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Are QR Codes a New Thing?

QR have been around since the mid 90s and they were touted as the next big thing but most native camera apps couldn’t support them so they never took off. But 30 years later QR codes have made a bit of a resurgence now most Apple and Android phones have the ability to read a QR code out of the box.

What Does a QR Code Do?

The beauty of them is that you can effectively drive only traffic from printed media like posters, stickers, billboards or even screen-based media. This allows you to share you contact details with potentially clients or customers from almost any offline medium. So long as you are not stretching the code up so much that it is making it blurry or putting it against a white or black background then it should be fine to scan.

Where Can I Create Free QR Codes?

We will start with creating basic free QR codes. This tool from Shopify https://www.shopify.com/tools/qr-code-generator allows you to create QR codes to link things like your website URL or phone number. You can generate them without having to create an account but you will need to supply an email address for them to send your QR code to, this can be any email address you have access to. You will end up on the Shopify marketing email list but this is easy to unsubscribe from and often has some interesting links to free tools. This Shopify generator isn’t the most feature rich, it doesn’t have different shapes and styles for the codes and because you don’t have an account it doesn’t offer link tracking. But it doesn’t have any branding or scanning limits which makes it a good choice.

Adobe offer a free QR code generator which has some additional features like shapes and some basic colours. This requires you to sign up but it is free to do and does not require a paid Creative Cloud account.

Are All QR Codes Free?

This is where you need to be careful. There are lots of QR code generators out there but some of them like QR.IO, QR Code Monkey and QR Generator Pro will lure you in with a free QR code which is really a trial and then when that trial period ends your code stops working unless you pay. This obviously isn’t ideal because then you will need to either pay or update all of your codes which will mean having things physically reprinted and distributed. This is where they catch you out and lock you into paying.

Can I Track QR Codes?

You can do this yourself by using something like bit.ly or Google’s UTM Campaign Builder to track the URLs but this is obviously another step in the process.

Are Paid QR Codes Worth It?

This depends on what your requirements are, if you want branded colours, and image tracking then premium paid QR codes can be a good choice. But if you are happy with just a basic code then there may be no need to pay.

Which is the Best Premium QR Code Service?

This is subjective but my favourite is the one from Bit.ly. If you want to use different shapes, styles and link tracking Bit.lys QR Generator has a free tier but to remove the Bit.ly branding, use custom branded colours or add your logo you need to sign up for a paid plan which starts at around $8 a month.