API is short for Application Programming Interface. An API is an intermediary that relays communication between two programs in a format each respective application can interpret. This allows owners to expose a part of the product’s functionality to third parties while keeping the rest of the application safe.
As a marketer or content developer, this is a great chance to access the systems of major products and try to create new functionality.
What’s an open API?
An open API, also referred to as a public API, is publicly published and freely shared. Once published, an open API can be used by anyone in any way without organization interference.
However, because the proprietary organization needs to maintain a level of safety and management with the tool, there are certain limits to open APIs. API management ensures the application remains the best it can be to ensure all users enjoy the same benefits.
Publishing an open API might seem counterintuitive because of the security challenges. However, it can also be an effective way of encouraging innovation and making your product better suited for the market.
Best Free APIs
Sejda PDF API
QRcode Monkey API
Yahoo Search Marketing API
New York Times API
Mashape for APIs
We’ve rounded up a list of the best free APIs you can use for your marketing or content development projects.
With the HubSpot API, you can build a custom solution specifically for your business. You’re able to add advanced functionality to an already powerful marketing software and sync your HubSpot account with other tools.
Hunter API for email allows you to find or verify the email addresses of professionals and companies. It can come in handy if you want to reach people whose contact information isn’t readily available publicly.
The Sejda PDF API for website integration allows you to integrate its PDF tools with your website and fill out PDF forms online. It also lets you streamline communication with others (such as vendors) by automatically sharing signed documents or PDF forms they need to fill out. Your customers can also copy your PDF templates easily.
Who says work always has to be serious? Placekitten randomly generates amusing pictures of cute cats and kittens. You can use it to improve the mood around your website or simply put a smile on a colleague’s face.
Another fun API is the APIMeme. It lets you generate memes using a simple interface. With over 100 popular meme characters (like Condescending Wonka, Confession Bear, Confused Gandalf, Eminem, and Family Guy Brian), all that’s missing is a dose of your wit.
Use QuickChart to quickly generate chart and graph images that you can embed in email, chatbots, and SMS. It uses Chart.js, a robust open-source charting library. You can create a simple chart with a single URL. For more sophisticated charts, use the POST request.
IPLegit is a service that allows you to identify bad users on your application using their IP address. The tool tracks millions of IP addresses to give you data on their fraud scores. You can then use this information to block known bad actors before they ever get to your product. This is one of the most important APIs you can use for cybersecurity.
While it’s not entirely free, IPLegit offers 5,000 free requests per day — enough to get started.
The Shutterstock API provides access to Shutterstock’s library, allowing you to search, view information, preview, license, and download media. This includes royalty-free images, music tracks, and video clips. Use it to improve your site’s aesthetics and express your brand better with high-quality media.
Although all three are payment gateways, Square is unlike Stripe and PayPal. Rather than just letting customers send you payments, it lets you customize the payment gateway itself. You can create gateways for your mobile app, website, and even your physical point-of-sale system. This improves the checkout process and user experience in general.
Note: The API is free, but Square charges a processing fee for all transactions.
Telegram is a messaging service with two APIs. The first is the Bot API, which lets you connect bots to Telegram — allowing you to use the messages as an interface. The second is the Telegram API that lets you build your own version of Telegram with full customization of the design.
Crawling tools are effective because they can access internet data anonymously. This makes large amounts of data available for analysis and interpretation for any team. Few can do it like Common Crawl, which builds and maintains a repository of data, then makes it accessible by anyone.
IFTTT makes it possible to make your applications and devices work together by using simple “if this, then that” criteria. This means that one action is triggered by another as defined by you.
For instance, you can set a photo or blog post to be shared across all platforms whenever it’s posted on one platform. If you want to go bigger, you can build a smart house system that guides the pizza guy all the way to your bedroom so you never have to get up to open the door.
Lastly is the API for APIs — a marketplace for APIs. With the Mashape API, you can discover any API you need.
The Best Open APIs for Marketers & Content Developers
These options represent some of the best free open APIs that marketers and content developers can use to make their work easier and more enjoyable. Use this list to improve your next project, campaign, blog post, or website.
Editor's note: This post was originally published in March 2020 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.
Originally published Dec 8, 2020 7:00:00 AM, updated December 08 2020