Are you looking to discover everything there is to know about WordPress QR codes? What they are, how they can benefit you, and how to create your own?
If so, you are on the right page, as that’s what this article is about. So, let’s get started!
What Are QR Codes?
Chances are, you will have already encountered QR (Quick Response) codes at some time or another. In fact, they were developed back in 1994 to track the manufacturing process of vehicles. However, their popularity did not gain momentum until almost a decade later, initially in Japan before spreading globally.
QR codes are quite similar to bar codes in that they contain data that can be extracted by ‘scanning’ the code. Nowadays, no optical or magnetic gizmos are needed to read a QR code, just a mobile device with a camera. Indeed, most modern smartphones and tablets don’t even require the installation of decoding apps or software – simply point your device at the code to instantly go to whatever is embedded within it.
Where QR codes differ from bar codes is in the data they can hold. For example, did you know that a single QR code can hold up to 7,089 characters or 300 alphanumeric characters? That makes them more space-efficient than traditional bar codes as they carry the information horizontally and vertically.
While QR codes often just contain URLs, they have many other uses. In fact, COVID saw a resurgence in their use, as they allowed contactless access to restaurant menus and tracking apps. Other places where you may have seen QR codes in use include:
- Mobile boarding passes as sent by airlines to your mobile device following online check-in.
- tickets for trains, buses, events, etc.
- Online banking security apps that use QR codes as part of the log-in process.
- Public gardens, museums, landmarks, etc. At these places, you can often find signs with QR codes. Scanning those codes with your phone provides explanatory information on whatever it is you are looking at.
Of course, there are countless other applications for these versatile codes.
Why Use a QR Code?
Despite having their origins in manufacturing, many other uses for QR codes have been found both in the print and online worlds. Here are just a few examples of ways you can use them:
- By placing a QR code containing your company URL on your business card, people can use their phones to scan it and be taken directly to your company website.
- Add a code on your website’s contact page. Visitors can then scan the code to be taken to the precise location of your office on Google maps.
- You could have a code on your contact page that lets visitors message you directly from their mobile devices. The code opens the visitor’s email app on their phone and automatically populates the email field with your email address. Telephone numbers can be directly accessed in a similar fashion.
- You can use QR codes to send discount coupons to mobile devices or via email. Customers can redeem the codes in your physical store without the hassle of printing hard copy coupons – instead, they just need to present the QR code at the store checkout.
- Like some online banking apps, you can use QR codes as part of two-factor security on your website, either for registered users to access the members’ area or for administrators to access the backend. After entering their username, users/administrators get a QR code. Scanning that code provides a one-time password that the user must enter correctly to gain access.
- eCommerce store owners can use QR codes to help identify and track products and orders. This is useful for order management, stock control, etc.
Overall, QR codes help make your users’ lives easier, and when they have a good experience with a website, they tend to stay engaged longer. Furthermore, QR code usage is trackable, allowing businesses to monitor their use for marketing and business strategy purposes.
Finally, one great thing about QR codes is they can almost become works of art thanks to a wide range of customization options. For example, they can be of different shapes and colors, plus you can control the elements used for the ‘bars.’ Remember, people love things that look different from the norm, so make your codes as wacky as possible to grab their attention. However, if you need to be more professional, just make them match your corporate branding.
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How to Use QR Codes with WordPress
Probably the easiest method of adding QR codes to WordPress content is to use an online QR code generator, such as Flowcode or qrcodemonkey. Many are free, but you may need a paid subscription for advanced customizations or functionality.
After you have generated your QR code using an online generator, you can download and save it as an image file for embedding into your WordPress posts and pages or added to printed material.
Creating QR Codes in WordPress Using a Plugin
While many online QR code generators are available, plugins are a better solution for WordPress because they integrate code generation functionality right into your website, eliminating the need to upload them as images.
Here are some great examples of QR code plugins that are currently available:
Kaya QR Code Generator
Kaya QR Code Generator is a simple plugin for adding static or dynamic QR codes to your WordPress content using either a widget or shortcode.
With Kaya QR Code Generator, you can add codes to any content area, including pages, posts, sidebars, WooCommerce products, etc. Also, the codes can redirect users to a link, text, or even a Bitcoin address.
A variety of customization options are available, including alignment, size, color, etc., allowing you to get your codes looking exactly how you want them.
Kaya QR Code Generator is a free plugin.
Master QR Generator
Next on my list is Master QR Generator. This freemium plugin automatically generates a dynamic QR code each time a new post, page, or custom post is published on your site. Users can then scan the code with their smartphone to go to the new content.
The free version of Master QR Generator allows you to create DotScale QR codes. The size and range of the codes are adjustable, plus it is possible to exclude them from post types. Furthermore, the plugin supports meta boxes.
If you upgrade to the premium version of Master QR Generator, you will get a wider range of customization tools, plus you can bulk-print QR codes in PDF format. Furthermore, the plugin includes an integral widget and shortcode for creating custom links to URLs, Google Maps locations, WiFi access, contact details, and WhatsApp chats. There is also a Master QR Generator add-on for Elementor, enabling you to embed QR codes from that.
The core version of Master QR Generator is free. Three premium versions are available:
- ‘Single’ costs $25 per year and covers one website
- ‘Plus’ is $55 for a lifetime subscription for one domain. Plus adds some extra features over Single.
- ‘Infinite’ is identical to Plus but is valid for up to 100 sites.
Premium versions come with a 7-day moneyback guarantee.
Despite being a relatively simple WordPress plugin, Qyrr allows you to jazz up your QR code game thanks to a wide range of customization options.
Qyrr gives you complete control over the color of your QR codes, plus there are configurations for the corner radius and quiet zone. Furthermore, adding a custom logo and label is possible, plus the plugin supports Google Fonts. The advantage of customizing QR codes is that you can match them to your website’s palette or corporate branding.
With Qyrr, you can embed your customized QR codes anywhere you want, including posts, pages, and products, as well as PDF documents like invoices or packing slips.
Qyrr is free.
Next on my list of WordPress QR code plugins is QR Redirector. This is a free plugin for reusing offsite QR codes that you previously published in newsletters, contests, marketing material, etc.
QR Redirector works by creating a new custom QR Redirect post type. A QR code is generated from that pointing to the post’s permalink, and you are at liberty to specify any destination URL for the post to redirect users to. You can change the destination at any time without having to recreate the promotional artwork – users will always land on the current link.
As QR Redirector is free, there are limits on the customization options for the codes. However, it is a helpful tool if you regularly use QR codes in printed material and don’t wish to lose customers due to the embedded links expiring and sending them to a dead page.
QR Redirector is free and available in the WordPress plugin directory.
Easy PayPal Events
If you sell ticketed events using PayPal, Easy PayPal Events can make your life much easier.
This freemium plugin allows you to create events, and whenever a customer makes a purchase, they receive an e-ticket by email. That e-ticket contains a QR code that you can use to check in the ticket holder on the day of the event.
Furthermore, the free version of Easy PayPal Events allows you to view ticket sales in your WordPress admin panel, plus it has integrated support for 20 languages and 25 currencies.
Upgrading to Easy PayPal Events Pro adds additional administrative functions, such as event cloning, tax management, limited quantity tickets, separate PayPal accounts for each event, etc.
The core Easy PayPal Events plugin is free. Upgrading to Pro costs $39.99 per year for a single site, $89.95 for up to five, and $149.99 for unlimited domains. All purchases come with a 30-day moneyback guarantee.
QR Code WooCommerce
If you run an eCommerce store, QR Code WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin that uses QR codes to make your store more accessible by mobile devices.
The plugin generates QR codes for simple and variable product types, and discount coupons. These can be made into printable PDFs, allowing store owners to reach offline users, for example, via printed marketing materials or advertisements in magazines and newspapers. Potential customers can then scan the codes with their mobile devices to go directly to the products in your store.
Furthermore, suppose you run a physical store. In that case, you can print the QR codes as labels and attach them to your products for checkout and inventory management purposes.
QR Code WooCommerce is a totally free plugin.
Two Factor Authentication
If you want to secure your WordPress site with QR codes, the Two Factor Authentication plugin could be ideal.
By default, access to WordPress is via a single password, which makes it relatively easy to hack. However, two-factor authentication (TFA) adds another level of security. This plugin does that by displaying a QR code after the user has entered their password. When the user scans the QR with a mobile device, they get a one-time password that will allow them to complete the log-in process. Furthermore, because the QR code contains the one-time password, it is unnecessary for the mobile to be connected to the internet to obtain it.
One of the best things about the Two Factor Authentication plugin is you can configure access permissions and trusted devices. That gives you full control over who must use TFA to access your site.
You can read about some other two factor authentication plugins that use QR codes in the WPLift article ‘How to Add Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) in WordPress (2021)‘
Two Factor Authentication costs £19 per month for one site, £29 for five, and £59 for up to 25 domains.
Hopefully, this article has given you plenty of ideas for using QR Codes in WordPress. Furthermore, it has also provided some suggestions on plugins to help you create and add them to your content, so hopefully, you will be able to find a use for these handy codes on your website. For further reading on QR codes, check out qrcode.com, which is by Denso Wave, the inventor of the system
Have you seen any other interesting or novel uses of QR Codes, either on or offline? And are you already using them yourself? Either way, please feel free to leave a comment below.