How Local Businesses Can Benefit From Utilizing Existing APIs on Their Websites

An API – Application Programming Interface – is an integral part of modern-day web design. It not only saves developers a lot of time and effort but also enables owners of the websites to reap its benefits. 

This is especially applicable for local businesses that cannot afford to build custom APIs from scratch. However, that is not the only way local businesses reap benefits from having readymade APIs on their websites. Here are a few more ways they do so.

Setting Up Dedicated Features for the Community

Say you run a news website in Montgomery, Alabama, and you want to keep your community informed about the local weather. So you install a weather API that will fetch the weather forecast of that particular city. To keep visitors informed, the API will fetch real-time weather data from the weather radars, analyze it, and then display the details. 

You can choose an API that provides details of the weather in Montgomery tomorrow, the rest of the week, and even the entire month. You can use a beautiful, yet sleek and user-friendly UI that will add a bit of finesse to your website as well, apart from displaying how sunny it is going to be, or how much rain to expect. You can also have it display the air quality of the area.

By having such APIs, like weather or maybe local traffic, you will be helping the community. Locals will turn to your business website to know about such key information.  This in turn will increase your website traffic.

Try not to have too many of these APIs though. Two will be enough, like the weather report one and another for traffic updates.

Saving Costs On Development

Building a relatively simple API can cost you anything from $10,000 to $20,000. A standard API goes through various development phases. These include research, market analysis, requirement and purpose analysis, prototyping, building an MVP (Minimum Viable Product), deployment, monitoring and documentation, and so on. The production and deployment phases consume most of the budget. 

The development cost of an API also depends on the time it takes to build it. Usually, it will take 30-40 days to develop, test, and deploy the API for beta use. 

Costs also depend on the complexity of the design, its uses, and whether or not you are willing to integrate artificial intelligence or machine learning into the program. Using pre-built automation and integration tools will allow you to cut costs. However, it is far better to integrate a readymade API, especially if you are looking to save costs.

Saving Costs On Security Features

Static APIs do not require too much security. However, many dynamic APIs, mostly those that deal with a lot of personal and sensitive data, need to be secured properly. 

Take a payment gateway API as an example. It is an API that has to deal with a lot of sensitive information like bank details, card numbers, PINs, transaction details, etc. Such APIs need to be protected against threats like SQL injection, backdoors, theft, and so on. Hence, developers deploy security measures like tokens, encryptions, and signatures to protect the data and the overall system.

Ensuring such security practices for an API built from scratch can cost upwards of $10,000. Local businesses might not be able to afford that. So they turn to existing payment APIs. These APIs take the responsibility of ensuring these security features on their own shoulders. That makes it more convenient for businesses to use them.

Can Work with Less Experienced Developers

Since the APIs are readymade, they come with detailed instructions as well as proper documentation. Besides, you can also expect the API developers to provide you with tutorials on how to set things up, and troubleshoot if necessary. 

Hence, you can make do with inexperienced developers in your in-house development or IT support team. They will not require any additional training on how to handle the APIs. Besides, you can always reach out to the API’s support team if you run into problems your in-house team cannot fix.

As web design keeps getting more and more complicated, it has become important for developers to try and minimize costs and use of resources elsewhere. And using APIs can help achieve that in the easiest way possible. 

Be it a weather API or a payment gateway, local businesses, especially those which do not have a lot of funding, must turn towards this piece of technology. And they can reap its benefits from time to time if they can do it right.

Adam Hansen

Adam is a part time journalist, entrepreneur, investor and father.