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How to Use eZ Publish Extensions: Google Analytics

Monday 29 October 2007 11:00:00 pm

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Setting up a Google Analytics account

Let's assume that you are the webmaster of the eZ Tennis Club website. You want to know more about the features that attract and maintain the site’s international audience.

To gather this information, you need to collect page statistics either using page tagging or web server log file analysis. The former method – page tagging – can be used in conjunction with Google Analytics, and is the topic of this article. Log file analysis is another (and more traditional) method for analyzing site activity (although not discussed in this article). Awstats is a popular tool for performing this kind of analysis.

Using Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a JavaScript-based client-side statistics collection tool. It is enabled by adding a snippet of JavaScript code to every page on a website. This code sends statistical information to Google whenever a page is loaded in a visitor’s web browser.

Google Analytics is an excellent solution to the problem of finding a simple, inexpensive way to perform website statistics collection. It also includes advanced tracking and reporting features that are not currently available via the traditional method of log file analysis.

Goals are important

Whether it's selling specific types of products, tracking user registration, learning the frequency of incomplete webshop checkouts or simply tracking specific URLs on a website, there are many possible tracking goals.

Before you begin measuring your site statistics, think about why you are measuring. Document your site goals, and plan what you are going to do with the results of the measurements. With a set of goals, you can use the information from Google Analytics to iterate through enhancement and measurement cycles.

For the eZ Tennis Club, the tracking goals are initially simple – we want to track international visitors, since one of the club's goals is to provide events, services, and news for a worldwide audience. We also want to find out how effective specific marketing activities are at promoting certain events. Generally, we want to know more about who is visiting the site, where they are from, and what they are looking for. We will keep this in mind for near the end of this tutorial, when we look at a few basic Google Analytics reports.

You can sign up for a free Google Analytics account at http://www.google.com/analytics/. If you do not already have a Google account (which is also free), then you must sign up for that first. Once you have activated and logged in to your Google Analytics account, click the Add Website Profile link, then enter the URL of your site and click the Continue button.

You should then see a page with some code in a text area. What you will need in order to configure the BC Website Statistics extension is the Urchin key, which is the value in quotation marks on this line:

_uacct = "your-urchin-key";
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