Websites big and small update; QR codes

QRCode

At the risk of sounding geeky, I should mention another aspect of the big website/small website issue I wrote about earlier. Almost half of all web searches are now done by cellphone, tablet, or other small screen device. That is why you need a compact version of your website to keep these people from being scared away by a densely packed screen on their device. Well, there is another complication (isn’t there always?) Typing in a URL (website address) on a smartphone is a tedious business and easy to foul up, so many people won’t bother. So how do you get them to check out the compact website you just sweated bullets to create. The answer is a QR code.

Say what? QR codes are those funny little checkerboard-looking things that are cluttering up signs, ads, and even consumer items. A QR or quick response code is a nifty way of transmitting encoded data, sort of a bar code on steroids. So what does that mean? Well, there is a free cell phone app that allows you to easily scan these rascals and the phone does the rest. If you see a QR code, scan it with your smartphone and the link encoded in the QR will enable your phone to go directly to that website. No typing, no memorizing, and no fumbling for a pen to take a note.

You can place a QR code with a link to your website (or a video, or whatever you want people to see) on a business card, print ad, handout, or even a tee shirt. You may have even seen these things on ketchup bottles and on the side of buses. It’s easy; someone scans it and is magically transported to your website.

Of course, some people get carried away with these things. QR codes have appeared on ads in subways where there is no Internet service, making them useless. They have appeared on the side of buses, giving a scanner a moving target. People have put them on websites. (Who is going to scan a computer screen with a smartphone? Use a link.) Another pointless use is to send them in a text message; how is the recipient going to scan it when it is appearing on the very device he uses to scan?

That aside, a QR code is a great thing if you are boosting a product or website. So how do you get these little miracle checkerboards? Well, they are free for the most part. Lots of Internet sites feature free QR generators, or a modest fee for large amounts. Just type in the URL you want people to go to and the proper QR code appears. If nothing else, you can at least demonstrate you are up to date with the latest web marketing tool.

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