Akash and Katie Playing Peek-A-Boo

Julia (mommy) made a little video with captions, sound effects, and everything on iMovie last night. It stars our daughter Katie and nephew Akash. Atashi, my sister-in-law had a big fund-raising event to host in San Francisco for Narkia the non-profit she runs and needed an overnight baby sitter. So… Akash came to play and sleep over! Katie loved having her little cousin visit.

The Story Behind My Blogging Success

A few months ago I started a blog on my growing obsession with tiny houses called Tiny House Design which has quickly become my busiest website. I think I’ve stumbled on some little little discussed secrets to successful blog marketing. But first let me show you the traffic evidence because it will help explain how I’m driving traffic up.

The Evidence

This chart from my Google Analytics account shows the traffic spikes over the last two months. As you can see there are three distinct traffic spikes that resulted in a slightly higher base traffic after each spike. The first little spike was the day an article was published about me in the New York Times. The next spike was a short national television spot on the tiny house movement. The third, tallest spike, was a CNN television story on two leaders in the tiny house community, Jay Shafer and Bill Kastrinos.

This next chart is from Google Trends and shows how my top keywords have been performing for the last twelve months. As you can see there is a direct correlation since most traffic comes from search engines.

This next chart shows my bounce rate dropping off significantly which means that something has either changed on my blog or the people searching for this content are really getting interested in it and are sticking around on the blog much longer.

This last chart shows average page views by visitor. It’s not surprising that it looks like the inverse of the bounce rate. But still interesting so see the correlation.

Little Known Secrets

First I am not doing all the normal marketing tricks pro-bloggers tell you to do. I’ve simply optimized my blogs and done a little bit of networking. I have however stumbled on some simple things that are driving my traffic higher and higher everyday. Here they are:

  • Do something that really matters, then blog on it. Make blogging secondary and the quality of your content will actually improve because you will be making the story not just reporting on it.
  • Choose a topic you’re passionate about and that’s growing in interest. The collapse of the housing market is actually fueling more interest in downsizing. It’s exactly what drove me to tiny houses in the first place. People from all around America are re-thinking how they live and the true value of a home.
  • Real stories want to be told. The main stream media wants to tell your story if its real and timely. Reporters are combing the web for stories to tell. News agencies and television shows make their money by telling compelling stories.
  • Use your real name. I’m also working on writing a couple books and figured it would pay in the long run to have my real name out there. Real people, with real stories, have real names. Use yours.
  • Make real friends and connections. Get to know the people in your online and offline community. You are stronger together.


  • Avoid publicity stunts. The main stream media wants to report real stories. Be honest and real or everyone will see right through you.
  • Don’t waste time with tricks. No real traffic comes from search engine optimization tricks. Spend less time commenting on other people’s blogs and more time doing something people value and writing about it. If you can video tape and photograph it even better.


As you can see this is just the beginning of something good. Ironically as the economy worsens the interest in downsizing increases. So I suspect my blogs on tiny houses will get the biggest boost in traffic during the upcoming lean years. In any event I think my strategy is sound and proving to be successful. I hope you fiud it useful.

Here’s a recap:

  • Be real
  • Do something real
  • Do something your passionate about
  • Write about it
  • Video tape it
  • Photograph it
  • …and ideally pick something more people are moving toward.

Now take a look at my tiny house blogs/forum:

Irwin Redlener: How to survive a nuclear attack

I came across this video on TED.com. It’s a talk by Dr Irwin Redlener on the ever present possibility of nuclear attack. When I was a kid I remember hearing a lot about the threat of nuclear war and what we needed to to survive. Ironically back during the cold war surviving a nuclear war was probably impossible. Today the threat of nuclear terrorism has increased and the threat of nuclear war has decreased, which, even more ironically, may be a good thing because we have a very good chance of surviving nuclear terrorism because the attack would be isolated and relatively small. Redliner also has a book on the topic: Americans at Risk: Why We Are Not Prepared for Megadisasters and What We Can Do

I have a new drug!

Like I need to be medicated… heh. I’m cutting back on coffee but not for the reasons you might think. Peet’s Coffee it just to %$#$% expensive so I’m limiting myself to a cup of home brew Peet’s in the morning and to keep moving through what should be my nap time I’m switching to Ice Tea.

Yes… Ice Tea is my new drug. Ironically in large quantities it provides as much caffeine as coffee and no extra calories or fat because I’m not drinking a bunch of half-n-half with it. Maybe someday, when I’m not burning my candles on all ends I’ll have time to cut caffeine out all together, but for now a switch to a slightly healthier form of the drug is a step in the right direction.

Photo credit wikipedia commons.

And that photo made me harken back to my teenage years and this once very popular song.

Now I’ll stop because that was way to stupid of a blog post. Bye.

Patchwork Nation Map

I found this interesting map on the Christian Science Monitor website this morning. They are using it to illustrate how the presidential race unfolds. I think the map is interesting because it places a general label on each county in America. In general I think labels are for boneheads but being a bonehead myself from time to time I decided to temporarily put on these 3D glasses and take a look. Give the map a try and see how these different groups are located geographically. Then look and see which candidate is visiting which locations. Interesting stuff… see the Patchwork Nation Map.

Defect to Canada while there’s still time!

Just kidding… but this video is really funny. Pretty much everything joked about in the video is true. The Canadian government makes it really easy for professionals to move to Canada. It is cold but not too bad in parts of British Columbia. I’m not sure right now is a good time to move though, with the dollar so weak, but definitely something to keep in mind.