How to Act, Dress, and Speak Like a Lady

Updated on June 29, 2020

In a world where good manners and common courtesy are dwindling, and there is an obsession with celebrity culture, a lady stands out. Choosing to become a lady is empowering and the benefits are numerous.

In this article, I show you how to be a lady and cover the following areas:

  • The benefits of becoming a lady
  • What defines a lady
  • How to dress like a lady and embrace your femininity
  • Real-life ladies, films and books that we can use for inspiration
  • Relationships, dating, family and friends. How to get along with others and deal with rude or difficult people.
  • How to speak and converse like a lady.
  • Manners and their purpose: timekeeping, dining etiquette, use of modern technology such as the internet and mobile phones
  • Respecting ourselves and looking after ourselves through good diet and exercise
  • Developing our intellect
  • Having a sense of humour and fun


The Benefits of Becoming a Lady

Any female is born a woman, but becoming a lady requires a commitment to personal development: a lifelong journey to becoming your best self.

It is a worthwhile commitment as the benefits to yourself and others are numerous.

  • You will feel good about yourself and how you are living your life.
  • You will have inner peace and contentment.
  • You will feel confident in any situation.
  • You will find it easier to get along with people and make friends. Other people will treat you well and with respect.
  • You will be well-mannered and understand etiquette.
  • You will be knowledgeable about the world, and be adventurous and enjoy life.
  • You will be refined, stylish and classy.
  • You will be able to attract good men (gentlemen) if you wish to marry, and easily spot and avoid men who will treat you badly.
  • You will understand the difference between a woman and a lady.

How Can We Define a Lady?

When we meet a real lady, we become aware that there is something about her, other than her clothes, that defines her as a lady.

Being a lady comes from the inside. Many women try to dress like a lady, but unless they have also worked on their inner selves, there is something missing.

So, how can we define a lady? Well, she shows certain inner characteristics:

  • She has integrity and self-respect, values herself, and looks after herself.
  • She is confident and knows herself. She has great self-awareness.
  • She is wise and has inner strength.
  • She is a feminine and modern woman, who acts with grace, dignity and poise.
  • She is self-sufficient: as well as being able to arrange flowers and write thank-you notes, she is able to check her oil and balance her checkbook.
  • She is capable of taking on a leadership role or position of power.
  • She has class.

How Not to Be a Lady

On our journey towards becoming more ladylike, we can learn from other girls and women how to behave and how not to behave. I am sure that we have all met a girl or woman who displays unladylike behaviour. Here are some examples of unladylike behaviour:

  • Do not be rude and abusive towards others.
  • Do not swear continuously.
  • Do not have lots of tattoos.
  • Do not wear overly revealing clothes that reveal your cleavage or bottom.
  • Do not talk loudly and laugh raucously when with others.
  • Do not get overly drunk.
  • Do not smoke or take drugs.

Attitude to Life

A lady is content with the life she has now and everything she has in it. Whilst there may be a few changes that she wishes to make, she understands that wanting more and more leads to feeling discontented with what you already have. She is adventurous and free spirited and embraces the opportunities life has to offer. She recognises that there is nothing in this world she cannot accomplish with hard work, determination, perseverance and commitment.

Personal Development

A lady is committed to her own personal development with the aim of being a better person. She recognises that developing herself as a lady is an empowering thing, that she is a work in progress and learns from her mistakes along the way.

She sets personal development goals and may attend personal development classes such as assertiveness, communication skills or leadership skills,

Intellectual Development

A lady is usually well-educated, informed, and worldly travelled. She believes in developing her intellect through reading and keeping up with current affairs on a regular basis. Having a natural zest for life, she is interested in may subjects and this makes her an interesting person to have a conversation with. She is interested in meeting new people as she enjoys learning about other people's ideas and experiences of life. She is confident when meeting new people as she knows that she will be able to find a shared interest to talk about.

A Lady and Her Relationship With Others

A lady:

  • knows how to conduct herself in public and in a crisis and acts with grace and dignity.
  • follows "The Golden Rule"—treat others as you would like to be treated.
  • is kind, courteous and considerate without being weak or a doormat.
  • is sensitive and able to empathise with others, and respects the feelings of others.
  • is fair, honest and decent.
  • speaks her mind and is able to speak up for herself and others.
  • gives back to her family, friends and community.
  • is assertive rather than pushy or a bully, authoritative rather than bossy.
  • is thoughtful and prudent without being seen as weak.
  • gives everyone the benefit of the doubt unless proved otherwise.

Being a Lady Within a Family

Being a lady and having good manners starts at home. You cannot be an authentic lady if you treat people well outside of your home but treat your own family members poorly.

Your home is the best place to start your journey towards becoming a lady. It may feel strange at first. Your family may notice that you are changing in a variety of ways, such as becoming more formal, and may not like it at first, but persist. Once you feel comfortable about being a lady at home, you will feel comfortable about being a lady in the outside world.

If you are a mother, you lead by example. If you teach your children good manners and the benefits of becoming a lady or gentleman, they will reap the benefits later in life.

Cultivate Good Manners

The central aim of good manners is to put other people at ease. It is also the key to getting along with others.

Having good manners and getting along with others makes life a lot easier. If you are looking advance yourself in the world, good manners and being able to get along well with others can open doors for you. Showing good manners and being nice to others also creates good feelings for both ourselves and the other person.

Good manners start with a simple "Please" and "Thank You".

You may like to keep some thank-you notes handy for times when you feel they are appropriate to send.

We all make mistakes occasionally and it is important to apologise with a simple "Excuse me" or "I'm sorry". A lady is able to say "I'm sorry" when she is in the wrong.

If a lady needs to say "no", she will do it in a way that is firm but never rude. Her "no" will be polite and elegant.

She has a knowledge of basic etiquette and understands that at the end of the day, good manners is all about consideration for other people.

Inspiring Ladylike Icons

There are several famous women who I would class as ladies, not only in the way that they dress, but also in the way that they behave.

Above are YouTube video clips about three famous ladies.

Examples of famous ladies include the following:

Younger ladies

  • The Duchess of Cambridge / Kate Middleton
  • Queen Rania of Jordan
  • Gwyneth Paltrow (actress)
  • Natalie Portman (actress)
  • Katherine Heigl (actress)

Older ladies

  • Audrey Hepburn
  • Michelle Obama
  • Grace Kelly
  • Katherine Hepburn, sophisticated but ballsy.
  • Jaclyn Smith (actress)

Mature ladies

  • Elizabeth II - Queen of England
  • Barbara Bush
  • Julie Andrews

I am sure you can think of more.

Inspiring Films and Books

On our journey to becoming ladies, we can take inspiration and learn lessons from many sources including films, TV and books that feature a lady as a central character.

You may enjoy watching and reading the following:

Inspiring Films

  • My Fair Lady: As an experiment, Proffessor Higgins takes a poor street urchin and tries to turn her into a lady.
  • De-Lovely: The Cole Porter Story: Linda Porter, the wife of songwriter and musician Cole Porter is a great source of inspiration.
  • Out of Africa: An interesting and true story, based on the life of Karen Blixen

Inspiring TV Series

  • Downton Abbey
  • The House of Elliott

Inspiring Books

  • Pride and Prejudice and other books by Jane Austin.

I am sure you can probably think of more and would be pleased to hear about them, so please leave a message in the comments box below.

Embrace Your Feminine Self By Being Seen as Feminine

On the whole a lady embraces her femininity. She recognises that being a woman isn't a weakness, and that she doesn't need to pretend to be like a man.

In order to reflect that she is a woman, a lady will dress in a feminine way, using some or all of the following:

  • a feminine hairstyle
  • make-up
  • jewellery
  • accessories (such as a handbag or high heels)
  • typically feminine clothes such as a dress or skirt

How to Dress Like a Lady

You can often tell a lady by the way that she dresses. She has great style but isn't superficial. Her style is often neat, simple, feminine and classic. She doesn't follow the latest fashion trends but will adopt a trend if it becomes well established.

The style of her clothing is modest, the aim of her clothes is to cover her body in such a way that nothing is left on show that may be distracting. She takes care not to expose too much of her cleavage or bottom and therefore avoids low cut tops and too short skirts. Her clothes fit her well, being neither so tight that you see every lump and bulge, or so big that they look frumpy.

A lady chooses good-quality clothing as she knows that it will last her for many years. She is prepared to spend money on quality clothes as she knows she will save both money and shopping time in the future.

Take a look at the YouTube clips in the previous section on Iconic Ladies and you will see that their clothing is modest, feminine and classic.


A lady's hairstyle is usually feminine, and easy to look after. Ladylike styles include a classic bob or a shoulder length style that can be worn up in an up-do, in a ponytail or left loose around her shoulders. Sometimes a lady may choose to have longer hair but always ensures it is in tip top condition.

A lady pays particular attention to her hair, knowing that it can make or break her look. It is no good wearing good quality clothes if your hair looks unkempt. She washes and conditions her hair regularly and maintains its good condition, with regular trips to the hair salon to keep it free from split ends.

Take a look at the YouTube clips above on iconic ladies and you will notice that they all have fairly simple, yet feminine hairstyles.


A lady pays attention to her grooming. She tries to be well groomed at all times. Basic good grooming is simple and doesn't take long—just a few minutes each morning.

Ladylike Accessories

A lady wears feminine low-key and tasteful accessories such as the following:

  • Earrings. Small pearl or diamond stud earrings are neat and classy for daytime. Dangling earrings look beautiful with an evening dress.
  • Necklaces. The pearl necklace is a classic, but coloured beads are a nice alternative.
  • Brooches. Use brooches on blouses, knitwear, jackets and coats for an individual look.
  • Scarves. A scarf is an easy way to smarten up an outfit and add a splash of colour.
  • Handbag. You would expect a lady to have A good quality handbag in a classic, simple shape.


A lady likes to wear feminine style shoes such as ballet pumps and high-heeled court shoes. In winter she may like a simple long boot with a heel, in summer some pretty summer wedges and for evening some strappy high sandals in a metallic leather.

How to Speak and Converse Like a Lady

A lady enjoys meeting other people and talking with them. First and foremost, during a conversation, a lady never intends to say the wrong thing. She never aims to embarrass anyone and would be mortified to think that she had upset or insulted someone.

As a result, a lady is very careful about the subjects she discusses with others. She will avoid gossip and topics that are too personal, such as the person's age, relationship status, salary or whether a lady is pregnant or planning to become pregnant.

A lady knows how to begin a conversation, for example, by either asking the other person a question or by making an observation and asking the other person what they think. When attempting to meet new friends, a lady asks, 'What do you think?' as often as possible.

She gives the other person lots of opportunity to speak and has cultivated the art of being a good listener.

If during the conversation, the lady receives a compliment, she will accept it gracefully, with a simple "thank-you". There is no need to elaborate.

If a lady needs to have a difficult conversation, she will try to remain calm and chooses her words wisely. She will avoind getting into a slanging match and tries to remain calm. She knows that her words have the power to hurt or to help and heal and that a person may not remember what she was wearing at the time, or exactly what was said, but they will always remember how her words made them feel.

A lady is not afraid to speak her mind and speak up for herself and is not afraid to say "no".

Conversation Do's and Don'ts

Here are some do's and don'ts on how to speak like a lady:


  • Speak slowly and clearly
  • Speak at an audible volume
  • Speak intelligently
  • Try to use correct grammar

Do Not:

  • Speak with your mouth full
  • Swear

How to Act Like a Lady

It may sound obvious, but in order for a woman to become a lady, she needs to act like a lady and not like a man.

In today's modern world, many women feel the need to act like men, particularly in the world of business. There is nothing wrong with being a strong woman, you just don't have to act like a strong man.

Secondly, in order to act like a lady, you need to know how to act properly: to know social rules, and make people feel at ease while defending your boundaries.

A Lady and Dating

A lady approaches dating and relationships slowly and with caution. She wisely takes her time to get to know the person she is dating. A lady is looking for a man who will behave like a gentleman and treat her well and with respect. She will be open minded at first, but if she truly believes someone is not suitable for her, she will let them down gently. Whilst she enjoys the whole process of dating, a lady will not let a man pressurise her into sleeping with him before she is ready. She isn't promiscuous and is sexy without being vulgar. She is also able to make the first move in a relationship.

A Lady Doesn't Drop Her Friends

Many women, once their relationships start to become serious, stop seeing their friends on a regular basis. This is a huge mistake. It is important to maintain your friendships. They help you maintain a balanced life. not only do we all need friends to go out and have fun with, there are huge and proven benefits to having a strong social network - better health, greater happiness an opportunity to help others and receive help when we need it too.

A lady also encourages her partner to maintain friendships. I encourage my husband to go out with his old friends and meet new ones, it does him the world of good. When he has spent time with his friends, he usually comes home rejuvenated and happy with a funny story or interesting piece of news to tell me.

Overnight Guests

Often a lady will have friends who will stay overnight. She enjoys having friends to stay and aims to ensure that they are comfortable in her home. She puts clean sheets are put on the bed, together with fresh towels and flannels, soaps and maybe even a new toothbrush. A jug of water and a glass, together with a small vase of flowers is placed beside the bed. In the morning, a lady will serve her guests a full breakfast, such as an English breakfast or a continental breakfast.

Timekeeping When Meeting Other People

Making sure you are on time when meeting other people shows that you have respect for other people and their time. To avoid being late, give yourself plenty of time to get to there, ideally with a bit of extra time planned in so that on your arrival you can freshen up if you need to and relax and compose yourself before you meet the other person.

Sometimes we all run a little late for engagements, due to circumstances outside our control, such as traffic jams. In such an event, it is polite to call the person as soon as you can, together with an estimate of how late you think you may be. They may have another engagement after yours and the sooner you let them know, the better. If someone else is running late, be understanding, but if you have a friend who is always late and it annoys you, have a quiet word with her about it.

Using Mobile Phones, E-mail, the Internet and Online Social Networking

As mobile phones and the Internet become more affordable and accessible, the number of people using them is growing. Most people are considerate of others when using them and other people are not. Here are a few useful guidelines:

Mobile Phones

If you have to use your mobile when out in public, try to be considerate of others. I am sure we have all travelled on public transport or visited a restaurant and been subjected to another person's long and loud conversation. Try not to be like that inconsiderate person. When out in public, only use your phone if really necessary and keep the conversation brief and as quiet as possible.

If you are with other people in a restaurant and your phone rings or receives a text, excuse yourself to others before you respond. Check the message and if it is a true emergency respond straightaway, otherwise, send a polite text saying you will call later as you are currently at a restaurant.

Social Networking on the Internet

When chatting with friends or new acquaintances online, try to converse in the same way as if you are face to face. It is easy for standards to slip. Be polite, don't swear, don't get involved in gossip and negativity. Keep it brief but not so brief that you may come across as rude and abrupt. Where possible, check your spelling.

What a Lady Does When Someone is Rude, Insulting or Abusive

You may occasionally come across someone who is rude or insulting towards you. The first time the person is rude to you, the most appropriate and ladylike way to react is to say nothing. Simply take a deep breath, count to ten and let it roll off your shoulders. By not being rude or insulting in return, you stop yourself from stooping to their level.

If you come across someone who is consistently rude and insulting towards you, the best way to deal with them is to say "Excuse me" and walk away.

A lady will not tolerate anyone trying to abuse her. She has such strong self-respect and personal boundaries that she will have no contact with that person ever again.

Develop Your Sense of Humour and Sense of Fun

Being a lady doesn't mean that you have to be serious all the time and lack a sense of humour. As well as an attractive characteristic, the ability to have fun and laugh is good for you. Having the ability to laugh at life is a good way to cope with stress. Life is to be enjoyed, not endured.

You can developed and maintain your sense of humour by watching funny films, or reading funny books. Spending time with animals and small children is also a great way to have fun. Young children in particular often have a refreshing and entertaining way of looking at life.

Dining Out, Eating Healthily, Exercise and Weight

A lady respects her body and nourishes it with good quality food. Try to eat three balanced meals a day, and if you feel that you need a snack between meals, try healthy snacks such as fruit or yogurt if you need it. Also drink plenty of water to keep you hydrated. Not only is it good for your skin, it helps improve concentration.

If you need to lose some weight try to do so, as it is important for your overall health. Achieving a healthy weight is also an inexpensive way to look more ladylike and classy.

A lady also recognises the importance of exercise and incorporates it into her schedule. Try to find a form of exercise that you enjoy. Walking for an hour three to five times a week is a good way to start.

When eating out at a restaurant, a lady eats with her mouth closed and knows the correct dining etiquette. The You Tube clip below shows you how.

A Lady and Money

A lady aims to be financially independent and have a healthy financial life. Generally, she:

  • Pays herself first. Each payday, she takes 10% of her pay and deposits it into a savings or investment account to create a nest egg.
  • Lives within her means on the remaining 90%.
  • Does not try to "keep up with the Joneses".
  • Pays her own way.
  • Uses credit cards wisely and avoids costly consumer debt.
  • Keeps her living expenses modest and continually finds ways to reduce them further.
  • Remembers the rule, "Neither a borrower or lender be". She never lends money to friends and family or borrows from them. A lady recognises that the habit of lending and borrowing money between friends and family can put a strain on relationships. If someone she knows asks her for money, she will offer alternative solutions, such as applying for a loan from a bank or credit union.
  • Is in charge of her finances and reviews them regularly.
  • Strives to expand her means.
  • Invests for her future, such as retirement.
  • Invests time and/or money in her financial education - such as reading personal finance books, visiting personal finance websites, attending seminars, or using a financial advisor or planner.
  • Knows how to negotiate a discount on purchases, and shops in the sales.

I hope you found this article useful. If you have any comments, please leave them in the comments box below.

Why Do You Wish to Be a Lady?

Why do you wish to be a lady? Please tick one or more from the following answers.

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This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

Questions & Answers

  • Because of how I conducted myself I have lost the respect of my loved ones. I am afraid to lose them. I want to regain their respect and know how to respect myself and have greater self-awareness and confidence. What should I do?

    It sounds like you need to learn about boundaries, acceptable behaviour, and assertiveness. If you believe that you have behaved badly towards your loved ones, apologise and try not to repeat the behaviour.

    When you fall out with someone, it is usually because you have crossed one of their boundaries. You also need to establish your own boundaries so you don't let people walk all over you. You also teach people how to treat you. If someone consistently mistreats you, say something. If they persist in mistreating you, you may decide to have that person in your life no longer. Don't worry about losing people, determine your own boundaries, and if someone crosses it, let them know. If they still mistreat you, they didn't really care about you, and you are better off without them in your life, even if it is really painful at first.

  • How can I make my husband happy?

    Firstly, he is responsible for his happiness. I would say he could start by seeking inner peace and contentment and an attitude of gratitude for the good things that he has in his life. Life occasionally has some very stressful times, but they are usually short-lived. Focus on your happiness and contentment, and hopefully, it will rub off on him. Set goals together that you think will improve your lives, pursue them together and celebrate when you achieve them. Working towards something together brings you closer.

  • Could you recommend what to do when one's personal privacy is frequently invaded for example by co-workers? What kind of polite reply can be good to stop people from invading your privacy?

    First of all, it is a matter of boundaries. Everyone has different boundaries and your co-workers are obviously crossing yours.

    We have different boundaries for different types of people in our lives.

    We have physical boundaries such as locks on our front doors to keep strangers out of our homes.

    With others we have few boundaries, people such as close family and one or two close friends that you trust 100%, are in your inner circle You probably tell them most things about yourself and have few boundaries with them.

    Next are "other friends", who are not so close, who will know a lot of things about you, but maybe you don't tell them everything about yourself. You already have a few boundaries.

    Next, are work colleagues, which is a tricky one.

    I think it is first of all best to bear in mind that they are not your friends and as such are on the outer circle of your life and for you need to have the most boundaries put in place.

    Whilst this isn't easy, you are under no obligation to share any personal information with anyone at work if you don't want to.

    Here in the UK and the EU there are laws to protect a persons privacy (General Data Protection Law and Equality Laws where certain data such as address, telephone numbers etc are protected and "characteristics" such as age, sex, marital status, religion are protected against the risk of discrimination and harassment.

    It is normal between work colleagues to make small talk and ask questions such as "Did you have a nice week-end? What did you get up to?" This oils the wheels of having a good working relationship with others.

    If you work more closely with someone and see them every day, you are over time likely to be asked more personal questions such as "Are you married? Do you have any children?" Where do you live? Where else have you worked?"

    If someone asks you a question that you are uncomfortable answering you could say "I would rather not answer that as it is personal". Most people will get the hint. There may be a bit of uncomfortableness for a few seconds but the conversation will usually move on and the person will know not to ask you too personal questions in the future. If the person asks you why you don't want to answer, you could say "That is a very personal question and I like to keep my work and personal life separate". If someone is really persistent I would ask them why they want to know. You could listen to their answer and again respond "As I have said already, I like to keep my work and personal life separate. Please respect my boundaries"

    Some people are very friendly and open and will not have a problem with you not sharing everything about yourself and will get the hint. Other people have poorer social skills and it may take a few rebuffs before they take the hint. If someone is really persistent, they are showing that they have no respect for your personal boundaries and this could be seen as bullying and harassment.

    In that case, you need to put up a physical boundary by keeping your distance from that person. If that isn't possible, you need to speak to your Manager.

    Again, you are under no obligation to reveal personal information about yourself.

  • Do I have to eat with a fork and knife to be a lady?

    You can do what you like in your own home, but if you are dining at a smart restaurant or a friend has invited you round for dinner, it is only polite and respectful to be well mannered at the table. If you act slovenly, you may not be invited back again.

    At home, it is good to eat at the table, and more formally, so you won't feel self-conscious when you are eating somewhere nice.

    I would say wherever you are in the world, follow the local custom.

    If you are at a Chinese restaurant, you can use chopsticks. I was recently in Malaysia, and many locals ate their rice and curries with just their fingers, no cutlery in sight. It is also apparently acceptable to eat chicken pieces with your fingers.

    At the end of the day, it is about making other people comfortable around you.

  • I forgot how to love myself. This has made a huge difference in my life. I have become short-tempered, moody, sad, alone, and because I'm moody all the time I'm always having an attitude with everyone. Slowly, I'm losing the people that I love around me. How can I learn to love myself again?

    I am sorry to hear that you are struggling at the moment. You don't mention how old you are, so I can only guess your circumstances.

    If you are a teenager, these are common feelings as you are transitioning from a child into an adult. If you are late teens / early twenties, take some time out to analyze what is causing these feelings. Are you struggling with life or has an event or several events happened? If you are feeling depressed, maybe visit your doctor to see if there is any medication or counseling you can receive. Maybe you have an addiction? Drugs? Alchohol? You can be addicted to the internet/mobile phone which causes being short-tempered when people disturb you. You need to look inwards and see what is triggering these feelings. Start a daily journal, write down how you feel each day, and if something happened to trigger these feelings. I found a book called the "Power of Now" by Echart Tolle useful. Lessons I learned were to ask myself "what problem do I have right now?" Often I had negative feelings if I was worried about something that may happen in the future. What problem do you have right now? The other takeaway I liked form the book was to observe my feelings. Observe your feeling of sadness. or irritability. The feeling is not you. Observe it and you will find it dissolves away. Another tactic is to keep a log and do all of the following each day - spend time in nature, do some exercise, do some deep breathing, do something enjoyable. Do that each day and at the end of the day, write down how you are feeling. When I am stressed, I go outdoors for a few hours for what I call green therapy. I have an allotment and grow my own food which is very therapeutic. Don't worry about your relationship with others at the moment. focus on yourself. Create habits that support your mental, physical and emotional health. I would try different things, start a journal and take note of which habits are helping you and keep doing them, as long as they are healthy and not extreme.


Submit a Comment
  • Grace Uja profile image

    Grace Uja 

    2 months ago from Owerri

    This is so on point. Thanks

  • profile image


    23 months ago

    You have such a fantastic write up

  • profile image


    2 years ago

    Truly a wonderful article. One hardly finds such great advice on being a lady around the web. Thank you so much.


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Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)