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Here’s an easy way to autoscale. Use an API. | The Man Who Sold the Web Blog


Here’s an easy way to autoscale. Use an API.

5 Apr

So, you want to autoscale your site.  Now what?

A great and easy way to autoscale is to leverage another site’s API. What’s an API, you ask?  An API, or application program interface, is, as defined by Wikipedia, a particular set of rules and specifications that a software program can follow to access and make use of the services and resources provided by another particular software program that implements that API.  Okay, now let’s translate that into English.  An API is a tool that big sites (e.g. Google, Wikipedia, eBay, Amazon) create to allow other sites (i.e. think your site) to easily access their data.

Here are some examples.  Amazon and eBay affiliate sites all use APIs provided by Amazon and eBay.  That’s how they are able to extract all the product info they need for their own spin-off sites.  This is also how sites integrate Google Maps–by leveraging the Google Maps API.

Now, how does this help you autoscale?

An API is the doorway between your site and your site’s content.  This means you essentially don’t need to create any data yourself, because all the data you need is already created for you.  You just need to go through the API (i.e. the doorway) to get the data being requested by your site’s visitor. 

For instance, let’s examine an Amazon affiliate site selling business books.  This site doesn’t need to create a product page each business book title.  It only needs to create 1 product page.  Then, depending what the visitor is browsing or searching, that 1 product page will pull the necessary data from Amazon.  Therefore, for each unique book title browsed, unique data will be returned–resulting in a unique page.  This means, from Google or any search engine’s perspective, the site has X,XXX pages, where X,XXX equals the number of business books available on Amazon.

With the right API and site design, you can grow your site to XX,XXX pages, even XXX,XXX pages or higher–with minimal work.  Talk about autoscale at its finest!

Are you conjuring up some ideas already?  Great.  Here are some of the my favourite APIs, organized by categories (somewhat).  Think about how you can leverage these APIs to create value-add sites that autoscale.

RANDOM NEEDS

Google Maps
http://www.google.com/apis/maps/
If you have a site that has addresses or locations, pop in a Google Map.  It just makes your site looks so damn professional with a map and those pins. :)   I put it on all my niche business directories.

Facebook Connect API
https://developers.facebook.com/
These days, don’t bother creating your own membership community.  Facebook is just too big of a gorilla.  Tap into their members with Facebook Connect, which allows you to pull names, locations, networks, profile info (interests, movies, music), etc.

YouTube API
http://www.youtube.com/dev
Grab videos embeds and video info (e.g. ratings, tags, thumbnails).

FOR SITES THAT SELL

Amazon API
https://affiliate-program.amazon.com/gp/advertising/api/detail/main.html
Great product info, customer reviews, even restaurant listings!  You definitely need this if you want to make money from being an Amazon affiliate.

eBay API
http://developer.ebay.com/common/api/
Just like the Amazon API, if you’re an eBay affiliate, you need to use their API instantly scale your storefront.

FOR CONTENT

MediaWiki API
http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/API
This is Wikipedia’s API.  Good stuff here.

Twitter API
http://apiwiki.twitter.com/

Google Search API
http://code.google.com/apis/ajaxsearch/

Digg API
http://apidoc.digg.com/

Delicious API
http://del.icio.us/help/api/

Am I missing any big, useful ones? Post it as a comment and I’ll update this post accordingly.

Wanna learn more?  Well, check these blog articles then:

 

dave

http://developer.ebay.com/common/api/

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