It’s easy enough to create a QR code for a URL using a free online tool. (URLs are web addresses, my non-geeky friends.) There are dozens of them, although this QR code generator from the ZXing Project is a favorite of mine.
But what if you are offering apps for different mobile platforms, such as iOS and Android? How do you make a QR code that somehow “knows” what kind of device is scanning the code?
Thankfully, you have an array of free online tools to help you do just that. Here are the steps I took to create a QR code for the app offered by The Greater Fort Wayne Chamber of Commerce:
1. Gather your app links
Make sure you have the proper, complete links to your apps.
A link to the Android store begins like this:
For example, here is the link for The Chamber’s Android app:
A link to the iOS store — that’s iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch — begins
For example, the link to The Chamber’s app is this:
2. Shorten the links
The shorter the links, the less complex the QR code becomes. Thus, theoretically, it’s easier to be read by your QR scanner. Compare the two codes to the left. The code on the left uses the original URLs I listed above. The one on the right uses shortened URLs.
If you don’t currently use a URL shortener, or if you’re unsure how to shorten a URL, I recommend the URL shortener called Bitly. You’ll be able to shorten the link and keep track of how many times the link is scanned or clicked on.
3. Copy your links into this QR code generator
Copy those shortened URLs you created and paste them into the proper slots on the form here: http://qrappdownload.appspot.com/
Important! Be sure to delete the sample URLs in the online form!
Then download the QR code you generated somewhere you can find it again. You might want to save those links that the generator creates, just in case you lose your QR code image.
4. Test, test, test!
Before you plaster that QR code all over town, be sure to test, test, and test again that code on as many devices and code readers as you can. For better advice than I can give, check out “Testing QR Codes for Scan-ability” by Kevin Mullett at Cirrus ABS.
That’s it! If you use these tools, let me know how they worked for you, especially if they didn’t work for you.