Quick Response codes or QR codes are a great way to quickly access different sites on the internet. The job of QR codes is to help someone get quick access to something without them having to type in the URL.
Users can be guided to a specific online destination by simply pointing their smartphone’s camera at a QR code. This could include mobile ticketing, displaying multimedia content accessing a restaurant’s menu, adding a VR card contact to a user’s device, or directing users to your website’s landing page without the need to type in a particular URL.
In this article Learn how to create a QR code, and you can use it to accept payments, marketing, and more to engage with your customers on smartphones.
What Is a QR Code?
Essentially a QR code is a machine-scannable image similar to a bar code that can be immediately read using a smartphone camera. QR codes come with several black-and-white symbols placed horizontally and vertically which convey certain pieces of information.
When a camera from a Smartphone scans the QR code, it translates that information into something that humans can easily understand. Unlike bar codes, QR codes can hold over a hundred times more information including email addresses, phone numbers, website URLs, and more.
- READ MORE: QR Code Uses for Marketing and Business
Benefits of Using QR Codes
QR Codes offer a variety of business and marketing applications allowing you to easily connect with customers. They help to accomplish various tasks including showing product details, downloading applications, tracking product delivery, show menu offering to customers in restaurants, accessing social media platforms, allowing access to websites and webinars, or even transferring money. Some of the benefits QR codes offer include:
- They take up little space: Usually being small, QR-Codes will take up minimal space on your ad banner, pamphlet, product, or any other placement. This helps you convey as much information without worrying about space limitations.
- They are easy to scan: By the fact that you can scan QR Codes through smartphones or tablets makes them accessible to anyone without requiring any special device to decipher the message.
- Offer high storage capacity: QR codes are designed to store a good amount of information. They can deliver vast amounts of information that include images, videos, URL links, and more.
- Connect your online content with offline media: You can use QR codes to link your print collateral which includes flyers, brochures, billboards, and business cards to your website or other online platforms. This also helps to mitigate frustrations that come with typing website links, typing social media addresses, or even typing in phone numbers.
- They work even when damaged: QR codes can work despite sustaining damage. QR codes can work even if only 30% of the code is unreadable.
How Do QR Codes Work?
QR codes work similarly to barcodes with each QR code consisting of black squares and dots which represent different pieces of information. When generated QR codes are scanned, the unique patterns are instantly translated into human-readable data. Most modern smartphones come with inbuilt QR code scanners and in case your smartphone does not come with one you can download free QR scanning apps from Google Play or the App Store.
- READ MORE: QR Code Uses for Marketing and Business
Generating QR Codes
You can generate QR codes for free using any of the many freely available QR code software online, provided the QR solution is generated as a static QR code. Static QR codes come with an embedded URL with a fixed destination that does not need to be updated and is great for one-time marketing campaigns.
Dynamic QR codes on the other hand can be editable and offer more features compared to Static QR Codes. Dynamic QR codes have a short URL embedded in the code, which can redirect the user to the destination website URL. The destination URL can be changed after the QR code has been generated, while the short URL embedded in the code remains the same. Dynamic QR codes require a paid subscription and can be protected using a password.
Scanning QR Codes
Most smartphones come with their inbuilt QR code readers all you have to do is to point and tap to access the information embedded in the QR code. If your smartphone doesn’t come with a QR code scanner you can download a free app for scanning QR codes.
How to Make a QR Code
Creating QR codes is relatively simple. Use the following simple steps to create QR codes for your business.
1. Decide the purpose of your QR code
Before creating your QR code you will need to first decide what you want to use it for. Establishing the goal and purpose of the QR code can help you better use it. Most often QR codes are used for marketing efforts such as directing users to a specific website or to act on a particular Call to Action (CTA).
2. Find a QR Code Generator
Once you have established the purpose of your QR code the next step is to find a QR code generator. A simple Google search can help you find many options for a QR code generator. Once you settled on a particular QR code generator then you can go about the business of creating your QR code.
3. Decide between a Static QR Code or a Dynamic QR Code
When it comes to QR codes you have a choice between a static and dynamic QR code. Simply put a static QR code is a fixed QR code where the data stored cannot be changed once the code has been generated. While dynamic QR codes are changeable meaning the destination can be changed.
4. Enter Information and Customize the QR Code
Once you have decided between a static and dynamic QR code the next steps are to enter your data, customize your QR code, and generate your QR code. You must choose a QR code generator that supports your design needs for your custom QR code.
5. Download Your QR Code
After you generate your QR code you will need to download the QR code you’ve created by just clicking ‘download’. The best generator platforms will allow you to save QR images in different file formats. And the format you choose should take into consideration where you are going to use the QR barcode. For example, if you want to use your QR code for your print collateral then you will need to have a higher-quality format. Before going into mass printing runs or sharing your QR code make sure to preview it on your own and test whether your QR code is working by sending it to friends and colleagues.
Best QR Code Generator Options
With QR code you can track usage, add calls to action, offer payment options, offer mobile ticketing, direct users to your website’s landing page, and more. Below are our top picks of the best QR code generators for small businesses.
This code generator is used by big names that include Pepsi, Amazon, Revlon, Nestle, and the New York Times. Beaconstac’s QR code generator helps users to create branded QR codes; manage and personalize QR Code campaigns while at the same time running targeted social media ads. Its generated dynamic QR codes can be updated in real-time which comes in handy for marketing campaigns.
QR Code Generator
With QR Code Generator users have the option to generate QR codes for vCards, plain text, URL, Wi-Fi, email, SMS, Twitter, or for packaging. In addition, the free QR codes are also not trackable or editable. Users can even spruce up their QR codes by choosing between the free standard black-and-white design or opting for the paid pro plan to customize QR codes with more colors, add different frames, and add their company icon or logo.
QRCode Monkey is a simple-to-use QR-generating app that lets users generate QR codes for free. With it, you can choose the type of content you want for your QR and can generate QR codes in the form of plain text, URL, email address, SMS, location, WiFi, Bitcoin, or social media links.
QR Stuff lets users generate over 25 QR code data types including website URLs, video, Facebook, map location, SMS or email message, contact details, and more. With its free plan, users can create unlimited static QR codes for website URLs, social media platforms, and payments in addition to 10 dynamic QR codes.
The drawback with the free plan however is that you are limited to only 50 scan limit per code/per month. The paid tier that comes with a subscription of $12.95 offers robust features that include unlimited static and dynamic QR codes, access to all file types, location-based QR codes, attendance tracking, full design capabilities, and 200 tracking spreadsheets.
QR Tiger is another popular QR code generator that helps to churn out custom QR codes for your business. With its free trial version, you can create three dynamic QR codes that come with the QRTiger logo popup, a 500-scan limit for dynamic QR codes, and unlimited scans for your static QR codes.
Scanova lets you generate QR codes for a variety of uses that include websites, audio, documents, Facebook, videos, contact information, maps, and more. With Scanova’s Dynamic QR Codes, you can edit the content anytime without the need to change the QR Code. While its QR Code designer allows you to generate highly personalized QR Code designs by editing colors and patterns, and by adding your brand logo either in the center or as a background image without the need for a graphic designer.
QR Code Creation Tips and Best Practices
Using multiple QR codes can be a great tool to do business and market your products and services. Besides first testing whether the QR code works before sharing consider these tips and best practices when using QR codes for your business.
Add a design to QR codes: by adding designs to your QR codes you help them stand out and encourage users to scan them. Adding designs and branding elements will give life to your QR codes and make them visually appealing compared to the standard black-and-white QR Codes.
Add Call-to-Action text: if your goal is to use QR codes for your print promotions, you should add call-to-action (CTA) text that informs the target audience of what the QR Code does.
Don’t forget size and scannability: Make sure your QR code has the right size and can be easily scanned. Nothing is frustrating for the users if they have to point their cameras at a QR Code and nothing happens. So, factor in the QR codes’ size, color contrast, scanning distance, and lighting when designing your QR code.
Make sure it is accessible: A QR Code can only be scanned if it is easily accessible to users. You will need to ensure both safe scanning distance and easy access to mobile internet. QR Codes placed on moving vehicles, far-off billboards, and the bottom of banners reaching the ground level can discourage users from scanning them.
Make sure they are linked to mobile-optimized content: A majority of QR codes are designed for use on mobile devices. If your landing page or QR code content is not mobile-optimized, it will end with the user not engaging with the content.
What Is the Best Free QR Code Generator?
QRCode Monkey is considered among the best free QR code generators and lets you design QR codes for vCards, plain text, URLs, Wi-Fi, email, SMS, Twitter, or for packaging. The free platform lets users create, track and edit all their QR codes in one place. In addition, the free QR codes have no limitations with all generated QR codes working forever, do not expire, and have no scanning limits like you see at other commercial QR code generators. The created QR codes are static so the only limitation is that you can’t edit the QR code again.
Do QR Codes Expire?
QR codes do not have an expiration date and they will continue functioning as long as the Quick Link attached to it is active. A QR code will not work if the particular QR generator you are using has a cap on unlimited use. QR codes may not function if they are printed in poor quality, use inverted colors, are too small, have a poor contrast ratio, and are overcrowded.
What Is the Safest QR Code Generator?
Beaconstac is considered are the safest QR code generator to create codes. It comes with SOC 2 Type 1 certification offering data encryption, best-in-class privacy practices, and threat-detection safeguards for a QR Code solution. It also touts integration with over 4,000 platforms that include Zapier, Workato, Make, and others.
Image: Envato Elements
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