new data center, located a safe distance from mudslides, floods, or other potential natural disasters.