Adding Google Analytics to your Author-it generated HTML pages

I’m learning about Author-it’s HTML templates today, and how to insert Google Analytics code (or any other code, really, such as adding an automatically updating variable for “Last modified by” with user or date information.)

But my task today was to insert Google Analytics code. (As a prerequisite note, we already have all our documentation available on an external site at docs.imis.com.)

First, I created a Gmail account for our department. Next, I created a Google account. Then, I went to the Google Analytics page and signed up for an account there, entering the name of our externally-accessible documentation site.

At the end of the sign up process, Google gives you javascript code that you want to place directly above the closing body tag </body>. Fortunately, the way that Author-it sets up the HTML templates, all of your Author-it topic data is inserted at a point where the <aitdata> tag appears in your HTML template.

The HTML templates are typically stored in C:\Program Files\AuthorIT V4\Data\Templates\Plain HTML, although other types of HTML templates such as DHTML and HTML Help templates are also available. These are the files I discovered that Google Analytics needed to be installed on.

  • I edited the body_template.htm file and located the <aitdata> tag. I copied the code from the Google Analytics page and pasted it below the <aitdata> tag.
  • I edited the html_frameset.htm file and added the Google Analytics code in the <head> area as instructed by the Google Analytics help, which, as a side note, has a set of completely question-based articles, as in, all headings are written as a question. Fascinating. The topic is “What should I know about using Analytics with Framed sites?

Now, republish the HTML from your Author-it topics and your Google Analytics code is available on each page. After about 24 hours we started collecting data.

google_analytics.jpg

Let me know your experiences using Google Analytics to monitor your user assistance site traffic – what metrics are you seeking? Are there any conversion goals we should set up? One metric I am considering is trying to monitor how often the Word .doc files are downloaded. Does anyone have tips or tricks for us?

Update: I found this blog entry, Tracking document downloads in Google Analytics, and it contains hints at what I need to do to track our Word document downloads. However, I think that this article from the Google Analytics Help, How do I track files (PDF, AVI, or WMV) that are downloaded from my site? contains the method I’ll try first.

2 Comments

  • October 15, 2008 - 4:29 pm | Permalink

    Ann, I don’t understand which Gooogle Analytics code I need to add to the html_frameset.htm … can you clarify which I should use for online documentation published to our website?

    Thanks! Virginia

  • October 15, 2008 - 9:38 pm | Permalink

    Hi Virginia – The code is from Google Analytics and is unique to your Google account – you get it after you sign up. You place the same code snippet in both files, in html_frameset.htm in the area, and in the body_template.htm file, below the file.

    Hm, apparently I can’t paste in an example of the code, but one of the declared variables is gaJsHost and another one is pageTracker. I can email it to you if needed. :)

    Thanks for asking – I hope this helps!

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