Monday, May 7, 2012

Code Breaking - QR codes and why you need them.

A year or so ago, I saw these and tried to click it with my phone and nada, rien, nothing, so I gave up.  However, recently I was talking to a Polish lady, who was showing me her English magazine, with fab articles and all over the place were these codes again.  When you scanned the code, hey presto you were taken to a link that had an mp3 with a listening that went with the text.  Suddenly they had my attention again.
If you have never heard of them, if you haven't seen them, you are so missing out.
If I said to you, here is a link you can print anywhere you feel like, that will take anyone straight to your etsy shop, who wouldn't love that?  Well that's what it is.  
It suddenly starts making a bit more sense why you keep seeing them everywhere now doesn't it?
So in simple terms it's a bar code effectively, a bar code that takes you to a web link. You scan it with an app on your (smart) phone and once it has focused and processed - it will give you the URL and take you to the page.  Obviously, not really much point in putting it on your website, just put an ordinary hyperlink, but ... and here is the big BUT, how about on your business card? or on your banner when you do a show, or your invoice that you send with all your goodies?  If you are slightly web wise, you could have it linking to promo codes, or new items or discounts or competitions, or maps to your show venue, or or or - the possibilities are immense.
Smart phones are the key of course, but the upturn of smart phone shopping is a hugely important thing to take account of.  (If you are in any doubt check on traffic sources on your google analytics to see where a lot of your visitors come from, mine is about 20% from phones).
If you want the app just go to your app market and look for a bar code scanner - they are usually free.

The one above is for the metalclayheads blog site, I just put it there for fun and so you can see.  But imagine it was for who ever lights your candle's web page, and you really wanted to follow them, you were out and about and saw their poster in the local shopping mall with their QR code beneath, simple, you just whip out your phone, scan as quick as you like and that link is now stored on your phone internet browser.  If it took you to their show dates with a promo code even better!
So the point is, today it is hard trying to keep up with all the latest, whether it's how to use twitter, or work out etsy's tag and relevancy search, or google analytics new interface, those things may take a bit of figuring out, but this one looks funky, looks a bit techy and you can do it in a jiff.  Look how cool and up to date you look, what does that say about you?  Cutting edge cool dude that's what.
How to get a code

So, have a search on google for QR code generator (I have used  - put your URL in their QR-Code Generator box, add your etsy shop url (for instance) and save the produced image to your computer.  (Either right click and save the image or copy and paste the code they generate) Then paste the little blighter wherever you like.  Don't reduce it too small, about 3/4 inch seems to be the minimum size I can get it to still work with my phone.  Next time you update your business cards do think about adding it, or on the little messages you send out with your goodies.

Good luck and happy QRing!