5 Types of APIs Your Online Business Needs in 2020
How many times have you heard your developer say they’re going to integrate a specific API on your website or mobile application? Chance are, this happens more often than you’d like. If you’re not familiar with the world of software programming, the term API can give you the chills. However, in today’s day and age, growing an online business without using APIs is becoming increasingly challenging.
From displaying an office location on your website to letting users make secure payments on your mobile app – APIs offer a wide range of benefits. However, the sheer variety of APIs available on the internet can be overwhelming. It’s essential for you to find the right APIs that’ll enhance the functionalities of your website or app. Depending on the niche and type of your business, you’ll need to use very specific APIs.
So, how do you go about selecting the right APIs for your website and mobile? In this blog, we’ve outlined the common types of APIs that most of today’s businesses need. But before delving deeper, let’s first understand the concept of APIs and why they’re important.
APIs: A Closer Look
The term API stands for an application programming interface. In simple terms, it refers to an interface that lets a software application share information and data with other systems. In other words, APIs let different software applications seamlessly communicate with each other. The history of APIs can be traced back to February 2000 when SalesForce made their API public at the IDG Demo conference.
If you’ve visited a few online stores or use any mobile app, you’ve likely come across more than one APIs. In fact, APIs are the reason you can directly login to an app using your social media profiles. Likewise, an API is what lets you chat with a company’s customer support team via their website. You can even connect your dating profile to your Spotify account and highlight your music preferences.
So, what is it that makes APIs such an indispensable part of modern websites and apps? To begin with, they let you easily add a diverse array of sophisticated features and functionalities to your website/mobile app. Also, they save developers a ton of time and effort.
In the absence of reliable APIs, developers would’ve had to spend hours manually writing codes to implement various features. Instead of doing that, they just have to integrate the right API with an app/website to add a particular functionality. Also, if you’re planning to build a website on your own, APIs make the job easier.
Now that you’re familiar with the awesome things you can accomplish using APIs, you can’t wait to find the right ones for your business. In the following sections, we’ll take a look at the most essential APIs that today’s online businesses should use. Let’s get started.
If you’re building a website or app in 2020, you can’t do away without using a few social media APIs. Whether you’re building an e-commerce store or a ride-sharing platform, these APIs are a must.
Here are a few things you can accomplish with these APIs:
- Let users login to your website/app using their social media profiles
- Add social sharing and social follow buttons on your website
- Let users search for trending content on Instagram without exiting your app
- Create and manage Facebook ad campaigns
All leading social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram offer their own APIs. Make sure you select one that best suits your needs.
Location APIs such as Google Maps and Places let you embed location data and maps on your website or app. In their simplest form, you can use these APIs to display the exact location of your physical store or office on your website. Also, you can let users monitor location data and even navigate directions from your app.
For instance, if you’re launching a food ordering app, you can use the Google Maps API to let users track how far their order has reached. Location APIs are also useful for ride-sharing apps, travel booking platforms, and more.
Payment gateway APIs are likely the most common type of APIs you’ll come across on the internet. They let you use various payment gateways to securely make online payments without existing a website or app. Needless to say, these are a must for every e-commerce business. Popular examples include PayPal and Stripe API.
Wouldn’t it be great if you could let your customers check the day’s weather on your website or app? What if you could use this weather data to inform critical business decisions? This is exactly what the best weather APIs let you accomplish.
From temperature and air quality to humidity and precipitation levels – weather APIs let you display a wide array of information on your website/app. You can even highlight information related to seasonal allergies and flu outbreaks. From smart products and healthcare apps to event planning and travel booking – these APIs are used across various domains.
While you’ll find a broad spectrum of free weather APIs, it’s important to select one that’s reliable, secure, and accurate. With the Dark Sky API no longer readily available (thanks to Apple), it’s essential to find use a suitable alternative such as AccuWeather, Weatherbit, MeteoGroup, ClimaCell API, etc. Make sure you check out the features of each available option and ClimaCell API’s comparison before making an informed decision.
This type of API gives you access to a wide array of critical data related to your website. From the daily and monthly average traffic to bounce rate and time-on-site, you can check various parameters related to your website’s performance. Google Analytics API is the most common example of website analytics APIs.
Have you used any other powerful APIs to build your online business? Share your tips in the comments section below.