You might be more familiar with seeing QR, or Quick Response Codes, featured in print media, where they are used to convey some form of data, usually a URL to a mobile device.
Simply use the camera on your smartphone to scan one of these codes, providing an app like QR Droid or Scan is installed, and some data from the code will be extracted by the device. This is usually a URL to the website of the advertiser or publisher but it could be any number of things.
Common uses for print media could be an encouragement for the scanner to like or tweet a message to their friends, sign up to a mailing list or interact with the brand or publisher in a continued way once they are no longer in front of the advertisement displaying the code.
But why would you want to use QR codes on a WordPress site, and how easy is it to create one?
Online Uses of QR Codes
Well, despite being more commonly found in print media and offline advertising, after their origins in manufacturing, QR Codes do have a place in the online world.
By placing one of these scannable codes on your website, you are making it easy for your visitors to continue their user experience onto their smartphone devices. This has two major advantages: one is that they stay engaged with your content for longer, and the other is that you make their life easier, allowing them to view key information when away from their computer and store your information such as a URL or telephone number.
One excellent and useful application for QR Codes on a website is to feature one on a contact or location page. A quick scan of the QR Code allows the user to easily load up Google Maps, zoned in on the location of your premises.
Alternatively, the code could be used to allow the user to send you a message via their smartphone without having to enter your number or email address.
Another use would be creating a QR Codes that when scanned, prompts the visitor to save your contact details to their phone so they can easily make contact with you in person, or at a later date when away from their computer.
You could also offer discounts and coupons to mobile users who scan the code on your website and bring their device into your place of business, rather than having them write down the reference code on your website, or printing out the corresponding page. This can be useful for tracking how people found your business and getting your contact details onto their phone.
Google has even trialled login via QR Codes on their services in the past and this could eventually be a feature that is standard on all websites. There is already a plugin for WordPress. Although this is not without its downsides, such as a dead phone battery or lost smartphone hindering your login attempts.
While there are undoubtedly many more offline uses for QR Codes than online, there are still many ways they can be used on a website.
QR Code Plugins for WordPress
So now you’ve got some ideas on how to use QR Codes on your website, let’s take a look at how you can create them and add them to a WordPress site.
No More Passwords
This free plugin was mentioned earlier and allows you to login to your WordPress site by scanning the code with your smartphone. Some reasons why you might want to do this are to enable a faster login, not having to remember any passwords and also prevent the need to enter your login details on computers and networks where security might be compromised and key loggers installed.
WordPress QR Codes
This is a premium plugin, although only costing $10 that allows you to generate QR Codes for URLs and images. It can generate multiple items such as:
- Contact details
- GEO location
…and a few more.
There are six sizes to choose from allowing the QR Codes to fit into your site’s design. The codes are easily generated using a drop down menu to select the type of item and then filling out the text fields.
QR Code Generator for All
This appears to be a free plugin that does much of what the above premium item does. If you want to experiment with creating QR Codes for your WordPress site then this looks like a good bet. Add one to your contact page to allow your visitors to easily message you from their phone or locate your premises on their map app for an easy journey to your door.
QR Code Generator
This simple plugin allows you to insert a shortcode into your posts that will generate and display a QR Code containing the current URL. This is useful if you want your readers to quickly open a page on your site they are reading on their smartphone for perusal at a later date.
The data in the QR Code can be changed from the URL of the page to something else by adding a parameter to the shortcode.
Local Search SEO Contact Page
Available in both free and premium versions, this plugin is ideal for making your contact page more useful to your site visitors. This plugin helps generate lots of information about your business, including creating QR Codes that can contain directions to your location amongst other things.
Now you should have some ideas on how you can use QR Codes on your WordPress site, along with the tool to create them and add them to your posts and pages.
If you’ve seen any interesting uses of QR Codes, on or offline, or have been using them yourself, please leave a comment below.