Become a Skype power user with our 7 must-know secrets

These tips can turn Skype into an even more powerful tool for saving money, streamlining meetings, and improving your overall business.

By Rick Broida, PC World |  Unified Communications, Skype, voip

Adding a Skype button to your site lets people call your business directly, but that isn't the same thing as having an actual phone number that you can share with clients and other important contacts. If you want to make Skype as flexible for inbound calling as it is for outbound, grab a Skype Online Number.

As the name suggests, this is basically a dedicated phone number, one that people can call from landlines and mobile phones. When a call comes in, Skype rings the same as it does for a Skype-to-Skype call, complete with on-screen caller ID.

One nice perk is that you can choose an area code and city code for your number, which is helpful if your business is based in one location but you're traveling or residing in another. The feature also includes call forwarding, voicemail, and the option of associating ten different numbers with one Skype account. Skype Online Numbers cost $18 for three months or $60 annually.

6. Send text messages on the cheap

Like screen sharing, text messaging is one of Skype's better-kept secrets. Using either your computer or your mobile phone, you can send SMS texts to any contact -- often for less than your carrier would charge, especially overseas.

For example, suppose you're sitting at your PC and want to text a coworker. You could pull out your phone, sure, but its faster and more convenient to tap out the message at your keyboard. Just use the chat option as you normally would, but check the SMS option in the chat window. If you're using the Skype app on, say, your iPhone, tap More and then choose SMS.

Skype texting isn't free -- and you'll need to have some credit in your account to use the feature -- but rates start at 4.7 cents per message, depending on the country you're sending to. In France, for example, messages cost 13.3 cents apiece. But most carriers charge significantly more for international SMS, so it definitely makes sense to Skype-text when you can. You can check the rates in advance on Skype's SMS page.

7. Get cheap Wi-Fi while traveling

When you're on the road, its not uncommon for a hotel to hit you up for $10 to $20 per day to access its Wi-Fi hotspot. And if you're overseas, Internet access can cost even more.

Skype WiFi promises to connect you for less. By using the latest version of Skype for Windows or the Skype app for iOS, you can join any of a million-plus global Skype hotspots. Since this service isn't free, you'll need to have some credit in your Skype account, but Skype charges by the minute instead of by the amount of data you consume.

Originally published on PC World |  Click here to read the original story.
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