Generate a business QR code (2D barcode) to add to your business page

BB-QR-300x300Did you know you can now add a QR Code (Quick Response code, or 2D barcode) to your business listing? . It’s surprisingly easy to do if you follow this simple guide (it’s a bit of a workaround right now, but we’ll automate this at some point).

Firstly, lets understand why we might want to generate and add a QR Code to your business profile.

QR Codes are a kind of barcode, but instead of storing data in just one dimension, they store it in 2 dimensions.  The result of this is they can store (and present!) much more data, including links, geo coordinates, and text.  The other key feature of QR Codes is that instead of requiring a horrible chunky hand-held scanner to scan them, many modern mobile phones equipped with cameras can scan them (if not already pre-installed on your phone, software is available for many phones to download, and it will soon be native on all phones – already MOST phones sold in Japan have this built in, and my Android Phone HTC Magic and my wife’s iPhone both have software available for free download).

The image above is a QR Code that holds some basic data relating to Brownbook, see if your phone can read it (if you don’t have software pre-installed, here’s a good place to get QR Code reader software for your phone)

The point of all this is that if you can create/generate a QR code for your business you can use it in any promotional media that you produce, whether online, or in print, and any reader can scan the QR Code with their mobile phone to get directed perhaps to your website, or a special exclusive offer for example, without having to write down or remember anything.

How to create the code for your Brownbook page:

As a prerequisite you need to have claimed your listing, and got the ‘customize my page‘ promo to allow you to add stuff to your business profile page. Then do one of the following methods:

Method 1 – handcrafted

1. Navigate to your Brownbook business page, and enter the ‘customize my page’ mode.

2. Add an ‘HTML unit’ to your business page, and ‘edit’ the unit by adding the following HTML

<img src=”<img src=”http://chart.apis.google.com/chart?cht=qr&chs=350×350&chl=TEXT_YOU_WANT_TO_SHOW”&gt;

3. In place of the “TEXT_YOU_WANT_TO_SHOW” add whatever information you wish to be encoded into the QR Code, using the following codes for special characters:

  • use “+” to denote a space
  • use “%2C” for a comma (“,”)
  • use “%0A” for a new line
  • use “%3A%2F%2F” for “://”, as in http:// (eg “http%3A%2F%2Fwww.brownbook.net”)
  • use “%2F” for a forward slash (“/”) (as used in URLs)

Here’s the one I made earlier:

<img src=”http://chart.apis.google.com/chart?cht=qr&chs=350×350&chl=Brownbook.net%2C+the+world’s+local+business+directoryhttp%3A%2F%2Fwww.brownbook.netTwitter+-+http%3A%2F%2Ftwitter.com%2Fbrownbookupdate”&gt;

So, if you wanted to say the following:

MyCompany.com

the best for widgets and gadgets

http://www.mycompany.com/mypromo

You’d use this (I’ve made the special characters bold for clarity):

MyCompany.com%0Athe+best+for+widgets+and+gadgets%0Ahttp%3A%2F%2Fhttp://www.mycompany.com%2Fmypromo

and, putting it all together, you get this:

<img src=”http://chart.apis.google.com/chart?cht=qr&chs=350×350&chl=MyCompany.comthe+best+for+widgets+and+gadgetshttp%3A%2F%2Fwww.mycompany.com%2Fmypromo”&gt;

Method 2 – simplified

1. Go here QR Code generator – http://qrcode.kaywa.com/

2. Select Content type: “text”, Enter the text you want, choose size “L”, hit generate

3. You now have an image created which is your QR code

4. Right click (if you’re using windows) and ‘save file as’ to a place on your compute

5. Now navigate to your Brownbook business page, and enter the ‘customize my page’ mode.

6. Add an ‘image unit’ to your business page, and ‘edit’ the unit, upload the image your QR Code image you created

7. Job done

Useful links and info about QR codes right here:

Wikipedia – QR Codes

QR Code generator

Get QR Code scanner applications for popular phones here

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