Small business website

Making the Most of Your Website in Today’s Marketplace

Guidance for Small Businesses from the Owner of a Web Management Company

“Helping people through the maze of starting up a new business — that might be the greatest value I bring to my clients,” says Roberta Biese, founder of RWS Consulting, a web hosting, design, development, and management company that’s been in business for 12 years. “Through years of experience, I’ve seen a lot and can come up with scenarios new businesspeople often don’t consider, things to watch out for that they may not have thought of.”

The reason Roberta is able to personally shepherd each client through the website startup phase is precisely what makes RWS stand out from an ever-growing crowd of competition in the web consulting sphere: Her business caters specifically to the small business market, around 80% of which are sole proprietorships, offering truly individualized customer service that zeroes in on highly targeted needs and goals. “A home page needs to address everything a business does, so we work one-on-one with the business owner to draw out their whole story, help them sculpt their meaning and message, collaborating with professional copywriters and SEO experts as needed. A home page also needs to look very attractive — welcoming, creative, well thought out. So we’ll bring in professional designers for any advanced graphic elements that are specific to the client’s market and audience.” All of this makes RWS not just a one-stop shop, but a partner who stays with you long after your website is up and running and fully functional.

“The largest part of our business consists of website hosting and maintenance,” Roberta shares, and the largest area of need in these service domains always has been and always be security. “You need someone you can trust to attend to the more complex tasks of keeping your site safe and secure, of routinely managing your WordPress updates and scheduling regular backups. A business also needs to keep on top of the constant digital changes in every environment — not just in website development, but keeping the computers, phones, and tablets and such up-to-date.” Especially the CRM and billing/payment systems, which should be thoroughly reviewed upon purchasing to ensure they can grow with your company.

That’s another way Roberta goes the extra mile: “In discussions with clients or prospective clients, it’s essential to talk about their future plans so that we build an online presence that can evolve with them. I also recommend talking to other professionals with extensive experience in their field — attorneys, insurers, CPAs — so that all bases are covered, all aspects of running a small business are incorporated in the business model and growth plan.”

When Roberta herself moved from print to the digital space (she was formerly a VP of research and production for a publishing company), she had to learn to acclimate to her new environment, adjust to the screen, and adapt to all-computerized processes. She believes her own history navigating that transition comforts and reassures others. “I talk to people about how to network in these challenging times of limited face-to-face contact, how to accommodate the design expectations of today’s websites, how to leverage their online marketing tools to work most advantageously for them.”

Now, her favorite part of her job is her ongoing communication with longstanding clients — hearing how they’re doing, how they handle economic downturns, and how they celebrate upswings. Both an educator for and advocate of small businesses, which will always need websites and, in turn, qualified partners to help maintain them, Roberta’s job fulfillment often comes in small packages: “Just the other day, a client asked me what SSL was. I gave him a very technical answer, and then I gave him a layman’s answer, since I thought he’d appreciate both.” His response made her day: “Very cool. Glad you are at the helm of the website.” Just where Roberta most likes to be.

You can contact Roberta yourself at 202-409-8113 or