Handy services such as bit.ly or is.gd (my go-to is bit.ly for reasons I’ll explain later) are very quick, easy solutions for reducing the length of your link. Link shortening is useful for an array of activities on the social web, so I’m guessing by now you’re familiar with the concept.
Why shorten the URL before creating a QR code:
– Reduce amount of data being encoded in the QR code – If you have a crazy long URL, all that information has to get digitally squeezed down to create you code. While QR codes are famous for holding lots-and-lots of data, it’s still best to keep it lean whenever possible. That’s because simple content results in a simple QR code (less visually dense), making the code easier to scan successfully.
Here’s an example for you. Compare the patterns of these QR codes based on the length of the URL I used to create them.
Clearly, the second code has a much simpler pattern that will provide a more reliable scan when printed or posted. While the industry rule of thumb is to go no smaller than 1″x1″ when placing a QR code, the second code would like scan just fine if you needed to scale it down a bit for a smaller application. However, the first code might actually prove challenging to scan even at 1″x1″ depending on kind of smartphone and app being used for the scanning.
I choose bit.ly for my link shortening needs because this free service offers great results tracking via a user-friendly dashboard and also allows for customization of shortened links. I even have a PRO account that allows me to use my own vanity base URL [iren.es] for my codes.
It’s best to customize a shortened code so that the person who scans will be able understand what the link leads to once the URL shows up in their scan history log on their QR code-reading app. If you shorten codes without customizing them, your consumer will only see meaningless URLs in their history logs.