How to Use a URL Shortener in a QR Code - dummies

How to Use a URL Shortener in a QR Code

By Joe Waters

A URL shortener is useful for services like Twitter where the number of characters matter. However, the value of a URL shortener for QR Codes has to do with density. Because the URL is encoded within the black modules that comprise a QR Code, the longer the URL the denser the QR code and the more difficult it is to decode with a reader.

A shorter QR Code means fewer black modules and an easier, faster scan.

Here’s how to create and track a QR Code with the popular URL shortener service Bitly:

  1. Go to

  2. Type the web address you want to shorten in the Shorten Links Here text box and click Shorten.

    The shortened link appears below the text box.

  3. Click the Info Page+ link.

    On the right, you’ll see a QR Code with the shortened link under it that you can now use for your campaign.

During the campaign, visit Bitly to track your QR Code.


The main advantage of using the tracking system that comes with a QR Code generator site — such as or — is that you can track any data type you want (such as URL, vCard, or phone number), whereas a URL shortener service tracks only a URL.