urbandaddyblog

Blogging Tips – Learn What Brings People To Your Blog: Life’s a Jouney. My blog is a Destination!


My immediate response to the question, “How do you get readers to come to your blog?” is “I don’t know!” And I really did not know, because I was too busy / interested in writing for myself and for my family than worrying about what I should write for everyone else. Back in the day, no matter what I wrote, or how I wrote it, I still maintained a very low repeat rate of readers.

I didn’t blame them either.

But as I started to look more closely at the posts which attract the most attention and those who take the time to comment – see what they are commenting on – I came to the same conclusion. After looking back through almost 1100 blog posts here at The Urban Daddy, the statistics tell me that my blog is a destination, not a journey. What I mean is that visitors regularly come here for a specific post, thought, idea or opinion, and not as part of their daily “must read” routine.

I’m okay with that.

And you should be too, if you see the same pattern while looking through your blog stats.

At least people come, right?

Every day or so I look at my blog stats to see how people get here and where they come from. I am not overly concerned with what they do when they get here, but it helps to see if traffic is coming from somewhere other than the main social media sites where I am linked to, such as my Twitter feed, Facebook page, Google + profile or directly here through a reader.

My views and unique views have more than tripled over the past year to year and a half, and regularly people will comment to me that they have read / read my blog and that they enjoy it. It still humbles me, to be honest, and in the back of my mind, I wonder what else could they possibly say?

“Hey man, I read your blog and it sucks. It’s terrible!”

Only once, so far (at least to my face).

I liken this exchange to one someone would have when seeing an ugly baby (yes, some do exist). Would you lie and say, “Aww, what a cute baby” or would you instead be truthful and just not comment on the baby’s looks and say something like, “Aww, what beautiful eyes he/she has.”

A friend of mine once came to my defense at a Dad’s wing night when he said that he likes reading my blog (and I appreciate it, I really do) and then he listed several posts over the years which he felt connected with him. I sat back and listened as someone else at the table said he occasionally reads my blog – but only when he has nothing else to read. I’m good with that too. It’s direct, and honest, and I prefer honesty over a generic “I love your blog” comment because it puzzles me to think that so many people could even care about the things I write about. I know, it’s me, not you.

This is exactly how you should be handling your blog, no matter how big or small, or how you feel about it. Take the compliment, know that you can do better, and do it. Trust me when I say that if you go offside on your blog, you will hear about it right away!

Now, back to my point…

More than half of my daily readers come from search engines. They come here as a destination via a search for something quite specific, and usually have nothing to do with being a Daddy blogger. The majority of that traffic comes to learn about Captain Lou Albano, the McRib, Rob Ford, The Starbucks secret menu in the Philippines, the Canadian Live-in Caregiver program and other non-daddy related stuff like that. If I ignored this information and continued to write about my kids and my family only, I would have a wonderful memory for when I’m older, but no one would see it. At least this way, I get some feedback on issues relating to parenting or politics, and I can be a little adventurous and learn for other people’s thoughts, opinions and comments.

So really, life may be a journey, but my blog’s a destination. Don’t be worried if yours is as well. Enjoy it and keep writing!

How The Eglinton Avenue Re-Development Message Got Lost: It’s NOT About You!


This was a very troubling week for The Urban Daddy and our community.  An apparent sudden decision by the municipal government here in Toronto had thrust our neighbourhood into chaos and as citizens moved into action our efforts to seek the truth were suddenly derailed by the actions of one man – whom I will not mention by name, nor show his picture – who feels his 15 minutes of fame are far more important than the residents and taxpayers in this area.

It all started with a news report on CP24 alerting residents in Toronto that Toronto City Council was going to vote on the narrowing of Eglinton Avenue from Allen Road to Bathurst Street from 5 lanes, to just 2 lanes, so that the sidewalks could be widened, trees and artwork placed on the strip and bike lanes added.

All of this seems very nice, and very practical, and as a resident in Toronto, specifically someone who lives in between those streets and who is already impacted by the Eglinton Crosstown LRT / subway, this information came as quite a shock to me, and apparently to many of my neighbours.

This strip as it currently stands is terrible – construction aside – as a result of many one-way streets, and the absolute lack of traffic on the strip.  At night-time, the street is aglow with “MASSAGE” signs and very few people walk in this area at night because, frankly, there is nothing to walk to.  If the goal was to make this strip feel more “European”, then maybe Toronto City Council might want to think about the 3 months a year in which weather would comply with this drastic transformation.

In addition with St. Clair Avenue already being down to one lane in parts as a result of the transit right-of-way, doing the same to Eglinton Avenue, the next major road north, makes even less sense.  Eglinton is the end of Allen Road, an “expressway” of sorts which helps traffic flow north and south from Wilson Avenue without traffic lights, but with a lot of traffic.  People use Allen Road to head north to the 401 highway, and the delays have always been long and frustrating with or without construction, one could imagine it would only get much worse.

Let me at this point identify that I am pro every method of transportation.  Cars, bikes, walking, public transit are all great.  If I could take public transit everyone in Toronto, I would, where it makes financial sense.  If I could bike safely, I would, and my kids would too.  But we are not there yet, and don’t appear to be for quite a long time, so in the meantime, doing anything to slow down traffic does not make sense at all.  But that is my opinion…

So where is traffic going to go, if it cannot move along Eglinton Avenue, or St. Clair?  Well the side streets, of course.  We are already seeing a huge increase in traffic as a result of the construction, and in front of my house, for example, there is a stop street which very few cars actually stop at, some do not even try, and they fly through without even braking.  The “30km” traffic limit is always ignored, and speed bumps only cause a momentary delay as cars race off after passing them.  Even one-way streets are ignored, and it’s going to get worse.

But what about the kids?

This community, Cedarvale, which lies just north of Forest Hill, has a ton of children, and these children cannot safely walk in this community as it already stands.  Is Toronto city Council’s shortsighted view of the war on cars overlooking or ignoring the impact this re-development will have on the children in the community who are already scared to cross streets because vehicles travel very fast and do not follow the street signs when using Cedarvale as a short-cut to avoid the delays on Eglinton?

It would appear so.

When Toronto Mayor Rob Ford came to speak to the community about this issue, a couple of says after his return from rehab, I met some community members who lived on the other side of Eglinton Avenue in the next phase of this narrowing of Eglinton were just as shocked as I was, and who had put together a traffic study, which can be found right here; (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GjP4HWMeieo&feature=youtu.be)

Adding to this frustration is that we learned that the City Planner had approved high density building along this strip with the widening of the laneways behind these buildings (which would require residential houses to be removed) to accommodate the traffic from these buildings.

More construction.

More traffic chaos.

Has the city planner, or city council ever been to these neighbourhoods?  $700K bungalows, and $1.5 million houses are common place in Cedarvale, much higher south and east of here, and a lot of families reside here who are certainly not going to need the extra sidewalk to walk to a massage parlour, a Whole Foods maybe, but clearly no one asked the residents what they want or need.  To look at the map of the area and declare it ripe for additional density of short-sighted.  This is not the right community for that.

Mayor Ford came to speak to us, and his message was lost, because of the actions of man who ran across the street, through frustrated traffic, so he could take off his shirt, pull out signs from his garbage bag and stop the community from hearing the Mayor’s views on this proposal, or to allow us to ask questions of the Mayor about what he knows about this plan.

The media at the event helped even less, but asking questions of the Mayor with disdain, like “How is it that you don’t know about this vote?  Is it not your job to do so?” when members of the community also knew nothing about this proposal, and then by diverting the attention to the few who took off their shirts for their own 15-minutes of fame.

If you watched any of the footage on TV, you probably heard me, and several others yelling for these 3 protestors to “shut up” and “let the Mayor talk” and while we did get a very short moment of quiet from them, it was when the guy yelling “resign” over and over again elbowed the Mayor’s campaign leader in the head while trying to get right behind the Mayor with his sign.

To his credit, the Mayor’s staffers did not respond or get as annoyed as the members of the community did, although, the police stepped in which this protestor yelled “don’t assault me” to the Mayor’s staff after apparently being kicked (I did not see this – I was recording the events) but the police decided to not charge either person, and the protestor was allowed to return and annoy the mayor and the residents.

The result of his actions were that the message of this proposal got lost.  The community were livid, the Mayor frustrated and the only person who got any attention was the guy with the sign, who proceeded to tell his story to everyone and anyone about how the Mayor lied, and how he works in a flexible position where he can follow the Mayor around and yell at him.

I waited after almost everyone left, and listened to his story evolve and change.  It was not about Eglinton Avenue and the residents or about traffic, but about someone who wanted to talk about how his was kicked, and assaulted, and how much support he has.

“Me Me Me”.

But it’s not about him.

It never was about him.

I looked at my video and saw a different unfolding of events which threw some key details of his story into dispute, and I shared that with the media and with the other Mayoral candidates teams so that they can be aware of the true intent of this individual.  He’s taking a very serious situation of an unwell person struggling with an addiction problem, who took the time to enter rehab and is now back trying to do his job, and he made it about him.

At the end of the day, we all lose.

As for the proposal along Eglinton….  I have no idea.

My message to Toronto City Council, Councillor Joe Mihevc, and the guy with the signs who likes to take off his shirt and disrupt important discussions impacting people their families and their community, is this:  It’s not about you.  It’s not about your legacy or your vision.  Leave Eglinton alone.  Don’t force another St. Clair on us because you want to be on TV.

Toronto City Council, don’t waste your time looking to spend money you do not have.  Clean up the area instead.  Fix the sidewalks, make sure the lighting is working, that dogs are on leash near schools, that the intersections are clearly marked and are safe (Ava and Strathern, for example), step up safety in the area and PLEASE, get rid of the raccoons!

Make the area safe and people will use it.

But Leave Eglinton Avenue alone.

And if you have a problem with the Mayor, address it the way everyone else does… At the ballot box.

Canadian Living Likes The Urban Daddy too…


Father’s Day is a great time to check out some of the great Daddy bloggers on the Internet, especially the – ahem – Canadian ones.

I was thrilled when I received word from David Eddie who writes for Canadian Living saying he wanted to add my blog, The Urban Daddy, to his article titled; Daddy Blogs You Should Be Reading.

David, in case you were not already aware, has blogged under “Mack Daddy” and has written and published (is this not one in the same) a few parenting books;

  • Damage Control: How to Tip-Toe Away From the Smoking Wreckage of Your Latest Screw-Up With a Minimum of Harm to Your Reputation (2010)
  • Housebroken: Confessions of a Stay-at-Home Dad, (2003)
  • Chump Change (1999)

You can see more of David’s work, here.

Here is what David wrote; “Moms have ruled the blogosphere, but daddy bloggers are throwing their ball caps in the ring. Here are the daddy blogs you should be reading.

While women are naturals at communicating and forming communities, it’s tougher for us guys. I was a stay-at-home dad for many years—I even had a blog called Mack Daddy, which quixotically tried to make being an SAHD seem cool—and I know that, as a dad, you can feel isolated, like you’re the only guy in the world going through what you’re going through. Reading some other dude’s blog is one of the best cures. Dad bloggers offer a unique window into what men think about their lives in the wake of having children.

Maybe in some utopian future when we’re all riding around in hovercars, we will speak only of “parent bloggers,” making no distinction between male and female. Until then, dad blogs add a spicy flavour to the blogosphere. A flavour kind of like…barbecue.

Here are some of my go-to sites that let me know I’m not alone:

The Urban Daddy is the blog for products and practical tips, especially for things to do when your kids are driving you up the wall. Warren Orlans, the Toronto father behind the blog, says he’s “not your typical daddy,” and I’m not quite sure what he means by that. (What’s typical these days?) But, like me, he has a three-kid, two-career household. Also like me, he and his wife have the odds stacked against them: three to two. He’s very good on the topic of “juggling”—which is especially useful for readers who live in urban jungles. Don’t kid yourself: It is a jungle out there, and Urban Daddy is a great guide to avoiding the bear traps, vipers’ nests and poison darts.”

Please go read the entire article, here.

Opinion: Canada would benefit from granting fathers paid time off


Some of you might recall a couple of moths ago I asked for some participation from the Daddy community to assist a graduate student, completing her Masters of Public Policy at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, BC, surrounding fathers and paternity leaves.

The link to that post is here.

Well, with the research gathered, reviewed, analysed and computed, Xiaoyang had the opportunity to write an article for the Vancouver Sun, and the link to that story is below.

Opinion: Canada would benefit from granting fathers paid time off.

 

Please take some time to read the article based on data you and I provided and see what the conclusion is…

Local Event: chickaDEE and the Toronto Zoo, June 21st, 2014.


Suddenly, this Urban Daddy feels very old!

Upon receiving a tip that OWLkids and the Toronto Zoo are partnering to celebrate 35 years of chickaDEE magazine on June 21st, my mind started recalling the release of chickaDEE at the ripe old age of, ahem, 7-years-old.chickaDEE Magazine 35th Anniversary issue

Needless to say, I’m old, but I LOVED OWL as a kid, and loved chickaDEE too. My kids love OWL and chickaDEE as my middle child is the ripe old age of, ahem, 7-years-old.

So as a result, we have cleared our calendar on the 21st to ensure that we can attend this event (we already have the family seasons pass to the zoo).

This event is an excellent addition to The Urban Daddy’s event listings because it is an educational activity that the whole family will enjoy, while seeing a major Toronto attraction in the Toronto Zoo.

EVENT: chickaDEE Magazine Zoo Puzzle Search

DATE: Saturday, June 21, 2014
9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

VENUE: Toronto Zoo
361A Old Finch Ave.
Scarborough, ON
M1B 5K7

EVENT DESCRIPTION:

Kid explorers and their families are invited to join Owlkids, publishers of chickaDEE Magazine, for a fun-filled day of discovery at the Toronto Zoo on Saturday, June 21, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Come out to follow the clues and search the Zoo for four puzzle pieces that will reveal a special picture. Collect all four and win a prize!

For more information visit the Toronto Zoo website, here.

 

See you at the zoo!