The technological world is inhabited by the words and definitions, which remain unknown to people from outside the industry due to their inapplicability in the routine life. However, it’s not the case of chatbots, which have become especially widespread beyond the borders of the tech field. In this article, we will get on the practical side. For this, I have prepared an overview of relevant tools and ways that can help to create chatbot.
Why would one want to build a bot? I bet you’ve asked yourself this at least once. The reasons are numerous, though I’m sure you need those that are the most applicable for your business. Here are them:
- driving traffic;
- lead generation;
- participation in affiliate marketing campaigns;
- educational and informational purposes.
Chatbots can be extremely helpful or absolutely useless – everything depends on your own purposes and approach to bot building. In this article, I will show you how to make a bot with the help of available platforms. So that in case if you decide that chatbots align with your marketing strategy, you will know where to turn to.
If you don’t have any knowledge about chatbots so far, I suggest taking a look at the article that addresses the question “what is chatbot”. It will help you to create a basic understanding of chatbots world and get prepared to diving into the practical details. After that, come back and join me on this way through bot building.
Pick a platform for bot building
Today the most popular messengers favor the development of conversational services. To make the process easier they possess an extensive documentation and open application programming interfaces (APIs), which help to easily integrate bot application with the messenger platforms.
Some of the messenger platforms also possess comprehensive guides on how to create chatbot with the functionality they provide within the platform. Also, most of them have blog sections, where you can find tutorials on bot building and updates on the new functionality. I propose you to take a look at those messengers that are of the most common use in our routine life and explore what they have for bot developers:
Choose chat bot creator
A chatbot is just a web application (sometimes mobile application). Therefore, if you possess a solid background in programming you won’t have any problems to build the basic functionality with the help of messenger’s API documentation. At the same time, you may want to make it as quickly as possible. Or you may be pretty new in this area and face difficulties while trying to build a bot from scratch.
Whatever your issue is – saving time or lacking programming background – picking a chat bot creator may become your solution. In fact, chat bot creators are the platforms where you can build a bot. The platform itself assists you and guides through all the steps of bot building. Some of these “chat bot makers” require coding while the rest ones would never ask you to write even a tiny piece of code. Some of the chat bot creators also combine possibilities for making an intelligent bot, therefore, releasing you from connecting to the additional services.
The following list consists of both types of platforms – with and without coding requirements. Check them and pick the one that fits.
Add smart services to create chatbot that “thinks”
As I have mentioned above, some of the “chat bot makers” possess functionality that allows you to build a bot in a smart way (like wit.ai) and instantly integrate with messaging platforms. However, if you are pursuing high customizability and you don’t afraid of coding, there is a bunch of services that can offer you attractive functionality for creating intelligent bot systems. Here are the most popular samples, which have a comprehensive documentation part for your quick start:
Let’s take a closer look at the items listed above.
Facebook for developers
Facebook has become a trendsetter among messengers in a bunch of issues. The most recent one is definitely about chatbots. After a warm welcoming Facebook had arranged for virtual agents, other messaging platforms also opened their “doors” to them. Today Facebook is doing a lot to show their favor to everyone who has ever thought about publishing own bot.
Telegram Bot API
Recently, Telegram has gained popularity and spread across the world. The main attraction for users lies in the absence of additional functionality – what you get is strictly what you choose (while on Facebook many people argue a lot of additional features that don’t want to have actually). Today everything is coming to favor simplicity. And Telegram does it very well.
Creation and deployment of a bot on Telegram are also pretty simple, which is reflected in the documentation. Besides, there’s one option that may be very helpful, especially if you’re a newcomer: you can turn to the Telegram bot (BotFather) for help with creating your own bot. Check this article for more details.
KIK Bot Dashboard
KIK is an extremely popular messenger among teens. And just as everything for young people it tries to keep a hand on the pulse of the modern trends. KIK has a lot of chatbots, which serve for educational, entertaining and marketing purposes. KIK has launched a Bot Shop and updated API to provide bot developers with additional encouragement and help.
If you’re interested in earning money by means of your chatbot and your target audience is young people, KIK may become your choice number one. By the way, in case if you’ve missed it here is an example of how to create chatbot for KIK platform described in the article on KIK’s blog.
Slack is one of the leading solutions for the teams that don’t work in the same place. Even if you haven’t tried it so far, you might have guessed an existence of a virtual space for professional communication. This is what Slack is in short. Bots on Slack are the ones that help to improve working process and communication across the team.
If you’re interested, let’s say, in building bot for making working routine more pleasurable and less stressful Slack may become the platform of your choice. Creation of basic Slack bot can take minutes due to the convenience and simplicity of the interface.
Today Wit is the most commonly used NLP service for creating smart chatbots. Don’t get me wrong – it’s far not the only one but the convenience of the interface is pretty simple and, therefore, extremely attractive. On Wit.ai everything starts with creating an application. SDKs are available in iOS, Ruby, Node.js, and Python. Everything is well-documented and tutorialized. However, what Wit.ai does lack is functionality for integration with other platforms.
If you want to create chatbot as quickly as possible without digging deep into the details wit.ai may become a good solution for you. By the way, Wit.ai is owned by Facebook and it’s completely free one. It competes with another service, Google’s chat bot maker platform –
This platform has become one of the most popular among chat bot makers that provide NLP and ML services. The first reason is that it’s really a convenient one as it releases you from many tricky points, breaking the most complicated processes into the set of easy steps. As the result, you save time, energy and money (as it’s completely free). Another reason is the number of publications spread across the web with the examples of how to make a bot with the help of API.ai.There’s even Udemy course for beginners, which guides through the stages of building bot with API.ai.
Comparing to Wit.ai, API.ai possesses more functionality and is applicable for more complicated tasks, which Wit is incapable of solving. Besides, it has few more advantages over Wit.ai: 1) wide integration with messaging platforms; 2) more SDKs for programmers. If you’re interested in getting your hands on practice with API.ai I recommend you to check the article. It describes the process of building bot for KIK with the help of API.ai.
Microsoft Bot Framework
It’s a platform that you can use to create chatbot applications of any complexity level. It contains code examples for Node.js and C# programmers and repository with the real chatbots. It’s widely integrated with all the main messaging platforms and services, which is definitely a great advantage. Moreover, Microsoft Bot Framework has one convenient feature – connection with Azure cloud services, which means that publishing bot becomes as easy as integration with any featured messenger.
Microsoft Bot Framework is widely chosen by .NET programmers and those who pursue customizability overall.
The first thing that one usually gets to know about Chatfuel is that it enables the creation of chatbots without coding. This may sound attractive for those who don’t have any programming background. Also, it’s a good thing because the bot building should become more available not only for developers but for everyone as popularity and applicability of chatbots is growing.
If you want to build a bot for Facebook Messenger with Chatfuel this Udemy course may help you. At the first instance, Chatfuel is considered as a chat bot maker platform for Facebook Messenger bots but the target field is expanding so today you can also build bots for Telegram with its help. You can check the tutorial on how to make a bot for Telegram here.
Here is one more platform for those who don’t want to get messed with coding. It’s pretty similar to Chatfuel, though possesses some additional and potentially useful features like the possibility to integrate with WordPress. Also, it provides higher customizability than Chatfuel.
For more information on how to create a bot with the help of Botsify, check this article.
Microsoft Cognitive Services
These Microsoft services contain search, language, speech, vision, and advanced knowledge functionality for creating chatbot with advanced AI. The possibilities are numerous. However, to get more of them, I recommend using Microsoft Cognitive Services with Microsoft Bot Framework and Azure Cloud Services. All those services do work greatly in cooperation.
IBM is a cognitive computing platform, which provides a lot of AI-related services. Though it sounds quite pretentiously, it’s applicable for a wide range of purposes, one of which is chatbot intelligence.
This article guides you through the example of how to create chatbot with Slack integration for IBM conversational services. In fact, you can come across a lot of articles with the cases of Watson use.
For a modern chat bot maker, there’s a vast variety of possibilities to create chatbot with a few financial and time- expenses and deploy it exactly where the target audience is. The list of platforms and services I’ve prepared for this article isn’t an ultimate one. The number of the tools for bot building is rapidly increasing, therefore, the only thing I can do is to show you the most popular and easily accessible samples, which you can start using right now. This is what I tried to do in this article.
I hope you have found answers you were looking for. If you still have any doubts and/or questions, feel free contact me – and I will do my best to solve them.