Everything I do (at work) is defined by technology. When I think about my work life, I can't tell you how many programs, tools, and apps I use daily. For me to work correctly, these tools must work without friction. To ensure smooth sailing, I use APIs. However, I have worked with enough companies that had no idea how to streamline their processes with the help of APIs. And that's something, considering there are hundreds of APIs for finance, marketing, payment, e-commerce, even dad jokes, and so many other categories covering everything we do with applications or apps to do with other applications.
So, this article goes out to all the Startups out there that are looking for ways to work more efficiently, want to provide a great customer experience, or are looking for a way to deal with big sets of data. Here are 5 APIs every Startup should know about.
API stands for Application Programming Interface. APIs allow applications to interact with each other to share data or perform specific processes.
An API includes three elements: routines, protocols, and tools. Routines refer to the specific tasks or functions a program performs. A protocol is a format that communicates data between applications, and the tools are the components needed to construct new programs.
An API can help you make your product, website, or business even more powerful. Stop worrying about collecting or searching for information and let an API do the hard work. These APIs are a great addition to every Startup, especially because there is a free version for every API below.
Manually checking your customers' VAT numbers can be a pain, but it is necessary for the correct tax treatment. Here is where VAT APIs come in. They help you automate your VAT validation process by checking government databases of the EU, Australia, Norway, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom in real time.
My recommendation: vatcheckapi.com. It is free and allows up to 200 requests per hour.
Number verification APIs are widely used in contact forms. They allow you to validate the phone numbers upon entry to ensure you have a clean database and can contact your customers.
Once integrated, if a customer or lead enters a phone number into your form, the API will check a database of carrier information and confirm the number provided exists.
My recommendation: numlookupapi.com. They offer a free plan for 100 requests a month; their paid plans start at $9.99 for 7,000 requests.
Currency APIs help you with your exchange rate conversions. Suppose you have a website or online store that operates internationally. In that case, you might want to provide the prices of your products or services in the local currency of your users. Currency APIs can help you with this, whether you need live data or historical exchange rates.
My recommendation: freecurrencyapi.com. As the name implies, this solution is 100% free and offers 5,000 monthly requests.
In business, it is essential to know your visitors and customers. It helps your traffic, enhances user experience, and even impacts conversions. That is why every company needs an IP lookup API. It offers you information about your customers, like their country, city, and time zone. With this API, you can decide what your visitors see based on their location, whether it's their local language or geo-specific content. If you want to know more about the topic, I wrote an article about geotargeting.
My recommendation: freeiplookupapi.com. For the free plan, you get 50,000 requests a month!
As I said before, if my applications couldn't communicate, I wouldn't be able to do my job. Or at least I would need more time and effort. More concretely, a business's success depends on how well applications are connected and the resulting data is integrated.
APIs are essential for data-driven businesses. They can add flexibility and efficiency to your Startup. Stepping up your API game will enable smoother business process integrations across applications and improve speed, agility, consistency, and accuracy.