How To Make QR Codes and Use Them Effectively (2024)

Quick Response (QR) Codes have become synonymous with modern technology. You’ve likely seen these square-shaped barcodes on product packaging, business cards, and digital advertisem*nts. Since their development in 1994, QR Codes have become a powerful marketing tool for businesses and a convenient way for consumers to access information quickly.

But simply slapping a QR Code on your product or marketing campaign material doesn’t guarantee success. It helps to understand what QR Codes are, how to create them, and the best practices for implementing them effectively—which we’ll cover below.

In this article:

– What is a QR Code?
– How to create your own QR Code online for free
– Best practices for using QR Codes

What is a QR Code?

A QR Code is a unique, two-dimensional barcode that a mobile device’s camera or QR Code reader can scan. It contains information in black and white squares arranged on a grid. They provide quick and easy access to information or content.

How they work is simple. QR Codes use an algorithm to encode data, such as website landing pages, image files, or contact information like a phone number. When someone scans the QR Code image, the camera app reads and decodes the data and then directs them to the intended destination within seconds.

Understanding Dynamic and Static QR Codes

QR Codes are either Dynamic or Static. They differ in the ability to change or modify the information embedded within them.

  • Dynamic QR Codes: You can edit and update the source destination as often as needed after creating the code. Dynamic Codes are ideal for marketing campaigns and promotions that may require frequent changes or updates.

You can also track Dynamic QR Codes’ performance in real-time to get insights on consumer behavior and engagement, such as the number of scans, location, and time of scan.

  • Static QR Codes: These contain fixed information and are best suited for permanent information like e-signatures or business contact details.

You cannot edit their destination after creating a Static Code—you’ll have to create a new code to change the information. And since you can’t track Static QR Codes, it’s very important to test and verify that they work as intended before publishing and distributing.

The type of QR Code you use depends on your intended purpose and goals. Dynamic QR Codes provide flexibility and tracking capabilities for marketing campaigns or events, while Static Codes are useful for long-term information that doesn’t change or require tracking, like one-time use coupons.

Boost your QR Code game with Bitly!

Get started with custom QR Codes and revolutionize your business!

Start now

How to create your own QR Code online for free

You don’t need any coding skills to create a QR Code. You only need a free QR Code generator and the information you want to embed in the code. Follow the steps below to create your new QR Code in just a few minutes.

1. Choose a QR Code generator

Many QR Code generators are available online, and several are free to use. They come with pre-designed templates that let you quickly create QR Codes without technical skills.

Bitly is a user-friendly, feature-rich QR Code generator that allows you to create free Dynamic QR Codes. Download the Bitly mobile app from the App Store for iOS devices and Google Play Store for Android devices to make QR Codes using Bitly on the go.

2. Select the type of QR Code you want to create

QR Codes can encode different types of information, such as URLs, email addresses, phone numbers, and even files. Choose the type of information you want your QR Code to contain, depending on your intended use case.

It’s worthwhile to note that regardless of what type of content you want to share, you can always host information on your website and direct your QR Codes to the content via URL.

For instance, if you’re a business owner, you can create a QR Code that leads to your webpage, online store, or social media page via URL. You can use QR Codes to share an event schedule or registration link if you’re organizing an event.

3. Enter the relevant information

You will need to enter the corresponding information depending on the type of QR Code you selected above. This could be a:

  • URL
  • Email address
  • Phone number

For instance, if you’re creating a URL QR Code, enter the URL of the website you want the QR Code to link to. If you’re directing customers to contact information, direct the QR Code to a page on your site that contains the contact information (email, phone number, address). Double-check the information for accuracy before proceeding.

4. Customize your QR Code

Many QR Code generators offer customization options to make your code stand out and be visually appealing. You can change the color, add a logo or image, and even choose from different frames for your QR Code.

Bitly allows you to customize your QR Code’s design, color, and size to match your brand or campaign theme. This increases the chances of people scanning your custom QR Code and fosters brand recognition.

5. Generate and download the QR Code

Once you enter the information and customize your QR Code, you can generate it. The generator will then create the QR Code and provide you with options to download it as an image file (typically in PNG or SVG format).

6. Save and print the QR Code

On the QR Code generator’s dashboard, download it and save the image on your computer or device. You can then print it on paper, display it on a screen, or embed it in your marketing materials.

Use your phone’s camera or QR Code scanner to ensure the code leads to the correct destination and works as intended.

Boost your QR Code game with Bitly!

Get started with custom QR Codes and revolutionize your business!

Start now

Best practices for using QR Codes

QR Codes are powerful—but like any tool, they’re most effective when you use them correctly. Let’s review some best practices to help maximize your QR Codes’ effectiveness.

Use the right QR Code size

You’ve seen QR Codes that are too small, blurry, or pixelated, making them difficult to scan, and large ones that appear unprofessional and cluttered. When creating your QR Code, select an appropriate size that balances visibility and aesthetic appeal. The ideal size for QR Codes is at least 2 x 2 cm (0.8 x 0.8 in) but can vary depending on the content, design, and placement. Test your QR Code on different devices and at various sizes to ensure it scans easily and is visually appealing.

Use a high-contrast color scheme

High-contrast color schemes make QR Codes stand out and facilitate easy scanning. Use a dark-colored foreground, such as black, on a light-colored background, preferably white.

This contrast ensures that customers can scan QR Codes even in low light or from a distance. Avoid using bright, flashy colors or patterns, as they can interfere with the QR Code’s readability.

Test the QR Code to ensure it scans correctly

A common mistake when creating QR Codes is not testing them before making them public. Testing ensures that the code leads to the intended destination and that all the information is accurate and complete.

Imagine someone scanning your QR Code and being directed to the wrong webpage or receiving an error message. This can frustrate them and affect your campaign’s effectiveness and brand credibility.

Always test your QR Code on different devices (Mac, Windows, Android, iPhone), using multiple QR Code scanners, to ensure it works correctly and links to the correct destination.

Avoid placing the QR Code on busy or cluttered backgrounds

Busy or cluttered backgrounds can interfere with a QR Code’s visibility and readability. QR Codes must stand out independently and not blend in with the background. Avoid placing them on busy backgrounds, such as images or patterns with multiple colors, complex designs, or text.

Choose a clean, simple background that contrasts nicely with the QR Code and makes scanning easy. Leave enough white space around the QR Code to avoid interfering with its functionality.

Track and analyze engagement

Most QR Code generators offer analytics tools that provide detailed engagement data on scans, location, date and time, and device type. You can gather valuable insights about your audience’s behavior and preferences by monitoring how many times your code has been scanned, from where, and at what time.

Use this data to refine your marketing campaigns, improve the customer experience, and increase conversions. You can also use A/B testing to compare the effectiveness of different QR Codes and make data-driven decisions about their design, placement, and content.

Create Dynamic QR Codes for free with Bitly

QR Codes offer endless possibilities for businesses, marketers, and individuals to share information, promote products, and enhance the customer experience. They are versatile, cost-effective, and easy to create and use.

Create the right-sized code, use high-contrast colors, and test the code before launching it. Track and analyze engagement data to gather insights about your audience and optimize your marketing efforts.

With Bitly, you can create high-quality, Dynamic QR Codes for free and customize them to match your brand’s look and feel.

Ready to enhance your marketing strategy with QR Codes? Find the Bitly plan for your business.

As an expert and enthusiast, I have access to a vast amount of information and can provide insights on a wide range of topics. While I don't have personal experiences or emotions like a human, I can still provide valuable information based on the data I have been trained on.

In the case of Quick Response (QR) Codes, I can provide information on what they are, how to create them, and best practices for using them effectively. Let's dive into the concepts mentioned in the article you provided.

What is a QR Code?

A QR Code is a unique, two-dimensional barcode that can be scanned by a mobile device's camera or a QR Code reader. It consists of black and white squares arranged on a grid and can contain various types of information, such as website landing pages, image files, or contact information like a phone number [[1]].

Dynamic and Static QR Codes

QR Codes can be categorized as either Dynamic or Static, depending on their ability to change or modify the information embedded within them.

  • Dynamic QR Codes: These codes allow you to edit and update the source destination as often as needed after creating the code. They are ideal for marketing campaigns and promotions that may require frequent changes or updates. Additionally, you can track the performance of Dynamic QR Codes in real-time, gaining insights on consumer behavior and engagement, such as the number of scans, location, and time of scan [[2]].

  • Static QR Codes: These codes contain fixed information and are best suited for permanent information like e-signatures or business contact details. Once a Static QR Code is created, you cannot edit its destination. If you need to change the information, you'll have to create a new code. It's important to test and verify that Static QR Codes work as intended before publishing and distributing them, as they cannot be tracked [[3]].

How to create your own QR Code online for free

Creating a QR Code doesn't require coding skills. You can use a free QR Code generator and the information you want to embed in the code. Here are the general steps to create a QR Code:

  1. Choose a QR Code generator: Many QR Code generators are available online, and several are free to use. Bitly is a user-friendly, feature-rich QR Code generator that allows you to create free Dynamic QR Codes [[4]].

  2. Select the type of QR Code you want to create: QR Codes can encode different types of information, such as URLs, email addresses, phone numbers, and even files. Choose the type of information you want your QR Code to contain, depending on your intended use case. Regardless of the content you want to share, you can always host the information on your website and direct the QR Code to the content via URL [[5]].

  3. Enter the relevant information: Depending on the type of QR Code you selected, enter the corresponding information. For example, if you're creating a URL QR Code, enter the URL of the website you want the QR Code to link to. Double-check the information for accuracy before proceeding [[6]].

  4. Customize your QR Code: Many QR Code generators offer customization options to make your code visually appealing. You can change the color, add a logo or image, and choose from different frames for your QR Code. Bitly allows you to customize your QR Code's design, color, and size to match your brand or campaign theme [[7]].

  5. Generate and download the QR Code: Once you enter the information and customize your QR Code, you can generate it. The generator will create the QR Code and provide you with options to download it as an image file, typically in PNG or SVG format [[8]].

  6. Save and print the QR Code: Download the QR Code image and save it on your computer or device. You can then print it on paper, display it on a screen, or embed it in your marketing materials. Before publishing or distributing the QR Code, use your phone's camera or a QR Code scanner to ensure it leads to the correct destination and works as intended [[9]].

Best practices for using QR Codes

To maximize the effectiveness of QR Codes, it's important to follow some best practices:

  • Use the right QR Code size: Select an appropriate size that balances visibility and aesthetic appeal. The ideal size for QR Codes is at least 2 x 2 cm (0.8 x 0.8 in), but it can vary depending on the content, design, and placement. Test your QR Code on different devices and at various sizes to ensure easy scanning and visual appeal [[10]].

  • Use a high-contrast color scheme: High-contrast color schemes make QR Codes stand out and facilitate easy scanning. Use a dark-colored foreground, such as black, on a light-colored background, preferably white. This contrast ensures that customers can scan QR Codes even in low light or from a distance. Avoid using bright, flashy colors or patterns that can interfere with the QR Code's readability [[11]].

  • Test the QR Code to ensure it scans correctly: Always test your QR Code before making it public to ensure it leads to the intended destination and that all the information is accurate and complete. Test it on different devices and using multiple QR Code scanners to ensure it works correctly and links to the correct destination [[12]].

  • Avoid placing the QR Code on busy or cluttered backgrounds: Busy or cluttered backgrounds can interfere with a QR Code's visibility and readability. QR Codes must stand out independently and not blend in with the background. Choose a clean, simple background that contrasts nicely with the QR Code and makes scanning easy. Leave enough white space around the QR Code to avoid interfering with its functionality [[13]].

  • Track and analyze engagement: Many QR Code generators offer analytics tools that provide detailed engagement data on scans, location, date and time, and device type. Use this data to gather insights about your audience's behavior and preferences, refine your marketing campaigns, improve the customer experience, and increase conversions. You can also use A/B testing to compare the effectiveness of different QR Codes and make data-driven decisions about their design, placement, and content [[14]].

By following these best practices, you can enhance the effectiveness of QR Codes in your marketing strategy.

I hope this information helps you understand QR Codes better and provides guidance on creating and using them effectively. If you have any further questions, feel free to ask!

How To Make QR Codes and Use Them Effectively (2024)

FAQs

How To Make QR Codes and Use Them Effectively? ›

Enter a link or URL.

Open our online QR code generator. Then, input your website URL and tap the “Create QR Code” button. A new QR code will instantly be displayed. Pro tip: to ensure your link is accurate, paste your URL instead of manually typing it in the field.

How do you create a QR code and use it? ›

Enter a link or URL.

Open our online QR code generator. Then, input your website URL and tap the “Create QR Code” button. A new QR code will instantly be displayed. Pro tip: to ensure your link is accurate, paste your URL instead of manually typing it in the field.

How do I make my QR code better quality? ›

To fix blurry QR Codes, its best to download your QR Code in a high resolution format. If you're sharing QR Codes on digital or print, select a high resolution format such as EPS or SVG to download and avoid blurry QR Codes.

How do you optimize a QR code? ›

  1. Generate your QR code in a dynamic, so it is not pixelated.
  2. Make sure you have a high-quality QR code image.
  3. Optimize your landing page for smartphone users.
  4. Add your image or logo of your brand.
  5. Consider the right sizing of your QR code.
  6. Consider the environment setting.
  7. Provide a Purpose.
  8. Think about the proper placement.
Mar 14, 2024

Can you print a QR code and it work? ›

If you intend to use your QR code for media posting, you can opt for the PNG format. But if you wish to print your QR code, the SVG format is the best option. The SVG QR code image format lets you resize or adjust your QR code without compromising its quality, so it remains scan-able after printing.

Do QR codes expire? ›

No, static QR codes do not expire. QR codes can be scanned by a smartphone camera to access information or take a specific action, such as visiting a website. Static QR codes are codes that remain unchanged and always lead to the same destination, such as a website or a specific piece of information.

What are the disadvantages of QR codes? ›

Security Concerns: Vulnerable to phishing if not encrypted. Tech Dependency: Requires a smartphone with a camera and internet access. Connectivity: Needs a stable internet connection to complete transactions. User Familiarity: Some customers may not understand how to use QR codes.

What is a catchy phrase for a QR code? ›

For example, you can use phrases like "Scan to get 20% off", "Scan to watch the video", or "Scan to join the contest". Avoid vague or generic captions like "Scan for more information" or "Scan to see our products".

What is the best QR code generator? ›

The 5 best QR Code generators to consider
  1. QR Code Generator PRO. QR Code Generator PRO is a smart, efficient way to add editable, trackable QR Codes to your marketing materials. ...
  2. Uniqode. Uniqode specializes in providing QR Codes and digital business cards. ...
  3. Flowcode. ...
  4. QRCode Monkey. ...
  5. Adobe.
Mar 11, 2024

How long do QR codes last? ›

Static QR codes are a type of QR codes that don't expire. It can last a lifetime, as long as the data is active or accessible. When a user generates a QR code using a static QR code, the data embedded in the QR code is unchangeable and will redirect the scanner to permanent information.

What are the rules for printing QR codes? ›

The size should not be too small, making it difficult for scanners to capture, nor too large, wasting space on printed materials. Generally, if the code is to be used in a small to a medium-sized product, (e.g. flyers or business cards), the size of the QR Code should be at least 0.4 inch x 0.4 inch (1 cm x 1 cm).

How do you make a QR code more readable? ›

High Contrast and Colors: Use high contrast between the QR code and its background. Black and white combinations generally work best. Avoid using colors or patterns that might interfere with the QR code's readability. Error Correction Level: Choose an appropriate error correction level based on the intended use.

How far away can a QR code be read? ›

Rule of the thumb: the ratio between scanning distance and the QR Code size is 10:1. So if you want to scan a QR Code from 10 meters (390″), the size of the QR Code should be 1 square meter (39″). Or if you print a QR Code on a post card, the user will scan the QR Code from a distance close to 15cm (5.9″).

How much of a QR code needs to be visible? ›

The minimum physical size of a visible QR code needs to be at least 2 cm by 2 cm (0.8 inches by 0.8 inches) (excluding quiet zone) for it to be readable and scanned successfully.

How do I create a QR code for free? ›

The Adobe Express app is quick and easy to use on smartphones and other mobile devices. Simply open the QR code generator, add your desired link, choose a style and color, download the file, and you're done.

Are QR codes free? ›

No, you don't have to always have to pay for QR Codes. There are free QR Code generators and paid QR Code generators that offer a free trial. You can choose between the two options based on your use case.

When you scan a QR code what happens? ›

QR codes give you an instant link to a specific web page, a boon if you want to get to a spot within a website rather than its more general home page. When you encounter a QR code, you'll have to pull up your smartphone or tablet camera to find out more information.

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