Today is my birthday, but I’m going to give YOU a gift — Google Voice.
For many of us who work from home, the thought of adding our personal home phone number to a website is daunting. Countless B2B solicitations, unwanted callers, and cranks that you’re not interested in hearing from are some of the problems. Right? I mean, who wants someone from the West Coast calling you on the East Coast at midnight?
You may think that you need to pay for a separate phone line to solve your problem, but au contraire, mon amis! All you have to do is open a free Google Voice account. With Google Voice, you can receive free text messages, have calls forwarded to your home or cell phone, time calls out for “Do Not Disturb” time, receive calls via Google Talk, and more.
Here’s the best part — It’s free!
You may not know this, but Google considers it important that if you’re running a business that you have a telephone number on your index page. Here’s a cool way to do it without using your home phone. You can also add a “Call me” button to your site or a blog widget, like so:
Then, when someone clicks on the image, another box opens up that looks like this:
How cool is that? You not only get your caller’s name, but you also get their phone number, and it’s on record.
Plus, you can have calls forwarded to another landline or cell phone, texted to you on your cell phone and/or sent to your email inbox. OK, hold onto your hats… You will get a transcript of the call message, too. Yep. The transcriptions aren’t 100% , if your caller doesn’t speak clearly, but they’re pretty darned good. And besides, you can usually get the gist of what the caller wants from the typed message.
Verifying numbers for Google Voice
You will have to verify your telephone numbers, but that’s simple. You’ll receive a call and all you need to do is enter a code that Google provides and you’re done.
You can make calls from Google Voice, too. You may not want to use Google Voice to make International calls because it will cost you, but any calls you make inside the U.S. are free. I’m seriously considering turning off my free long-distance plan and going with Google Voice instead. But then again, maybe not. VOIP drives me nuts sometimes with the lag between when you say something and the person on the other end hears it and then you’re talking over one another and GRRRRRR… that makes me nuts. Yeah, think I’ll stick to my landline. Google Voice probably won’t work well for teleseminars or webinars, for example. If you do those, you probably want to stick with the landline, too.
What amazes me is that not many people have taken advantage of this amazing free service. It works out well for me because I’m in a non-texting household and so am charged for individual texts we send OR receive because we use so few. When using Google Voice, however, all my texts are free.
Can’t beat any of this with a stick, right? I mean, Google gets under my skin when it comes to search sometimes, but you have to admit that they have an array of very useful free services.