Hack 37 Create a Guide


Share your expert knowledge with the world by creating a tutorial that shows up on product detail pages.

Have you ever wanted to know how to "Make-Out to the Right Music," or "Be Serious About Your Photographs"? Both of these are titles of guides available on Amazon.com that were written by other Amazon visitors. Anyone can write a guide about any topic.

To get a sense of how guides work, start looking for them on Amazon pages. Amazon links to guides toward the bottom of product detail pages with the heading "So you'd like to . . . " with the guide titles as you see in Figure 3-4.

Figure 3-4. Links to guides from a product detail page

A product detail page will link to a guide when that product (or a related product) appears in the guide. Amazon links to only three related guides; if more related guides are available, they're rotated with each page view. You can also find guides with related items on search results pages. The guides themselves are free-form, essay-like writing, like you see in Figure 3-5. The guides contain headlines for different sections and links to products. Each guide must have at least three product references.

Figure 3-5. An Amazon Guide

Once you're ready to tackle a guide, visit your Friends & Favorites page (http://www.amazon.com/friends) and click "Write a So You'd Like to . . . guide" in the lefthand column. Alternately, you can visit the guide-creation form directly at http://www.amazon.com/o/guide-create/.

The first step is adding a title. Keep in mind that the title will usually immediately follow the words "So you'd like to . . . ", which means it's a good idea to let the sentence flow. "So you'd like to Good Hiking Advice" just doesn't flow as well as "So you'd like to Hike Like an Expert." Then you'll need to add your qualifications for writing the guide. Of course they don't have to be professional qualifications, just something that gives the guide reader a bit more context about who you are.

Next, enter the entire text of the guide. Each guide has a 100-word minimum and a 1,500-word maximum. Because it can be fairly long, you might want to compose your guide in a word processor (taking advantage of its spellchecking and other features) and copy the text into the guide form.

HTML isn't allowed in the guides, but you can do some minimal formatting. To create a headline for a section of your guide, you can use this tag:

<HEADLINE: "insert headline">

You can't link to external sites or add external images, but you can link to products. As mentioned, you have to link to at least three products with this special tag:

<ASIN: insert ASIN>

At most, you can have 50 product links in a single guide, but if you need to expand you can always start another guide.

Once you've previewed and then posted your guide, it will go into rotation on the product detail pages of items you included. Keep in mind that if an item is extremely popular, there may be several guides vying to be one of the three listed on the product detail page. You can also edit your guide at any time. Go to your About You page (click "Your About You Area" at http://www.amazon.com/friends) and you'll see your guides page listed on the lefthand side.