Give Your Site a Voice

Creating Alexa Skills through WordPress

Tom Harrigan

WordCamp Skill

Take a look at SSML for changing how Alexa says what she says, for example, in the above, she spells out the hashtag rather than trying to read it as a word, using the “say-as” tag

Tom Harrigan

@TomHarrigan  |
Partner & VP of Strategic Technology
Alley Interactive  |  @alleyco

Advances in Technology

Advances in AI, specifically Machine Learning and NLU

The Great AI Awakening

Players in the Game

Google, Apple (kind of?), Microsoft, Amazon, etc

Voice is Everywhere

Demo: I am Groot

Groot Convo Bot

A skill that allows users to talk to Groot from Guardians of the Galaxy

Alexa skill delivering quotes on computer science and programming

How Alexa Skills Work

Credit: John Kelvie The Alexa Model Is Better

Why Voice, Why Alexa?

-A new medium to communicate with your existing audience
-Reach a new audience
-Be at the forefront of emerging technologies
-Provide additional value/experiences to your users
-Serve a larger part of your audience by making Voice part of your Accessibility tool belt
-At the moment, Alexa still makes up the majority of this market

The case for WP as a means of Skill creation

-All of your content already exists in WordPress
-You’re already familiar with the WP Admin dashboard
-An easy means of managing, curating, and creating content and experiences
-A WP install already (should) have all of the reqs for creating skills: SSL cert, ability to host JSON endpoints via WP REST API

Demo time: News skill

Skill allowing users to consume the posts of a WordPress site

How WP and Alexa can work together: REST API

Leveraging open source: Amazon Alexa PHP library

What's required?

  • SSL certificate
  • Up to date version of WordPress (for REST API support)

AWS re:Invent

VoiceWP plugin

Github Repo

What can I create?

  • Have a paywall? Use account linking to make paid content available to your customers on Alexa
  • General content consumption
  • Podcast delivery
  • Trivia games, facts, quotes
  • Choose your own adventure stories

Monetization: Ads & Pay with Amazon

  • May 3, Amazon announced general availability of Pay With Amazon on Alexa
  • Use PWA to charge for physical or in-skill items (unlock additional content, games, experiences)
  • Ads: Flash Briefings and Podcast-style skills
  • Alexa Developer Rewards Program

Demo: Freer | Sackler Gallery Smithsonian

Demo: Entertainment Weekly

Designing a friendly UI

Coding is well defined, but design is art.
New tools are needed to design these new interfaces.
Also, use SSML

Local Development

No device required


VoiceWP V2.0

V2 release within next week

  • Display Support for Echo Show + Echo Spot
  • Podcast skill type
  • Adding to plugin repo


  • German + Japanese language support
  • SMAPI support (publish skills via API, no copy/pasting)
  • Interview and quiz/trivia skill types