Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Does my Business need QR Codes?

One of the keys to great Search Engine Optimization is making sure you keep your website updated. Whether this is done with a blog, or changing one's homepage with new offers, coupons or products, it serves to show Google and others that your site is “alive.” For many small businesses, including my own, this can be a real challenge.

But let's say you already have great, fresh content on your site — what’s next?

Something new I learned about today is something called QR codes.

Have you heard of QR codes yet? Here's a quick introduction:

QR codes come to us from Japan where they are very common. QR is short for Quick Response (they can be read quickly by a cell phone). They are used to take a piece of information from a transitory media and put it in to your cell phone. You may soon see QR Codes in a magazine advert, on a billboard, a web page or even on someone’s t-shirt. Once it is in your cell phone, it may give you details about that business (allowing users to search for nearby locations), or details about the person wearing the t-shirt, show you a URL which you can click to see a trailer for a movie, or it may give you a coupon which you can use in a local outlet.

The reason why they are more useful than a standard barcode is that they can store (and digitally present) much more data, including url links, geo coordinates, and text. The other key feature of QR Codes is that instead of requiring a chunky hand-held scanner to scan them, many modern cell phones can scan them. The full Wikipedia description is here.

How does a cell phone read the code?

A cell phone needs a QR code reader, like this one from Kaywa. It takes literally 1 minute for someone with an iPhone or Android phone to find and install the reader.

How do you generate a code?

You can easily generate a QR code using a site like Kaywa.com or you can use the Open Source code to generate codes for you if you have a smart developer on hand.

From what I can see we are only just scratching the surface of how QR codes can be used. I can easily imagine these things being used on business cards, to direct dial the contact or directly link to a website. Placement of a QR code beside a product image could also allow the viewer to digitally access a complete product tear sheet and specifications, just with the click of a button. I find this idea to be especially appealing.

Without question, the possibilties are endless!

Although I'm new to the technology of QR codes, I have managed to create the following for my website, blog and email.

If someone has a phone app to read these things, please let me if they work.


  1. Yes, all three work. The first is to your website; the second to the blog spot; the third to your email account.

    Jonathan Kramer

    PS: I use QR and Tag codes on my websites, including http://CellSiteLawyer.com jlk