One of the biggest trends in technology today is increased seamlessness between all of the different tech tools that you use. VoIP technology is a main player in creating wireless seamlessness because it connects phone calls through your computer to let people reach you at home or on your cell phone via one number. And now, with click-to-call widgets, you don’t actually have to publish that number so people can now place a call to you without having access to your personal phone number. Not too many bloggers are taking advantage of this tool but it’s something that you might want to think about adding to your blog.
How the click-to-call widget works
You sign up with a VoIP service that offers click-to-call widgets. Make sure you choose a low-cost or free service because you don’t want this to cost you more than it needs to. You then download the click-to-call widget for your blog. It will add a button to your site that says something like “click here to call me”. A reader can click on that button and the computer will dial your personal phone number (without sharing it with the reader). Your phone will ring and you can choose whether or not to take the call. (You can also forward calls to different numbers and send them straight to voice mail when you don’t want to be bothered.)
How click-to-call benefits bloggers
There are some very obvious reasons that bloggers have been hesitant to add these buttons to their blogs. Most of us are busy working all day and don’t actually want to have strangers calling us at any time of day or night. But there are some major benefits to bloggers who opt to use this technology.
The main thing is that you’re going to rapidly increase your loyalty from your readers when you encourage them to call you with their thoughts, questions and concerns. You show that you’re interested in what your readers have to say. You also indicate that you trust them enough to provide this service. That makes you a lot more accessible and accessibility can gain you friends online. Those friends will promote your blog to others.
And you might find that you really do make friends with some of these people. The blogging life can be pretty lonely and people actually benefit a lot from making friends with other bloggers. This can lead to personal rewards as well as to financial benefits caused by the social networking aspect of the job.
Additionally, this is an innovative tool for blogging. It’s relatively new and it’s not something that bloggers are taking advantage of. If you’re among the first bloggers to use this tool, you’re going to get attention in the blogosphere as a result. Attention leads to traffic which leads to revenue.
And finally, you make it really easy for blog owners to get in touch to offer you additional work with their blogs. Many blog owners work on the Internet but prefer to resolve the details of the business with their bloggers over the phone. Make it easy for them and you’re one step ahead of your competition.
Keeping the problems to a minimum
In order to maximize the benefits of this technology, you’ll want to minimize its drawbacks. The main problem is that annoying people may call you at odd hours and interrupt either your sleep or your work. The key to preventing this problem is to establish some really clear rules for calling you and place those on your blog.
For example, you may decide that you’re only taking calls during certain hours. Whether that’s Monday-Friday from 9-5 or just on Tuesday nights from 6-8, figure out a schedule that works for you. Be available to take calls then and people won’t be likely to bug you at other times.
You also need to come up with some clear rules for yourself as to what you will and won’t tolerate from these calls. You may be happy to debate with people who disagree with something that you said on your blog or you may prefer to keep conversations non-confrontational. Set those boundaries for yourself so that this can be a positive experience.
Branching out to other areas of VoIP calling
If you discover that you like the benefits of opening your blog up to callers, you might want to branch out into other opportunities made possible by this technology. For example, you may wish to hold conference calls with your readers on a weekly or monthly basis. You could discuss a specific topic and put the audio file of the transaction on your blog for others to read. The possibilities are wide open since VoIP lets you easily merge your data, voice and image information in one location online.
Where to go for click-to-call widgets
There are a whole lot of different VoIP providers out there and many of them offer the click-to-call widget. (Incidentally, there are also Skype-specific widgets and widgets that are designed to go on your social networking profiles rather than on your blog.) TringMe and Jajah are two big names but shop around to find a service that suits your needs.