Selecting an API Portal with the right features is critical to your business because that’s the only communication channel between the API Product Manager and the developers using those APIs. That’s why we’ll be reviewing key features and functionalities you should look for and what questions to ask when choosing an API Developer Portal.
First off, let’s review the importance of the following functionalities and features:
- Simple UI & navigation: Should be easy to use and navigate
- Collaborative features: Connect with the community through discussion boards
- CMS (Content Management System): Easily update FAQs and post articles
- Alerting mechanisms: Be in the know on downtime and performance
- Outbound marketing tools: Send out newsletters, emails, and connect with customers from the interface
- Dashboards: Reporting is key and so is having easy to access dashboards and analytics
- Online support: Have support 24/7 via chat, phone, email
Next, who will use your APIs and what type of portal will they need:
- Internal API Portal: You’ll want a private and secure API developer portal for your internal developers. This will only allow developers with an authorized company profile access and is the most secure API portal for your company’s internal needs.
- Partner API Portal: If your company works with partners and have strategic/secure relationships with them, you’ll want to have a specific partner API portal set up to ease the onboarding process. This is a secure way to connect easily with your strategic partners and give access by invitation only.
- Public API Portal: If your company builds APIs that are intended for external consumption, you’ll want a place for developers to find, install, update, and troubleshoot any issues in a public API portal that gives them access to documentation, community boards, and more.
Before you choose an API portal, take some time to reflect on your business needs, and make sure the solution you are looking at can help answer these questions:
- Who are the developers? Are they internal, partners, or external startups and freelancers?
- How big is my API Catalog? Do you have only a couple of APIs? If so, you might not want the same type of API portal as if you had dozens of APIs.
- Will you need to categorize your APIs into groups? How will your API portal need to be structured?
- How much customization do you need in terms of navigation or look and feel?
- Who will be administrating your API Portal?
- Who will be promoting your API Portal?
- How much traffic do you expect? What type of traffic will hit your Portal? Will it be new traffic, API calls, or registered traffic?
- Who will oversee the online support?
- What is your business model? Will you offer free APIs or are you looking to monetize your APIs?
- What is your strategy to retain developers and grow your community?
Choosing the right API Developer Portal is more than a technical evaluation. In order to choose the API portal that will help your company succeed, you will need to review your business model, marketing strategy, and develop an execution plan that will not only help grow your business but sustain it.
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