This article will help you understand the difference between free QR Code Generators and professional QR Code Generators that are paid.
You are planning to use QR Codes on print or digital media to engage your audience. And you have some knowledge of QR Codes because you had created one long ago using an online free QR Code generator.
But now, QR Code generation services seem to be paid and asking for a subscription fee. This makes you wonder why you need to pay for a service that's free.
It's true that there are still many 'free' QR Code generators that allow you to generate basic QR Codes that might do the job—redirect to a website, show contact information, show text, etc. These QR Codes are called Static QR Codes. If that's all you need—a plain black-and-white QR Code that encodes some information (URL, Vcard, text), then you should go ahead and use one of these free tools. The QR Code will just be like a barcode.
Free QR Code generators creating static QR Code cannot do much harm but the QR Code will lack important functionality and might not be suitable for your professional/business needs (explained below).
Most serious marketers go for Dynamic QR Codes. For now think of them as advanced QR Codes with higher functionality. And yes, there are 'free' online QR Code generators that allow you to create Dynamic QR Codes for 'free'. If that's true, why go for professional QR Code generators (such as Scanova)?
- Need ad-free redirection: Free QR Code generators will show your end-users mobile ads before they redirect to the target content. Think about it—how else are they sustaining their business? Dynamic QR Codes require active domains and servers. How are they paying for it? Scanova is a 100% ad-free service
- Need high-resolution images: If you're looking to print QR Codes or even show them onscreen, you need the QR Code images in high-resolution (have sharp edges and do not pixelate). This is possible only when you get the QR Code in vector format i.e. in SVG or EPS. All free QR Code generators will give the image in PNG/JPEG, which are raster formats. Not sure what all of this means? Check with your design team
- Need scan tracking: If you're a serious marketer, you probably want to calculate campaign ROI. For that you'll need to know how many scans you got. If you create a Static QR Code, it'll be difficult to differentiate traffic from all channels (website, QR Code, SMS link, etc.). If you use Dynamic QR Codes using a professional service provider, you will get readymade reports as well as integration possibilities (Google Analytics, Webhooks, etc.). With Scanova, you can go one step further and track exact GPS location of the scans
- Need to edit content: With Dynamic QR Codes, it is also possible to edit the target URL without the need to create a new QR Code. So you can continue using the same QR Code and edit target content in minutes. This will not only save a lot of back-and-forth with design teams and printing costs but also give you more control over the content of the QR Code
- Need to attract more scans: It is a well known fact that branded QR Codes attract more scans than plain black-and-white QR Codes. This is because the scanning audience understands that a custom-designed QR Code is a point-of-engagement compared to a standard black-and-white QR Code, which can be mistaken for a QR Code for 'official use'. You can use a professional QR Code generator such as Scanova to design your QR Codes. Most free tools don't have this feature
- Need timely support and expertise: If you are running a major QR Code campaign and a high number of scans are expected, you want a service provider that can provide timely technical support and expertise particularly to ensure high scannability and uninterrupted service. Can you trust a 'free' online tool to give you timely support? Is there even a face or business behind that 'free' online website?
- Need special landing pages: Professional QR Code service providers today do much more than generate QR Codes. Even if you don't have a website, microsite, or any landing page for your content, you can use the service provider's platform to create mobile-optimized landing pages. For example, Scanova allows you to create the following special QR Codes— Wedding Invitation, Event, Product, Coupon, Social Media Profile, VCard Profile, Formatted Content, Documents, Audio Files, and App Links. In all of these QR Codes, you don't need a website or hosting service. Scanova will generate and host the landing pages/files for you
- Need control over Dynamic QR Codes: Say you need a Dynamic QR Code for a long-term use case (printing on a book, hoarding, product packaging, etc.) and you create one using free QR Code tool. After a couple of years, this free tool shuts down (probably because they couldn't afford domain and server costs). The QR Codes that you have printed will stop working. Using one of Scanova's features (custom sub-domain), you can ensure that you use Scanova's features while you have subscription and still own the QR Code when you do not subscribe or even after the unlikely possibility that Scanova shuts down
- Need information on who is scanning the QR Code: When Dynamic QR Codes are scanned, it is possible to get information such as time/date of scan, city/country, handset, etc. Using Scanova's Lead Generation feature, it is also possible to capture contact information (with permission and manual input) such as name, email, phone number, or any other information you need
- Need data security: When you create a Dynamic QR Code using a free online tool, can you trust the service to keep your data secure? Scanova is GDPR compliant, which means that all data—at rest and in-transit—is encrypted. Also, Scanova is ISO 27001: 2013 certified which means we ensure the best practices in terms of protection and handling of data and its security
In summary, if your QR Code use case is very basic and you are looking to make it work like a barcode (show some text or redirect to a website), then go ahead and create a Static QR Code using a free online tool. However, if you are a marketer working for a business use case, we recommend using a professional QR Code tool such as Scanova.
If you still have questions, feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org