API stands for Application Programming Interface. APIs allow developers to “save time by taking advantage of a platform’s implementation to do the nitty-gritty work.” In other words, APIs allow two applications to talk to each other, in order to automate services. Instead of coding individual actions, or pointing and clicking yourself, an API can save time and resources that your company could allocate to other things. Read on to learn about all the ways REST API can benefit your small business.
How can a REST API benefit my small business?
Web services exist to produce data that will be consumed by someone else. Take your website for example–it doesn’t exist for you! It exists for potential and current clients to interact with your business in a broader context than they would if every interaction had to be held in a brick and mortar location.
Businesses use REST APIs to run reports that ask applications to gather and send data in a particular way. Think of an Alexa device, for example–when you connect it to a smart bulb, it is utilizing an API to translate your voice command into an output, the light being turned on. Similarly, the apps and websites that you use can be automated to manage some of your business practices, effectively making your website take over some of the functions that you might otherwise be paying an entry-level staff member to accomplish. Let’s check out some of the ways that application programming interfaces can enhance your website functionality!
Translating Your Webpage to an App
Let’s say you’re a clothing brand looking to draw clients in with the ease of shopping via an app. With clothing sales taking up a huge market share as the second most frequently purchased item on mobile devices, you’d definitely be taking a step in the right direction!
However, you’ve likely already spent money building your original website, purchasing inventory, and marketing your brand. You’re in luck! With a well-coded REST API, you can automate that the information from your website be placed and regularly updated within an app interface. Although you’d likely want to hire a developer to ensure this API was plugged in to your site correctly, you wouldn’t have to front the cost of an entire app build.
Automating Your Website Services
Perhaps we’ve built an eCommerce website for you. In that case, we likely utilized a plugin called WooCommerce. With WooCommerce, we can automate a variety of services for you, such as:
- Automatically subscribing customers to an email list after they checkout.
- Automatically use purchase information to print labels to ship products.
- Automatically create and attach PDF invoices to order receipts.
The possibilities for automation don’t end there. Additionally, if you operate in eCommerce, you likely use a plugin called Stripe. If you run a subscription service, for example, you can automate recurring billing through Stripe. Additionally, you can create contacts in HubSpot, allowing you to hone your marketing efforts.
Broaden Your Marketing Reach
It’s every marketer’s dream to be able to constantly tell clients why their product is the best on the market. Applications like Constant Contact facilitate email marketing campaigns through a variety of automated services.
Gone are the days of uploading your client base to a spreadsheet and asking an assistant to manually input email addresses. Or worse, the days of mistakenly emailing the wrong set of clients because the wrong set of email addresses were uploaded. With some of the automation features of Constant Contact, users can:
- Automatically manage the access privileges of a variety of users.
- Automatically create new accounts or update billing plans.
- Automatically manage all contacts within a business’ account.
Similarly, if you’ve chosen to install an intake form on your website, REST APIs can be utilized to automatically do something with the data gathered from those forms. Quit wasting hours inputting client information into Salesforce when a code can be generated to do the same work for you!
Virtually Assist Your Business
If you have someone spending their days exporting data or making sure email communications get to the right person, stop now. REST APIs can allow you to automate those services and move that employee onto bigger and better things.
For example, at LightHouse Graphics, we utilize a productivity tool called Asana. We can automate a variety of emails and other notifications to become tasks, which saves our team the intermediary click. It may not sound like much, but multiple clicks a day can quickly add up to valuable minutes wasted! We’d prefer to spend those minutes catering to your marketing needs. Using a REST API, we can program things like automatically marking completed blogs on the editorial calendar when posted. (This blogger is a fan).
Need Web Development Services? Check Out LightHouse Graphics!
There is almost always a scenario in which you will want another website or application to be able to interact with your content in an automated way. Buying software that allows you to automate and crafting in automated code allows you to work in a technological world without barriers. By automating many of your day-to-day operations, you can cut out employee hours spent on simple, point and click tasks, and direct your staff to activities much more meaningful for their time.
Although we know the idea of inputting code into your website can be daunting, we can assure you that the time it will save your business, in the long run, is well worth it! With our managed hosting services, you not only get the benefits of boutique hosting services, but you are granted four hours of web development services per month. Imagine how much your business could automate if our talented developers dedicated those four hours to implementing REST APIs within the code of your website! The possibilities are truly endless. To usher your business into the future, contact LightHouse Graphics today!