05 Oct How to Set Up a Free Google Voice Phone Number
The biggest reason someone should consider setting up a virtual number is so that you can differentiate personal calls from business ones. When you use your personal number for your business, you never know if it’s a potential customer calling or your buddy from High School wanting to hang out. Having a dedicated number for your business makes you more professional and gives you the opportunity to answer business calls in a professional and prepared manner. If you need a FREE, virtual phone number for your business or website, Google Voice is a good option for you. In this guide, I’ll show you how to set up an account then discuss the good, the bad and the ugly aspects of this particular service.
What is Google Voice?
Google Voice is a virtual phone service that provides call forwarding, voicemail, voice calls and text messaging. You may have already guessed, this is a service owned by Google. When you sign up for Google Voice you’ll be provided with a “smart phone number.” Your smart number is a phone number that will work on your smartphone or on the web so you can send and receive calls from anywhere. You can forward calls to any device and have spam calls silently blocked. With Google Voice, you can decide who can reach you, when, and where.
How to Set Up an Account
Creating an account is super easy, but please know that a GMAIL account is required.
STEP 1 – Visit the Appropriate Sign-Up Page
Make sure you are logged into your GMAIL account. Make sure you’re logged into the GMAIL account you would like to receive voicemail notifications and other related messages. Next, navigate to the Google Voice website here – https://voice.google.com/u/0/signup. This link will help you setup a personal account which is free. You can setup a business account by clicking here, but these accounts start at $10 per user, per month. Click “continue” on the screen when prompted.
STEP 2 – Select Your Google Voice Number
Select a Googe Voice number by entering your city or area code. A list of available numbers will be displayed. Choose the one that you want for your business. Click here for a screenshot.
STEP 3 – Verify and Link Your Existing Number
Next, you will be asked to verify your existing phone number. Note: inbound calls to your new Google Voice number will be forwarded to this (existing) number that you input. The existing number that you input will receive a text with a 6-digit code, so make sure it’s a number that you have access to and that can receive text messages. I recommend using your cellphone or mobile number. Once you use the code you receive via text message to verify your number, your number will be linked to your account. Going forward, your existing number will ring when someone calls your Google Voice number.
Your new virtual number will be displayed in a message that reads: “(702) 123-4567 is all yours,” for example. Click “Finish” on the screen when prompted and you will be taken to your Google Voice dashboard. Click here for a screenshot.
Your Google Voice Dashboard
Your setup is now complete and you will be redirected to your Google Voice dashboard. From your dashboard, you’ll be able to make phone calls from your new virtual number (your virtual number will be displayed on the recipient’s caller ID). On the main menu on the left side of your screen, you’ll see options for “Calls” (call history), “Messages” (text messages), “Voicemail”, and more. On the right, you’ll see call suggestions based on your call history or contact list as well as a keypad to make new calls. Also on the right-hand side, you’ll see an icon of a gear which is your “Settings”. Take a look around. In your settings, you can change your number, update or change your linked number, record a professional greeting, and more.
You can use Google Voice via their web application by visiting voice.google.com from any web browser or by downloading their Chrome extension for your browser. Download their mobile app to send and receive calls using your virtual number from your mobile device: Apple Store | Google Play
The best part about Google Voice (personal) is that it’s 100% free. While there are plenty of paid options for virtual phone numbers, unless you’re receiving a ton of calls on a regular basis, save the money and take advantage of this free service.
The Bad & The Ugly
There aren’t too many things I don’t like about this service except for the lack of “bells and whistles” you would find in a paid service.
Your business or website needs a phone number that is different from your personal one. Avoid carrying multiple phones or paying for multiple lines with a free virtual phone number by Google. If you’ve used Google Voice before and have some feedback, please leave your comments below.