Jan 17, 2023

Add Intercom chat to your website

Add the Intercom chat widget to a set of pages.

Step 1: obtain the embed code

Head over to your Intercom account, select the main tab and open the "Add chat to your website" section. Select "With code", and choose "Single-page apps" from the dropdown:

Step 2: update your <head>

Copy the head embed code. That's the first code snippet, starting with <script>. Open motif.json, and paste the code into the head section. Remove the line breaks, and replace the inner double-quotes " with single quotes '. Your motif.json config file should look like this (make sure to update INTERCOMP_APP_ID with your app ID):

  "titleTemplate": "%s - Acme",
  "templates": {
    "**/*": "base",
    "guides/**/*": "guides"
  "head": [
    "<script>(function(){var w=window;var ic=w.Intercom;if(typeof ic==='function'){ic('reattach_activator');ic('update',w.intercomSettings);}else{var d=document;var i=function(){i.c(arguments);};i.q=[];i.c=function(args){i.q.push(args);};w.Intercom=i;var l=function(){var s=d.createElement('script');s.type='text/javascript';s.async=true;s.src='https://widget.intercom.io/widget/INTERCOMP_APP_ID';var x=d.getElementsByTagName('script')[0];x.parentNode.insertBefore(s,x);};if(document.readyState==='complete'){l();}else if(w.attachEvent){w.attachEvent('onload',l);}else{w.addEventListener('load',l,false);}}})();</script>"

Step 3: create the Intercom component

Start by copying the second snippet from the Intercom settings, the one starting with window.Intercom. We need to make a slight tweak to the snippet in order for it to work. Indeed, the Intercom code calls window, which is only available client-side. Motif, on the other hand, pre-renders your pages on the server in order to make them performant and SEO-optimized. Including code calling window would make this pre-render process fail. The "trick" is to wrap the code in a component and a useEffect hook to ensure it only gets called on the client.

Let's create a file named Intercom.mdx in the /components folder, and paste the following code:

import { useEffect } from "react"

export const Intercom = () => {
  useEffect(() => {
    if (!('Intercom' in window)) {
    {/* Intercom snippet start */}
    window.Intercom("boot", {
      api_base: "https://api-iam.intercom.io",
      app_id: "INTERCOMP_APP_ID"
    {/* Intercom snippet end */}
  }, [])

  return <></>

The window.Itercom part should be identical to the snippet copied above. As with the head entry, make sure to update INTERCOMP_APP_ID.

Step 4: update your template

Now, let's add the Intercom component we just created to a template. This allows us to automatically include the Intercom widget in a set of pages, for instance all our docs pages, without duplicating any code.

Open a template from the /templates folder, and change the code to include the Intercom component:

import { Intercom } from "@components/intercom"

export const Template = ({ children }) => {
  return (
    <div className="p-6 sm:px-8 pb-32 mx-auto max-w-screen-md antialiased prose">
      <Intercom />

Now, all pages using this template will display the Intercom widget!