In this post, you'll learn how to make money with API whether you're a developer or not. You can earn substantial money even if you offer free API on platforms like RapidAPI. So without further ado, let's get started.
You can create another source of passive income by selling APIs on RapidAPI as your online tool or deploying them in your own business.
Nowadays, the API is your key gateway to the Internet of Things and your ideal customers. But the path to API economy's success is divided into many sub-routes. You'll have to find the best one depending on your business requirements or interest level.
In this article, I will talk about several ways to profit from your APIs while offering either as a paid or free. Let's learn more about it!
API Monetization: How to Make Money With API
I have got a request on H-Educate that I should make a video on API monetization. So here we go; I've created this post and made a video on my YouTube channel as well.
Looking at the current scope and values APIs offer, you can use APIs to make money directly or indirectly. This particular phenomenon is known as API Monetization. It means that you can sell for free and paid – and can benefit from both models.
Several monetization models exist, starting from pay-as-you-go to monthly/annually subscriptions and more. Choose the one that works best for you.
6 Keys to an Incredible API
Before discussing ways to benefit from an open API, here are six must-have elements for a successful API, as recommended by John Mussie from API Science.
- Your API should provide value
- Meets the purpose & fits the targeted business model
- Simple, flexible, and easy to use
- Easy to manage & measure
- Seamless support
- Offers an optimal developer experience
All these ingredients make your API recipe tastier than ever. Ensure you do the research and rock your business. These days, API rules! If your business doesn't have or use API, you're gone!
Ways to Make Money Online with APIs
You can use several ways to generate a revenue stream by selling APIs. However, here are some popular ones:
Create Your API and Sell It
The first and most common method is creating an API and selling it. But, before selling, you need to know how to develop an API? And where to sell it?
As for the development, you can create an API with Akana easily. All you need is:
- Do your research and find a problem
- Determine all the requirements
- Design your API
- Define operations that the API will do
- Develop your first API and test it at Akana
Let's jump on the second question now. RapidAPI, the largest hub for APIs on the internet, allows you to buy and sell APIs. If you want to sell your own developed APIs, you're free to do that as well.
So, you can use it to monetize your API. Sell whatever API you want to, from tools or service websites to software or any web application. Simply add your APIs and sell access to users using different pricing tiers. Now, possibilities are limitless.
After deploying, set your pricing and select the number of requests per tier or price range. If a developer wants to access your data or API, he will pay a monthly membership fee.
Here are three steps to sell your API on RapidAPI:
- Create & upload your API
- Configure the tiers
- Let the developers use
The best thing about RapidAPI is that you can use multiple APIs with a single SDK, API key, and dashboard.
Real-life Example: How to Make Money With API
If you go to RapidAPI.com and search “Domain Authority,” there comes an API by H-educate that configures Domain Metrics like DA, PR, Spam Score, etc. See how this code is sent along with four pricing tiers.
People acquiring your APIs will choose a plan and buy its monthly subscription. This way, your API can be another passive income stream!
Now, in case you're not from a programming background or are not familiar with coding, then I'd suggest you first learn that, or you can even hire a developer to create an API for you. Later on, you can sell. The idea is to offer something valuable that can help the developers.
Why Make Money With API on RapidAPI?
The thing I like about RapidAPI is that anyone can sell their APIs. You don't have to be a corporation, a well-known developer, or anything like that. Just create and sell!
Convert Your API into an Online Tool
The second-best method is to convert APIs into an online tool. Using APIs build your SAAS (software as a service) website. Set pricing tiers. Build traffic. And monetize it via Google AdSense or any other affiliate program (if you want to).
You can either develop your APIs or use the same website: RapidAPI.
You can use this API. Copy and translate or convert it into an online tool that helps people generate hashtags. So, they can use or pay for it. For instance, you can develop an Instagram hashtag tool by simply searching “Hashtag” on the search bar.
NOTE: Same technique works for other tools.
Moreover, it also helps build a business model by accumulating an audience passively.
Make Money With Free API
Who says you can't benefit from offering your APIs for free. You can take it as a third-party tool to land your potential customers. Here are three ways selling APIs for free can still be profitable.
Collect Information About Your Customers
Learn more about your customers for better marketing campaigns. If you use APIs as a source to collect information while securing your potential customer's details, there's nothing wrong with it. It helps marketers and business owners to re-strategize their plans by understanding their potential buyers. You can also share or sell the data with other service providers.
Convert Users into Customers
You can take your free APIs as a source of advertising for your paid products. If users are satisfied with your freemium services, you can always upsell them with your paid offer. Chances are most of them will be interested in your paid service, as they already trust you.
A Way to Connect with Your Ideal Customers
Do you know what your targeted customers can be? Probably developers or other business owners, right?
Now, when you're deploying your APIs for free, you're directly collaborating with them if they are used. This way, you can always promote your (other) services or products or even upsell them!
According to Pamela Fox, the former Google developer advocate and current developer lead at Khan Academy, “In the world of APIs, the developer is always your customer, whether he/she's your true end-user or connects you to it.” That means your top priority should be the optimal developer experience.
FAQs on How to Make Money With API
In this section, we will be discussing the most frequently asked questions about making money with API.
1. What is an API?
API stands for “Application Programming Interface” and refers to the various means one company has of communicating with another company’s software internally. For instance, you can log in to any platform using Google's APIs – only if it allows Google to sign in as an option.
2. What are the benefits of using an API?
APIs provide a number of benefits for businesses. These include:
- Reducing development time and costs.
- Enabling businesses to reach new markets and customers that they would not have otherwise been able to access.
- Allowing businesses to focus on their core competencies.
- Giving businesses the ability to better track their performance as they can monitor how their API is being used.
3. How do people make money from APIs?
There are a few different ways that people make money from APIs. The most common way is through charging for access to the API. This could be a one-time fee, or a monthly or yearly subscription.
Other ways of making money from APIs include charging for support, or for higher levels of service such as SLAs (Service Level Agreements). Some companies also make money by selling the data that they collect through their API.
4. Are there any risks associated with using an API?
These are a few risks associated with using APIs:
- Security risks as APIs can provide access to sensitive data.
- Privacy risks as APIs can be used to collect personal data.
- And business risks as APIs can be used to disrupt existing business models.
It is important to make sure that the API is not used in a way that would damage the business. Ensure to minimize the risks when offering your API.
5. How do API platforms like RapidAPI make money?
API platforms like RapidAPI make money by charging a commission on the transactions that take place through their platform. This could be a one-time fee, or it could be a monthly or yearly subscription. They also make money by selling data about the usage of their APIs.
6. How to sell API?
Before you start selling your API, know your API's unique selling proposition (USP) and build your website for your audience. Create content tailored for them and drive traffic. Focus on how your API helps developers and business entrepreneurs. And then enlist your API on platforms like RapidAPI as well.
Key Takeaway to Make Money With API
Offering free or paid APIs can be another profitable income source you can have. But, before thinking about exposing your API to any platform for public access, you need to make sure it's secure and valid. For this, you can use an API management solution.