How to create an Amazon Alexa skill from Blueprints
If you want to customize your Amazon Echo experience, then there’s no better way than through Skills. Obviously, you can ask Alexa to do various different things like provide updates on the weather or wake you up at a certain time, but you can do a lot more than that thanks to some of the best Alexa Skills out there. Skills are third-party additions to your Echo device that add even more functionality to your smart speaker. With Alexa Skill Blueprints, it’s really easy to create your own Amazon Alexa Skill without needing any development experience.
How to create an Amazon Alexa Skill with Blueprints
Creating an Amazon Alexa Skill with Blueprints is easy, as all it requires is starting from a Blueprint on Amazon’s own blueprints site. Heed the banner at the top as shown in the above screenshot, if your Amazon account is based outside of the U.S., then navigate to your own country’s Amazon Blueprints site. You also need to make sure you’re logged into the account that’s connected to your Echo, and you can then choose from a ton of different Blueprints to get started. You can create stories, greetings cards, trivia games, or even just set up custom responses to questions that you may ask Alexa at a later date. We’ll start by creating a custom “question and answer” Skill.
Step 1: Choose your skill
In this instance, we’ve chosen the “Custom Q&A” skill. You can read how it works, and even play back a sample to hear a sample question and a sample answer. We’re going to make it so that when we ask Alexa what’s the best technology website, she answers that XDA-Developers is. Click “Make your own” to begin.
Step 2: Add your question
The next step is to add your question so that Alexa can understand what you want to ask. You should also add additional ways to ask the same question, as when we think of language and speaking, you may not necessarily speak the same way all of the time. “What’s the best technology website” and “what’s the best tech site” are two different ways to say the same thing, but without adding the extra one, Alexa will only understand one of them in the context of this particular Skill we’ve created.
You can also add other questions within the same menu, so if you have other questions you think would be suited to your Skill that you’re making, now is the time to do so. You can make Alexa answer anything that you want, to anything that you ask, so think outside of the box!
Step 3: Wait
You’ll now need to wait for Amazon to process and save your skill to your account, though this only takes a few minutes. If you didn’t previously have an Amazon developer portal account, you’ll be asked to create one here. Simply click “update account” and you’re ready to go. The above page will update to say “your skill is ready to use and edit” when it’s ready to go.
Step 4: Test out your new skill!
You can now test out your new skill, and all going well, it should work perfectly! We’ve included an audio clip of our Skill that we created working below.
Other Skills you can make
There are so many Skills that you can make and try out, this is merely scratching the surface. If you’re particularly proud of the Skill that you’ve created, you can even publish it on the Alexa Skill Store
If you want to get your hands dirty and actually develop your own Skills (rather than just using Blueprints), then you can do so by following the company’s developer documentation. There are a ton of programming languages that it supports, so be sure to check it out to learn more.
The beauty of Alexa Skills is that there are thousands of them out there. You can easily search them on the Alexa App, or head over to alexa.amazon.com to browse through a selection of categories. To test out your own Skills that you make, you’ll need an Alexa-powered device. We recommend picking up an Amazon Echo Dot (4th Generation) as it’s a wallet-friendly option with all of the main features that you need. Be sure to read our Echo Dot (4th gen) speaker review to learn more about it.