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This publication is a home run! Directed precisely at those who have to learn this info to stay in & succeed in business. All is bright, informative, colorful and spot on.

Rob Krieger,
Checker Distributors

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WebCents is the single most helpful magazine dealing with websites and the fabric industry! Keep up the good work!

Suzi Soderlund,
Marbled Arts

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Loved the first issue!

Wanda Makela,
The Bunkhouse Quilt Shop

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Thanks for producing such great informative tools for a smarter industry.

Kyle Sanchez,
Robert Kaufman Fabrics

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  • QR Codes and How to Get Them

    QR (Quick Response) codes have been around since 1994, but it’s only been in the last few years that consumers have become accustomed to seeing and using them. The basic way that they work is this:

    • QR code is generated using a specified URL, text, phone number or SMS.
    • Smartphone user opens downloaded QR code reader app.
    • Using the reader, the user scans the QR code, smartphone automatically opens to linked URL.

    QR codes are used primarily to link your customer to special content. That might be a coupon, a free pattern, a sales flyer or an events page. You can also create QR codes with your phone number, an SMS message or simply text, depending on your needs.

    For marketing purposes, it’s always a good idea to link to a page you’ve made specifically for that QR code, rather than your main website. People tend to use QR codes looking for an ‘in’ of some sort, whether it’s a tutorial video link or a sneak peek at upcoming classes.

    For example, using your phone’s QR code reader scan this one:

    using the original URL

    I used Kaywa QR to generate this code with its original, and lengthy, QR code. You can see there are plenty of pixels and not only does it look cluttered, but some QR code readers may have trouble deciphering it.

    One way to avoid the possible mis-reading (or refusal to read) a complex QR code is to use a shortened URL. If you are not familiar with link shortening, it’s a quick way to make a long and complicated URL into a short (and less overwhelming) URL. I use bit.ly but there are several available: goo.gl, tinyurl.com, and is.gd, among others.

    using a shortened URL

    I used bit.ly to shorten the URL I used in the above example to create this simpler code.

    There is no difference in the end result (both link to the same page), but the visual difference is worth noting. In addition, the simpler code is easier for code readers to decipher.

    To get a QR code, you can visit a number of sites. Here at WebCents, we tend to use Kaywa QR , Quikqr, and (when I feel like getting fancy) QR Stuff. That last one allows you to manipulate the color, which is always fun.

    Share your experience–how have you used QR codes personally and for your business?

  • Checker Mobile Made Better

    Checker Distributors introduced their Checker Mobile app last fall and since then have taken customer feedback to heart, making the app even better. They’ve added four new features:

    • Stock status on every item, every where.
      Plan your orders effectively! You now have information on every screen about the In-stock and Pre-order status of every product Checker carries.
    • A Running Cart total on every page.
      We take the mystery out of knowing the value of the products in your cart. Save time by viewing your running cart total on every screen.
    • What’s New and Reorder Notifications
      We save you time by showing you what you’ve missed since the last time you logged in. You’re alerted on your home screen informing you about any new Checker items, in addition to suggestions for reordering.
    • Reorder Suggestions
      We help you figure out what to reorder. On every product detail screen, we make suggestions for reordering based on your purchase history. You also have convenient access to all suggestions right on your Account page.

    For more information on the Checker Mobile app: http://mobile.checkerdist.com/info/.

  • Facebook + Instagram = Facebook Camera App

    Late last week, Facebook announced their new baby, Facebook Camera. Similar to Instagram (which Facebook recently purchased), the app lets you take quick photos, alter them (or not) with a dozen-plus filters, and share them with those you are connected to on Facebook.

    You can easily save images to your phone and use pictures from your phone’s camera library. Batch uploads for a new album, or add them one at a time, if that’s better for you. Either way, it will post to your Facebook Wall.

    Downloaded it and still don’t quite get it? The Verge crafted this video how-to for the app. You can read more about their take on the app on their site.

    Facebook Camera is available for iPhones, iPads, and iPods only at this time with no word on an Android app.

  • Twitter Shakes Up Its Privacy Policy

    You may have received the email this week, too, about the changes at Twitter

    They are adding Tailored Suggestions, a list of Twitter users you might want to follow based on your visits to websites that are integrate Twitter buttons or widgets. It hasn’t been rolled out for everyone yet, but I was able to check it out with our Twitter profile, and it worked well, giving me a list of social media and small business supporters to follow. More information here about how it works, as well as how to get out of it, if you’d like.

    Twitter has clarified ways to set your preferences to limit, modify or remove the information they collect, including the Do Not Track (DNT) browser setting, which stops the collection of information used for tailored suggestions.

    The revised Terms of Service clarifies how Twitter works and the small changes and formatting improvements they recently made, including new headings for easy reference and updated descriptions of services.

    The most important thing to keep to in mind? Their very first tip:

    Take a minute to read over their new Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

  • And then… Instagram is sold to Facebook

    Instagrahams from Bakerella Instagram just can’t stay out of the news lately, it seems. First there was the hubbub at SXSW when they brought up the idea, yet again, of opening up to more than iPhone users. Then last week, the announced the Instagram for Android app. There were shouts of joy from Android users and claims of birthright by iPhone users.

    Then this morning, Instagram announced that it was being “acquired” by Facebook. For one billion dollars in cash and Facebook stocks.

    How will this change the app? No one can say, though Facebook asserts that it will remain a standalone app. They will continue to employ Instagram’s twelve developers, and Kevin Systrom, Instagram’s CEO, assures that they will all continue working together to improve the app.