Obviously, the web has progressed well beyond the days when it was just a way to exchange information.
But has your website?
Does it consist of text, a few photos — maybe a link to a Youtube video — basically holding space as an internet presence and lending legitimacy to your organization or company but not much more, not doing anything?
It’s true that most of us don’t have a skilled developer on staff or the money to hire someone to enable a site to accomplish more. But API’s (Application Programming Interfaces) make it possible to put the power of the internet in your hands practically and affordably.
Basically, an API allows websites to tap into huge and hugely capable platforms in a seamless way. Some of these third-party systems are complicated and can take work by a developer to integrate into a site. But just think what it would take to develop these features independently.
Some examples of companies whose platforms have API’s :
- PayPal and others that securely accept money — either buying goods or making donations.
- TicketMaster, TicketLeap and Ovationtix, among others, that keep track of available seats, their locations and prices and that enable people to buy them.
- WooCommerce and other companies that offer complete eCommerce packages.
- PetFinder and PetPoint, which enable sites to publicize animals available for adoption.
- Video services, including YouTube and Vimeo.
“Our clients have found API’s to be extremely useful to their organizations or companies,” said Rough & Ready Media founder and owner Michelle Greene. “They are one of the best ways to extend the capabilities of a website.”
Two Rough & Ready clients that benefitted from APIs
The Peace River Wildlife Center has a large number of videos on its YouTube channel and is constantly adding more. Originally, visitors had to leave the site to view the videos on YouTube, which was an extra step for them and pulled them away from other important information such as volunteer opportunities and news about the center and related topics. To have the videos appear on the Center’s own site, its staff would have to upload videos to YouTube, copy some code and go to the Center’s site to embed the code where the video was to be shown.
Using YouTube’s API, however, Rough & Ready’s developers enabled visitors to view all of the videos on the Center’s site, which was both a convenience for users and allowed more time for them to absorb the Center’s messages and information. Using the API also meant that the Center’s staff only had to upload videos to YouTube; the API automatically displayed the video on the Center’s website.
The Humane Society of Manatee County (HSMC) was in a similar situation. It needed its site to present photos and information about its adoptable animals in an attractive way and, preferably, with a minimum of its staff’s time.
An online service called PetPoint allowed the Humane Society’s staff to upload photos and information for display on the PetPoint website. But the HSMC would either have to expect prospective adopters to leave its site to look at pets or to take its limited staff’s time to copy code from the PetPoint site and embed it in the right place on the HSMC’s website. Plus, that method did not present the pets’ photos and information in the style of the HSMC’s site or offer the pet information the HSMC wanted to include.
By using the PetPoint API, R&R developers were able to put PetPoint information and photos on the HSMC site and control the presentations so it matched the rest of the HSMC’s site and gave prospective owners all the information the shelter thought they should have.
In addition, the API automatically adds to the HSMC site all the information uploaded to the PetPoint site without any further work by its staff.
For more information about how API’s can make your website do more with less staff time, contact Rough & Ready Media.