Today, I'd like to use this opportunity to take a look back and discuss this "special" year, 2020, with you. I'm Federico Ranfagni, CEO and co-founder of Incomedia.
I think we can all agree that this has been a September like no other. We're trying to pick up what we left after the virus shut so much life down, but getting back to normal isn't easy. In fact, it's a challenge. A challenge we must be ready to face, with a positive, constructive spirit.
Personally, whenever I have to tackle a very difficult challenge and I feel like I need a bit more confidence in order to succeed, I use a simple "trick": I stop and think about all the milestones I've passed on the road that led me to this moment, and ask myself, "If I made it this far, why wouldn't I take one more step forward?"
Basically, looking back to the past, helps me gain the momentum I need to face the future. That's what I'd like to do right now: look back at the important moments of this strange, unpredictable 2020 to face the coming months with renewed optimism.
So, what has Incomedia done since January?
First, we continued to work, and this was important:
- for you, who have always been able to count on our support;
- for us, since it allowed us to keep developing our projects.
Of course, we did this - and for the most part, continue to do so - remotely, while working from home. Our meetings at the office have been replaced with chats and online meetings. Although we miss our conversations by the coffee machine, work hasn't stopped. In fact, it's easier for those of us with children to manage our family responsibilities.
We'll assess the situation as we move forward: we have large, airy office spaces which we can safely return to. We'll find a solution, balancing in-office and remote work to meet everyone's needs.
Throughout the months of the lockdown, as Italians stepped out onto their balconies to sing together and feel less alone, we took part in the Digital Solidarity Initiative promoted by the Italian Ministry for Technological Innovation and Digitalization. The project goal was to alleviate the impact of the restrictions put into place to combat the spread of the coronavirus, by providing digital services to businesses and individuals. We contributed 200 free WebSite X5 licenses, and we're certain that they gave many small businesses an important boost during this difficult period.
We were also selected as VISA partners as part of a project launched to support small, local business and SMEs, dealing with aspects of digitalization: in fact, WebSite X5 is part of a toolkit of digital services and tools which is offered through a special platform.
Like many of our fellow Italians who made tangible contributions to help our hospitals and health workers in the midst of the crisis, we took local action in support of the Ivrea hospital.
Suddenly, many of us found ourselves confined at home with plenty of free time to fill. Between cooking, streaming shows, and exercising on the living room floor, we made the best of it. Many of you decided to be proactive and to invest your new-found time into creating, or overhauling, your professional websites, because you correctly surmised that solidifying your online presence could help you get started again.
We were at your side with all the support you needed. We improved our technical support response times, strengthening our e-mail and chat services. We expanded our software Guide: today, it includes over 200 articles, available in English and Italian, as well as, more recently, German. Finally, we organized a number of free webinars on various topics (only in Italian, for now). Your responses were always very positive.
Here at Incomedia, we're all firmly convinced that the Web is key: a good website, complete with an online store and potentially accompanied by a blog, can in fact be the best ally for any store, a restaurant, SME, or artisan faced with re-launching their business during complicated times like these.
That's why we've never stopped developing WebSite X5: so that we can always provide you with the most powerful software for creating the website your business needs, by yourself and on a budget.
We put particular focus on the e-commerce features, in response to the online shopping boom that resulted from the pandemic's impact on shopping habits. We're very proud to soon integrate the PayPal Commerce Platform, a new solution that offers 2 important advantages: first, it allows users to manage all the most popular payment methods, including local options, from a single account; second, it guarantees truly competitive fees for credit card payments. What's more, we also have new updates in the works for online stores. I won't say any more right now, but we're sure that you'll appreciate them very much.
Of course, we also worked on other things: we're glad that you enjoyed the collaboration with Depositphotos launched in March, and that you like the photos you can now add into your projects using the integrated image library.
We also implemented Structured Data and optimized SEO features, because once you create a website, you need to make sure people can find it, which means it needs to be "readable" for Google.
In addition to all these features (listed in the Updates page), we also added new Templates and Optional Objects for WebSite X5. Here, we also strove to provide stores and SMEs with tools they could implement right away. To do so, we created professional, comprehensive, and easy-to-customize templates like Jim Smartfit, Crafty Gift, and BakeNCake. That's also why we developed Objects like the one that allows you to integrate Reservio, an excellent service for managing appointments online.
The last months haven't been easy: 2020 has certainly been "special" and "unpredictable", and not in a good way. Despite everything, the Incomedia team stuck together and was able to cope with this crisis: for which I credit every member of my staff, I'm very proud of all that we've achieved so far.
We are moving forward confidently and we're not lacking in ideas or enthusiasm, either. We hope you will continue to accompany us on this journey for a long time: it's going to be fun!