Are you looking to make some extra cash? Amazon may be just the right fit for you. The company allows third-party developers to create apps, or skills, for the Alexa voice assistant. The goal is to make Alexa more personalized for its users. The best part is you don’t have to be a software developer to create an app.
Third-party apps can produce skills from ambient noise, to checklists, to reminders and everything in between. You’re probably not going to get rich doing this, and some developers allow their apps to be downloaded for free. But if you charge for your Alexa skill, you could make more than some good pocket money.
CNN tells the story of one software developer, Nick Schwab, who created his first Alexa skill in 2016. It was an ambient noise app to drown out the sound of his neighbors’ barking dog. Soon, he started developing more Alexa skills, some of which he charged for. Now, he owns a Tesla and is putting a downpayment on a new home.
Making cash with Alexa skills
Schwab is one of hundreds of thousands of registered developers creating skills for Alexa. In 2015, Amazon opened up the platform to third-party developers, but it wasn’t until last year that the company allowed them to make money from their skills. Developers set the price for their Alexa skills and Amazon allows them to keep 70% of the earnings.
That’s been quite a windfall for Schwab. About 300,000 people use his free ambient noise app everyday, but more importantly for his bank account, nearly 10,000 pay for a monthly subscription version that costs between 99 cents and $1.99.
Anyone can build an Alexa skill
While it certainly helps, you don’t have to be a software developer to create an Alexa skill. In fact, Amazon is so thirsty for new Alexa skills that earlier this year it opened its Alexa Skill Blueprints to the public.
The blueprints, or templates, can be used to create and publish a voice skill to the Alexa Skills Store — no coding experience required.
If you have an idea for a voice app, go to blueprints.amazon.com and check out the dozens of templates available within categories such as At Home, Learning & Knowledge, Fun & Games, Storyteller, Greetings & Occasions, and Communities & Organizations.
After picking a template, you can fill in the blanks, change some of the pre-filled content, modify and test the skill until you are satisfied with it.
Once you complete your skill, you can decide whether to use it only with Alexa-enabled devices tied to your Amazon account, share it with friends and family, or publish it so anyone can use it.
And there’s good news for bloggers; Amazon also has a new Blog blueprint. If you’re a blogger who uses WordPress, just install the Amazon AI Plugin for WordPress and you can send an audio version of your blog over Alexa. (PssT! For more help, read Kim’s “How to Start a Blog & Make Money” e-book).
Amazon has more than 80,000 skills available to customers in its Alexa Skills Store.