Close
Close

Interview with Gina Trapani of Lifehacker – Part 1

Gina-TrapaniToday I have the pleasure of posting the first part of an email interview that I conducted recently with Gina Trapani from one of my favorite blogs – Lifehacker. I’ve divided the interview into two parts because Gina’s put some great ideas into what she’s written and I’d like to give us all the opportunity of digesting it slowly over a couple of days. I hope you enjoy it.

Can you give us a short introduction into who you are and where you blog?

I’m a web programmer and freelance tech writer based in southern California. Primarily I write Lifehacker.com, a weblog about software and productivity which I update several times a day. I also keep a personal “stuff that interests me” tumblelog at Scribbling.net.

My first dead tree book came out in December, which is based on Lifehacker.com. It’s called Lifehacker: 88 Tech Tricks to Turbocharge Your Day, and is available at bookstores and at Amazon.com. More info about the book is available at http://lifehackerbook.com.

How did you get into blogging?

I lived in New York City and worked at an office about 2 miles north of the World Trade Center on September 11th. Like everyone else across the country and around the world, the experience of that day changed me – especially being so close geographically, witnessing the attack as it happened, and losing a family friend who worked in the towers.

Afterwards, reading my co-workers’ and friends’ accounts of that day on their blogs helped me process and deal with what happened more than any mainstream coverage, and they inspired me. That December, in 2001, I began my first personal weblog.

How did you get the gig as a blogger at Lifehacker?

It was luck, great timing, and a hyperactive brain. I had been working for Nick Denton, founder of Lifehacker’s publisher, as a programmer for a couple of years already the day he and I went out to lunch and he mentioned he’d registered the lifehacker.com domain. I think my jaw hit the table in awe of what a great domain name that was, and I started listing all the great stuff he could do on a site named that, right over our Vietnamese food. He asked if I wanted to write it on the spot. Even though I’d never written anything professionally, accepting his offer was a no-brainer.

What tips would you give to someone looking to land a job blogging at a blog network?

Start your own blog on the topic you love, and make every effort to make it great. When you apply for a pro blogging job, tell them about your personal blog and point out posts you’re most proud of – that site will be your interview for the position.

Can you tell us a little about what you’re required to do as part of that blog?

On average I write about 6 posts a weekday, usually pointing to interesting productivity-related items around the web, and two feature-length original articles per week. On a daily basis, most of my time is spent researching and writing posts (obviously), answering email, managing my co-editors, brainstorming site improvements, interacting with readers in the comments, and planning new post series and feature articles. I get paid much the way a writer at a magazine gets paid. At magazines, you get paid per word; blog publishers usually pay per post. Feature posts – like magazine feature stories – require the most work and bring in the most traffic, so we get paid a higher rate for them.

Read Part II of this interview with Gina Trapani

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

Problogger.net runs on the Genesis Framework

Genesis Framework

The Genesis Framework empowers you to quickly and easily build incredible websites with WordPress. Genesis provides the secure and search-engine-optimized foundation that takes WordPress to places you never thought it could go.

Check out the incredible features and the selection of designs. It's that simple - start using Genesis now!

Comments

  1. Seems like she has her day set out for her…lots of good information in that post…and how you can use your blog as basically your resume…good advice and I read the lifehacker.com blog also.

    good one darren

  2. Awesome interview, I am looking forward to reading the second part. It is alwats nice to get a sneak on the back scenes of those big blogs.

  3. James says:

    I will be looking forward to the next part.

  4. I’m already looking forward to the next part, although this one was a little frugal.

    Anyway it’s good to know how the best one do their job. Thanks for sharing this Darren and Gina!

  5. Julie says:

    Great interview so far!

    Here’s a little shout out to you Darren on my blog: http://julieannebonner.com/interview-with-gina-trapani-of-lifehacker/ You are the reason I am blogging and blogging about what I love and know. Many thanks! :)

    I can’t wait for part 2 of the interview!!

  6. Gina said: “I get paid much the way a writer at a magazine gets paid. At magazines, you get paid per word; blog publishers usually pay per post. ”

    Ah. Now I know why they post so much! After reading for a year, I recently unsubscribed. There are just too many posts per day for me.

    Honestly, LifeHacker breaks so many of the annoyance-factor rules. Like how they don’t let anyone comment without writing an application. It’s insulting, really. Many times, I started to write a reply to something automatically *like you would do in any normal blog* only to be spanked that posting isn’t allowed.

    Gosh. I’m not trying to trash them. But now I see that it’s TRUE that they aren’t writing for the audience, it’s really for the blogging dollars per post. Even that’s okay. I guess I’m just learning that they’re not heartful enough for me. It all makes sense now.

  7. Thanks for such an interesting interview. I’m impressed with Gina’s success in turning one thing (conversation) into another (blog) into yet another (book) — also refreshing to see a smart, attractive young woman achieving success online — break down those stereotypes!! :-)
    Sherri

  8. nakedpastor says:

    I love the interviews. Nice to have a face too. Awesome post and inspiring too.

  9. Charlie Ahern says:

    When Gina mentioned that she gets paid by the word, I thought of the Mark Twain quote (He was also paid by the word.):

    “I never write policeman, when cop will do.”

  10. Manueller Trackback:
    “Auf Problogger.net (Platz 31) gibt es ein kleines Interview mit Gina Trapani, die die meisten der Lifehacker-Einträge schreibt – ihr “Buch zum Blog” hat Peter Hogenkamp sich übrigens neulich schon zu Herzen genommen. Das Interview ist nicht gerade ausschweifend ausführlich (…)”
    http://imgriff.com/2007/04/23/interview-mit-gina-trapani-lifehackercom/

  11. John O says:

    Thanks for sharing this Darren and Gina!

Trackbacks

  1. [...] interviews Gina Trapani, who incidentally, notified me (via lifehacker) that Thunderbird 2 was [...]

  2. [...] Darren Rowse, bekannt als der Problogger, interviewt Gina Trapani. Kenne ich auch nicht, aber dafür ihren verdammt bekannten Blog namenes Lifehacker aus dem [...]

  3. [...] Rowse of Problogger (which is another of my absolute favorite blogs) has a great interview that he did with Gina Trapini of Lifehacker. This is just part 1. I can’t wait for the [...]

  4. [...] Interview with Gina Trapani of Lifehacker – Part 1 [...]

  5. [...] Interview with Gina Trapani: she is the mind behind Lifehacker. Problogger interviewed her, there are some nice answers about the work on the popular blog. Subscribe | April 22, 2007 | Filed Under General  [...]

  6. [...] Zum ersten Teil des Interviews – Zum zweiten Teil des [...]

  7. [...] great editors, and boundless energy. Gina’s interviewed at Problogger – first installation here, second [...]

  8. [...] how the LH machine gears turn and my advice for new bloggers in a two-part interview. Here’s Part 1, and here’s Part [...]