Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Who are you & why are you looking at me like that?

So yesterday, I conducted an experiment.

That’s not nearly as cool as it sounds, since I didn’t get to wear a lab coat or blow stuff up in test tubes.

I was experimenting on you guys, the readers of this blog. Since the delightful Harley May gave me a day off with her roast, I deliberately didn’t mention my own blog on Twitter yesterday.

(Sidenote: being able to use the phrase “tweet my blog” is my favorite thing about Twitter).

Because I’m a stalker, I already know a good chunk of my daily blog hits come from Twitter. I tweet something silly saying I’ve got a new post up, people click my link, and maybe a few kind souls even retweet that.

On a good day, I might get 300 visitors. On an average day, it’s closer to 150. Prior to yesterday, my theory was that if I simply didn’t tweet my blog (snicker!) on a given day, my visitor volumes would plummet.

I was wrong.

And as is often the case, I was happy to be wrong.

While it wasn’t one of my highest-volume days, it wasn’t one of my lowest, either. There were still over 100 unique visitors. Roughly 17% of those were first-timers, and the rest were return visitors.

I’m intrigued. Where did you come from? What made you stop by? Google Analytics only tells part of the story. For instance, I can see many of you get here via my blogger profile, but how did you find that?

I’ll admit it, I’m a lazy blog reader myself. I have a few I visit daily whether I’m prompted to or not, but in most cases I’m like a squirrel with something shiny. If a tweet catches my eye, I click the link and visit the blog. Very rarely do I remember to return again the next day, even if I really loved the post.

I assumed everyone operated like that, but apparently that’s not true. You still showed up yesterday, even without me jumping up and down on Twitter yelling “Pet me! Pet me! Pet me!” like a neurotic cocker spaniel.

So I really am curious – who are you? How did you get here? What made you visit me today? Even if you aren’t a regular commenter, I’d love to hear from you in today’s comments. This is a highly scientific experiment, people – I need information!

I also need that lab coat. And maybe some little white mice.


Catherine Gayle said...

I've enjoyed your blog on enough visits that I decided to become a follower. When I sign up to follow a blog, any time I sign in to Google Reader, it shows me which of the blogs I follow have new posts. And since I wanted to read the roast, I had to click through in order to get there. So...that's how I ended up coming to your blog yesterday, even though you didn't tweet it.

Elizabeth Flora Ross said...

You really are addicted to statistics! LOL (And thanks to you, I am, too.) I check your blog every day. Since I am a follower (of your blog, not in real life), you show up in my Blogger dashboard. And since I communicate w/you regularly on Twitter, I always check out what you have to say. And I always enjoy it, even if I don't comment.

I'm not stalking you, I swear!

Penelope said...

I think you are lovely, hilarious and I enjoy your writing, so Google Reader informs me when you post. :)

Linda G. said...

It's simple. I like to laugh, so I show up here to feed my addiction to humor. Sometimes I come via my Google Reader, sometimes via Twitter. Depends on where I am and what I'm doing when I get that urge to let loose a hearty guffaw.

Frankly, your post today isn't as hilarious as usual. Could you maybe edit it to include a pic of you making a funny face or something? Hands in ears, crossed eyes, & sticking out tongue would work. ;)

Jamie D. said...

I follow well over a hundred blogs, so the only way I can keep up is to use Google reader. Blogs I "follow" show up there as well as those I sign up to follow via a standard RSS feed, and every day I skim through all the new posts, marking some to read later, some potentials for linking back to from my blog, and some I just visit/comment on right away. It allows me to maintain a pretty steady presence on far more blogs than I'd be able to otherwise. Very organized. ;-)

I'll occasionally click through to your blog through a twitter link, more often though, it's through my google reader. Ironically, I didn't actually click through to this blog yesterday because I saw you weren't posting here in my reader. ;-)

Lynda Elkin said...

While reading a bog (I can't remember whose) I thought it would be interesting to read her comments and then wondered about the commenters themselves and started clicking on them to see who they was you! I laughed at the cartoon you and blog name then read your post for the day and LOVED it! I must have spent hours going back and reading the days I'd missed. I think I made it back to the March posts in that first sitting. I became an apostle of Tawna...telling everyone I saw to get on board~

You have such a gift and I thank you from the bottom of my (much lighter) heart for sharing your humor!! Your tweets kill me, I can't get enough. I'm not much of a romance novel reader but I can't wait for your books to come out. Who can I call to speed up the process??

Neurotic Workaholic said...

I found out about your blog from TiredButWriting's blog, because she mentioned it in one of her posts. And I liked your blog because it's always so funny and interesting.It's nice to read posts written by someone who doesn't take everything so seriously and has a good sense of humor.

Janelle Alexander said...

Who are you?? I just accidently ended up here... I don't follow you on Twitter or know about your genius husband. And I most definitely don't entertain you with my tumbleweed bot wars... ;o)

hehe. Actually, I'm kinda like you. I don't really think about blogs everyday, but when you tweet the link, I follow it 'cause I <3 you!!! :o)

Although, I do agree with Linda... I want a funny pic too!!!

(btw Lynda, I'm with you! I'm not a romance reader either, but let's go hunt them down and make them release it early!!!)

Larissa said...

LOL. I follow you, so when I go to my Blogger dashboard, any of your new posts comes up in my list. On days when I have time, I scroll down the list, open any interesting posts in a new tab, and read them all (right now I have 10 blog tabs open). I always click on yours because you are hilarious. :)

Delia Moran said...

Followed you here from Lucy's blog and, once I clicked follow, you show up on my blog dashboard whenever you post. So, yesterday, when you posted about being roasted, I came here, read it, and clicked over to the roast. Now you know.

Anne Gallagher said...

I followed you over from Cynthia's blog awhile ago. I don't tweet so I don't know anything about that. You just come up on my blogroll and as you write romance, here I am.

Anonymous said...

I have a special folder in my bookmarks titled "blogs" and you are at the top. I normally check these blogs first thing in the morning (which is 1AM for me) but I also click links that are tweeted.

Terry Stonecrop said...

Twitter is not my idea of fun so obviously I'm not influenced by tweets.

It was your blogger profile. You said something that I liked or laughed at, whatever, and checked you out. I think the blog was, Criminal Minds.

mo said...

I honestly don't remember how I *found* you, but I do know your blog title is what caught my eye. From there on I realized you were hilarious (that I loved you) and followed your blog. That was when you had a little over 50 followers. I feel quite special to have found you early, I'm not gonna lie...

Jennifer Shirk said...

I was scrolling down my google reader and your title made me giggle. Here I am. LOL

Steph Schmidt said...

I have no idea who, but another blog linked a post here. That post happened to mention Pythagoras, and the post was funny so the geek in me cried for joy and I added a link within my google reader on the spot. While I'm not always great about commenting when I'm in the depths of writing/editing I try to read as often as google reader flashes a new item under this awesome title.

Angela Ackerman said...

You have a great sense of humor and I always enjoy your posts and your take on things. :)Anyone who asks Who the @#$% are you? in their Blogger profile is a friend of mine. :)

Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse

Robin said...

I don't tweet or do anything on twitter. I suppose the day will come when I get sucked in. It feels like this black hole that is bound to suck us all in one day. I am avoiding its siren song for as long as possible. However, I read your blog here nearly daily. I don't always comment. I follow you publicly on google reader. So, each day anyone who has posted something new (that I am following) it shows up on my reader. I can click or not click (my choice) and it takes me to their blog. I found you via Writes In The City. She touted you on her blog about a month ago. And that is the story of how I found your blog. No, it isn't a bestseller.

Elizabeth Ryann said...

Funnily enough, I couldn't remember if I had seen a tweet with the day's blog, so I came to check, since Twitter was being a little funky yesterday. So I assumed the lack of tweeting was Twitter's fault, and not you deliberately choosing not to share.


Holy crap, you guys! This is crazy helpful information you're giving me. Keep it coming! :)

Catherine, Google Reader, huh? A friend tried to show me how that works once. I got confused and missed most of what she was saying. Might have to try again!

Elizabeth, I'm a total statistics whore. I'd be embarrassed to admit how often I check my Google Analytics stats.

Penelope, aw, thanks! You're lovely yourself!

Linda G, it's possible I'll be posting photos of myself peeling a banana with my feet tomorrow. Will that suffice?

Jamie D, you follow over 100 blogs? Holy crap, when do you find time to eat?!

Lynda, oh man, I want to print out your whole comment and frame it above my desk. You're making me blush :)

Neurotic Workaholic, you're right, I don't take many things seriously. It's sometimes a downfall, but mostly not!

Janelle, TUMBLEWEED!!!

Larissa, OK, can I just confess that I totally stole your name for a character in my current manuscript? I did it on accident at first, but now the character has morphed into one of my favorites in the book.

Delia, from Lucy March's blog or Weird Lucy's blog? I know I've commented on both from time to time, so I'm curious.

Piedmont Writer, isn't Cynthia the best? :), I get to be in a special folder? I feel so important!

Terry, wow, I'm trying to remember visiting the Criminal Minds blog. It sounds familiar, and was probably following some link from Twitter to get there. Funny how that works!

Maggie, I hereby declare you an official member of my "first 50" club!

Jennifer, good to know the titles matter. I got used to writing catchy headlines in my newspaper days, so I have a lot of fun with it now on the blog.

SM Schmidt, Pythagoras is rather popular here, I've discovered! I told him he can't ever leave me because then I won't have anything to blog about :)

Angela, aw, thanks! Who the @#$% are you, anyway? :)

Thanks so much for reading, guys, and for all the fabulous info you're giving me today! I'm storing it all in my mental file cabinet for social media research.


Michelle Wolfson said...

Huh, I always wondered what happens when you become a follower. It felt like an honorary title to me since I clicked and nothing happened. From reading the comments, I see I need to have some other part--like a google reader or google dashboard or something to make it happen.

I guess I will just continue to do what I've always done which is check your blog 8 times a day while muttering why hasn't she posted yet? why hasn't she posted yet?? I know she's 3 hours behind but she gets up at the crack of dawn. Why hasn't she posted yet????? So I admit that perhaps up to 20% of your repeat visitors (on a really depressing day when I'm hoping for a really hilarious post) might be me. Sorry to screw with your stats like that.

Just kidding. I usually don't check more than 3 or 4 times max. Really. Really really.


Whoops, missed a couple people there at the end (we must've been simu-posting!)

Robin, I was totally reluctant to try Twitter, but my agent convinced me to read Shel Isreal's TWITTERVILLE. I also read Joel Comm's TWITTER POWER. Both totally changed my perception of it. I thought it was a silly time suck, but it's a deceptively useful business tool.

Elizabeth, you're right, Twitter has been a bit of a brat lately. What's up with that?

Michelle, don't worry, you can check 100 times a day and it won't screw with my stats. The number I watch is "unique visitors," so you only get counted once. I wonder why the "follower" thing didn't work for you?

Thanks for reading & commenting, guys!


Angela Perry said...

I usually miss your blog post tweets, so I make it a habit to visit your blog at least twice a week and see what's up. I'm one of those direct traffic people in your Analytics dashboard :) I originally found you through Twitter, though, if that helps the stat crunching.

Danica Avet said...

Well, about a month or two ago, I listed the best things about being a blogger (or something like that) and listed my favorite blogs and asked my readers to list theirs. One of my buddies had your name listed as one of her favorite blogs, so I came over to check it out. Next thing I know, I'm compulsively checking your blog for an update. It's like crack...or books...but mostly crack. I even talk about you to others: "This lady whose blog I read puked in her undies, so I had to tell her about how I peed my pants..."

I love reading about your journey as a writer because although it doesn't quite reflect my own, I frequently feel the same way :)

Jeffe Kennedy said...

You know I followed you early on, when you first showed up on the "scene." Blogger Dashboard for me.

Unknown said...

I follow your blog on Google, so I check it every day regardless of Twitter posts. I will also check back to see if you've commented on the comments. (Sometimes those are as entertaining as the blog posts.) You're funny, and a bit perverse(I think you and I visit the same gutter from time to time), and there are days when I really need the laugh--so you're it.

However, chuckles aside, I became a regular when I read your post about being a "real" writer. I was tired of my writing being discounted as a 'hobby' and I connected to what you wrote.

Patrick Alan said...

Someone stole my pants. I think I might find them here, so I keep coming back, checking all the pictures.

Christi Goddard said...

I follow you (sorta stalk) so your posts show up on my blog roll. I have usually already seen the post before you tweet about it.

Jennifer Swan said...

Ok, my twitter friend. I follow @ musinks, who follows @efloraross, who follows @uppington, who follows @linda_grimes who follows you! It's like 6 degrees of Tawna Fenske. 'Nuff said.

Plus your blog and tweets crack me up! I admit I do enjoy an occasional romance. Looking forward to your book(s).
- @authorjswan

Delia Moran said...

Tawna, Lucy March's blog, though I've seen you on Jenny Crusie's, too.

Sierra Godfrey said...

I can't remember when or how I found you, but I return cause you're FREAKING AWESOME.


Morgan, thanks for the background info! I definitely have to give props to my agent for getting me started on Twitter.

Danica, I've never been so flattered to be compared to an illegal drug! :)

Jeffe, LOL, I think you were one of my first Twitter buddies, huh?

Jeannie, aw, thanks! The "You are a real author, dammit" blog post is still the most popular one I've ever written. Can you believe people are still retweeting that thing 2 months later?

Patrick, ask Pythagoras to help you find your pants. He's great at that.

Christi, is a blog roll like a log roll?

Jennifer, holy crap, I got dizzy just trying to follow all that! Amazing how one connection leads to another, isn't it?

Delia, thanks for the reminder that I haven't visited her blog yet today!

Sierra, shucks, you're pretty awesome yourself!

Thanks for reading, guys!

abby mumford said...

i'm a little late to the party, but let's consider me FASHIONably late, shall we? i follow your blog on google reader, so it alerts me as to when your latest post is up. but more often than not, i click through on twitter. mostly via linda's tweets because her RTs of your blog links are hysterical. they rev up the funny and sufficiently prepare me for the blog post ahead.

Claire Dawn said...

I follow, so you come up in my feed. You're my daily dose of humour. Wouldn't miss it for the world!

On that note, maybe some day I'll have to actually put some effort into attracting followers. I don't tweet, and I don't do much blog marketing. I'm not signed to an agent. Nor do I have a book deal. Yet, 53 people decided I'm saying something worth hearing.

Jeffe Kennedy said...

I think so, Tawna... maybe via Michelle?

Larissa said...

Aw! Yay! Can't wait to read about fictional Larissa. :)

jill said...

I'm also a lazy blog reader - I have the ones I regularly read bookmarked on my home computer but most faithfully read the ones that are all linked from one blog and the links from Twitter.

I think I first found your blog a few months ago from a retweet from someone I follow. Someday, I'll figure out how to use my bolg to link to all the ones I like to read. But that would mean going to my own blog once in a while.

Hmmm, just in case you try this experiment again, I'll move the bookmark for your blog nearer the top the my list!

Thanks for being here! Have you scheduled your boooksigning tour yet? Powell's is nice and close (for me!).

Dr. Goose said...

I am reading your blog because you told me to. I'm scared to think of the ramifications from you if I didn't.

Anonymous said...

I have a bad memory but I know I found you through twitter. Someone must have RT you or mentioned you or something. I've stayed because you are funny. I'll buy your books because of your humor on this blog. I cannot even imagine how funny your fiction must be.


Mumfusa, I do love Linda G's RTs, they're hysterical!

Claire Dawn, congrats on racking up the followers! Great job with that!

Larissa, er, kinda hoping you won't be offended that the fictional Larissa is a bit of a tramp :)

Jill, I haven't started plotting book signings yet, since I'm still 14 months away from my release date, but Powells is definitely on my list of places I'd love to visit!

Dr. Goose, you should be afraid. Very, very afraid. I know where you live.

Posey, *gulp* No pressure there for me to be funny in my books, eh?!

Thanks for reading, guys!