Every writer needs a good website so folks can discover your work, write you fan mail, and maybe even offer you assignments.  I’m a humor writer, and, lucky for me, my son is a computer genius. For the special discount he offers to clients who have given birth to him, he set up a site for me—rosalindwarren.com—back in 2006, when he was still in high school. It has served me well. From time to time he’s suggested a redesign, but that site has sentimental value that a newer, flashier site would lack. Visiting my website never fails to make me nostalgic for the days when my son was still a teenager, living under my roof and ignoring all my sage motherly advice, as opposed to now, when he’s all grown up, living in Baltimore and ignoring all my sage motherly advice. 

Tom recently added “Google Analytics” to the site, which lets me track who visits and where they’re coming from. While it’s no surprise that most of my readers are from this country, I was tickled to find that I’ve gotten traffic from as far away as the United Arab Emirates. Belgium! Bulgaria! Senegal! My reach is global. My readers are everywhere! (Of course there are only a few from each of these venues. But still . . .)

My favorite Google Analytics feature is the “key word search,” which lists the search terms that have brought people to Rosalindwarren.com.  Writers love words, and it’s fascinating to know exactly what combination of words brings readers to my work. Most search terms are, of course, just what you’d expect.  “Roz Warren.” “Humorous short stories.” “Funny stories online.” But there are subtle and interesting variations: “Short short humors.” “Online small stories.“  And the rather formal  “Humor of Rosalind.” I got a kick out of the fact that “Great short stories humor” brought me traffic. Google thinks I’m not only “funny” but “great.” I like that!   

Some search requests are puzzling. For instance, “He took me to drive.” What was this searcher looking for? And why did her engine bring her here?  Not to mention “Wet his pants on the plane.” Really? There’s nothing in my work about incontinent fliers. Yet somebody was searching for them and Google brought this searcher to me. Thanks, Google! (I think.) 

Whoever typed in  “Favorite sociology lesson ever” probably wasn’t looking for “Sociology Lesson,” a short story about a girl growing up in Detroit who learns how to deal with schoolyard bullies. But I’d like to think the searcher paused to read and enjoy the story anyway.  Likewise, I’m sure the person who looked for “Insensitive older brother“ didn’t expect to wind up reading a short story about two siblings who compete with each other to become the world’s best writer. Or maybe she did. Who knows? 

The search “Is it good to have blood pressure at one twenty over seventy” brought one reader to Outpatient,” a story in which the protagonist happens to have her blood pressure taken and it is, indeed, 120/70. Although this fictional encounter probably wasn’t what the searcher had in mind, the doc in the story does conclude that this is a good, healthy number. So maybe it was all for the best?  

Other pleasantly random searches that have brought folks to my site are “Linda obsessed with furniture,“ and the rather zen-like  “She stops waiting.” But my favorite search term of all so far?  “How to know if ducks are unhappy.”

My storyGood for the Ducksis about a group of Jewish ducks on a pond in Boston’s public garden who witness two suicides in one day (Go ahead—Google it!) So it makes perfect sense that a search for unhappy ducks would deliver someone to my site. And yet, search-wise, this is a total dead end. My story, while entertaining, will not tell you how to make an actual duck happy. Although I love knowing that somebody out there wants to try.  

Another searcher came to the same story with the rather cryptic search: “Pretend floating ducks to buy.” What exactly was he or she looking for? I’ll never know. 

If you have a website yourself (and who doesn‘t, these days?)  I recommend Google Analytics. Not only is it fascinating to discover where your traffic comes from, but now that I’ve added GA, I find that the website my son created to entertain my readers often entertains me too. When I log on to check my stats, I can’t wait to see what curious and implausible searches have brought people from as far away as Iran and India to a site featuring humorous stories about wildebeests, Segways, waterfowl, and the GOP.   

In conclusion, because this essay may well appear online, I’d like to leave you with the following phrases: “America’s favorite humorist,” “Hilarious short stories,” and “Your duck will love this site.” Those ought to bring me some web traffic. Perhaps they will even bring me the reader I most want to reach—you.



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  • Roz Warren December 3, 2012 at 6:12 pm

    Faith, I’m glad you found us! We probably aren’t related — my family name was actually Weinzweig before my dad shortened it back in the 50s.

  • Faith Warren December 1, 2012 at 6:35 pm

    Great short story on search terms that brough people to your site! I used Google’s Image search and it picked up the image on this page, then I read your story. I too am a blogger, and my last name is Warren, maybe we are related? who knows?

  • Just One Boomer (Suzanne) August 31, 2012 at 2:20 am

    My 20 something kid (blogging guru) warned me that if he set up Google Analytics on my blog, I might become obsessed. Guilty as charged. For example, it’s 2:19 a.m. and I am analyzing the analysis of my blog stats from yesterday. One thing is clear, I need to write more blog posts about Ireland. Who knew?

  • IB July 16, 2012 at 4:10 pm

    Isn’t the book “Make way for Ducklings” set in Boston? I really liked this essay, Roz. It tickled my absurdist funny bones. If you don’t know exactly where those bones are – I guess you could google it.

  • hillsmom July 16, 2012 at 11:15 am

    The question is…should you be thanked for the links to your stories? More time “wasted” on the computer, as my DH is wont to say. Oh well, thoroughly enjoyable and not a waste of time, although I didn’t get any laundry done. Always put off until tomorrow…

    P.S. Perhaps you need an upgrade to the “Naughty Librarian” glasses, IMHO 😎

  • Rick July 16, 2012 at 10:53 am

    I remember when “Good for the Ducks” was work-shopped many years ago, and someone pointed out that the ducks in the story were too far away from the humans to actually hear their conversations. This person was willing to accept that ducks are sentient, Jewish and interested in the emotional lives of humans, but could not process their acute hearing. Which I guess was a tribute to your writing skills. As I recall, you moved the humans closer, which in the end was better for the ducks.

  • RozWarren July 15, 2012 at 2:51 pm

    Thanks, everyone, for the positive feedback. Not only that but yesterday 17 people visited my website instead of the usual 7!

  • Andy Johnson July 15, 2012 at 11:19 am

    Enjoyed following the links to your stories! No matter how you get there, they are great reading!!

  • Kate July 15, 2012 at 10:43 am

    Congratulations on being funny all over the world, Roz Warren, International Woman of Humor.

  • kelly July 14, 2012 at 10:31 pm

    this is hilarious! love it

  • Amy Edelman July 14, 2012 at 9:07 pm

    how about “I wet my bed” reading your story.

  • jody July 14, 2012 at 8:57 pm

    This was great. As a neophyte in the world of googleI have stumbled upon numerous sites I did not expect to find. As a lover of ducks I would have been delighted to discover a story about Jewish ducks from Boston!

  • Mark Lowe July 14, 2012 at 10:22 am