Make free QR codes in 3 easy steps

2018 UPDATE:

Welcome time traveler! 7 years later, a site visitor just asked how I would create a QR code for a Squarespace site

In near opposition of the original post for which you seek, I'm here to tell you that bit.ly no longer creates QR codes, so I turned to goo.glβ€” whom I remember generated QR codes as part of their URL shortening service. 

 
 

BUT WAIT; Google says they've killed goo.gl...

Starting March 30, 2018, we will be turning down support for goo.gl URL shortener. From April 13, 2018 only existing users will be able to create short links on the goo.gl console. You will be able to view your analytics data and download your short link information in csv format for up to one year, until March 30, 2019, when we will discontinue goo.gl. 

If you still want to use goo.gl, here's video to help you.

 

This is getting funny; as if the world wants us to stop using QR codes.

There are still tons of QR code generators out there; a few of the most popular include Kaywa, GOQR.me, Visualead, and QR Stuff. Some things to look for when choosing a QR code generator are whether you can track and analyze performance, if it allows you to design a code that's unique to your brand, and if it is compatible with common QR code readers. 

Now, back to 2011...

 

I mentioned on Twitter today how easy it is to make QR codes, and after a few responses, I thought I would share it here.

What's a QR Code, and why would I want one?

QR (Quick Response) codes are growing in popularity. They are used to take a piece of information from a transitory media and put it in to your cell phone. You've probably seen QR Codes in magazine ads, on billboards, on web pages or even on t-shirts. Once it is "shot" with your mobile, it may give you details about that business, details about the person wearing the t-shirt, show you a URL which you can click to see a trailer for a movie, or it may give you a coupon which you can use in a local outlet.

Here's an example QR code (that I made in 3 easy steps):

chart.png

My own QR code linked to this blog post. Scan it!

How do you scan a QR code?

If you have a smart phone with a camera, then your app store will most-likely have several free and premium QR apps available. Basically, just point your phone at the QR code, and the app will do the rest. It's that easy.

LET'S MAKE A QR CODE!

1. Create your content

Ok, this probably goes without saying, but in this example, our QR code will link to a web page, so build the thing you want to send people to, or find the YouTube video, etc. etc.

Not so fast there, pardner!

Since your site visitor will only be using their smartphone to scan your code, make sure that when they arrive on your landing page that they can view the content on the page. Flash content, for example, would be a bad thing for iPhone users, as the iPhone doesn't support Flash.

In Squarespace, I would suggest creating a hidden section for your QR landing page, your email campaigns, etc. This way, people can still browse to the page, but it's not visible on the site's main navigation.

2. Copy your URL in your clipboard and Visit bit.ly

Note:

Bit.ly went through a recent re-design. To access the "info page" that contains the QR Code, just add a "+" immediately after the bit.ly URL to access that page. Exmaple: bitly.com/PrxlQa+

Ok, there are a few micro-steps there, but can you believe we're almost finished? 

As you are probably aware, bit.ly is a URL shortening service that does lots more than shorten URLS. They also offer free stats, tracking clicks over time, and a free QR code with each URL. Free is good.

You'll want to create a bit.ly account to track and check your history, so be sure you do that too.

3. Paste your URL at bit.ly and click "INFO PAGE+"

Whoa, that's it? I just created a QR code? Yes, my friend. That's it. Here's a link to my "Info Page+", if you want to see what's there.

Now copy and paste that image, run to Kinko's and print-out a QR code as big as a bus. The world will scan it.

(clicking this image will take you the the "Info Page+")

TIP: Adding a "+" (plus sign) to the end of any bit.ly short URL will link you to the info/stats page.

ANOTHER TIP: You'll see a URL under your QR code that looks like this: http://bit.ly/gqtY35.qrcode it's a link directly to a larger version of your QR code.