How to generate a QR Code
QR Codes (Quick Response) allow a smartphone to scan a code and take them directly to a website, without having to type the URL address. The code can store other types of text data, including coupons, contact information, phone numbers, etc. These act as a convenience for your users.
To the right is a QR code generated free by kaywa.com and it takes you to this blog, keyliner.blogspot.com. To read the code, download any bar-code reader for your smartphone or tablet and you can scan this code now, directly from the screen. On Android, I like to use "Barcode Scanner" by Zxing Team (available in the App store). Kaywa also has a code-reading App, which I have not tested.
Steps to Generate a Code:
I have used kaywa.com and VistaPrint (Business Card printing) to generate QR codes. This document shows kaywa.com. At the bottom of this article are other references. Also, Wikipedia has a good article on these types of codes.
1. Open a browser session to
2. Choose "URL" (Static, not dynamic)
3. Click "Generate"
4. "Other-mouse-click" the code, choose "Save As"
Save the image as a .PNG
Use Windows Explorer and find the image.
Double-click to preview.
Scan the app with your smartphone or tablet to confirm the address.
6. Reprint all of your business cards and marketing literature to include this code.
Note: The first time I generated the code, it took me to a site "Congratulations: You have won a free prize". I returned to Kaywa.com and re-generated the code and three others and did not see this problem. I am unsure why this happened and at first thought Kaywa might be nefarious, but I see no further indications of problems and the site and their product comes recommended by others.
Mobile vs Desktop Sites:
If you are using a QR code to arrive at a URL, choose a URL designed for a mobile app, because only mobile devices will be scanning the code.
For example, arriving at http://www.keyliner.blogspot.com (this blogging tool), it will automatically route a smart-phone to a site designed for a smaller screen. But the same address, scanned from a larger tablet, arrives at the desktop site. Your website may work differently. For example, the main landing page for a desktop browser might be http://mysite.com, while a mobile device might need to arrive at http://mysite.com/mobile; use the mobile site if not automatic.
For a monthly fee, Kaywa.com can generate something they call a "Dynamic" code. With this, the vendor can track your code, how often clicked, etc., and can re-direct the visitor to a different address of your choosing -- all without reprinting the code or marketing literature. In other words, you could, in August, direct everyone to your August Sales campaign and then in September, change to a different address, with its own tracking. For commercial ventures, this idea is recommended.
With their other commercial products, you can have the same QR route iphone users to a different site than an Android user - for example, you could route them directly to the App Store, depending on their device.
QR Code Differences:
I returned to VistaPrint to build new business cards and noticed they added a QR Code feature (keyliner reviewed). I found it interesting that their generated code is different than kaywa's and I do not know why; it may be different versions of the QR standard or different error corrections. All indications are the two codes go directly to my selected destination and do not pass-through either of these companies. Here are the two codes:
qrcode.kaywa.com (as described this article)
delivr.com/qr-code-generator Untested by keyliner
qurify.com/en Untested by keyliner
VistaPrint Business Cards
Wikipedia article on QR Codes