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Interview with Gina Trapani of Lifehacker – Part 2

Gina-Trapani-1Today I’m going to continue my interview with Gina Trapani of Lifehacker. Yesterday in Part 1 we talked about how she got into blogging and talked a little about being involved in one of the biggest blog networks going around. Today we turn our attention to Lifehacker itself and how Gina runs and manages it.

You have a number of bloggers working for you at Lifehacker – how do you find them? How to you coordinate/manage them?

I have 3 co-editors at Lifehacker: senior editor Adam Pash, associate editor Rick Broida and our weekend editor, Wendy Boswell. Each of my co-editors also does about 6 posts a day and 1-2 feature articles per week. Our goal is to update the site about 20 times per weekday and a reduced rate on the weekends, and offer at least one original feature article per weekday. That’s not something I could do alone, so thank goodness for my team.

I’ve found my editors in various ways. Adam was an avid reader and prolific commenter, and his knowledgeable and well-written comments got him hired. Wendy and Rick both guest-edited the site for some time before they became permanent editors.

A lot of time and energy goes into coordinating the 4 Lifehacker editors. We do frequent post reviews of each other’s material, keep an internal editorial wiki for our style guides and other documentation, have a weekly chat to brainstorm feature ideas, and keep in constant touch via IM and email.

What are your top 5 Blogging Tools?

1. Google Reader for RSS feeds. (Here’s why I switched from Bloglines)
2. Gmail for handling the daily onslaught of reader email.
3. Google Analytics and Sitemeter for traffic stats. (Here’s how I use Analytics to constantly improve and tweak the site)
4. Firefox along with some key extensions – like AutoCopy
5. AutoHotKey (Windows) and TextExpander (Mack) for entering post markup. (Here’s how to make blog markup easy with AutoHotKey)

Being a developer I’ve also build a few bookmarklets and Greasemonkey scripts that help us generate post types, like roundups, and search the site archives to avoid posting duplicate items.

How do you find post ideas for Lifehacker?

Three places: in the comments of existing Lifehacker posts (our commenters are awesome), in my RSS reader, and in the tips email box. And, of course, just talking and listening to my fellow geeks and friends and family about what’s on their mind.

What tips would you give someone just starting out in blogging if they wanted to build a profitable blog?

First, pick a topic you love, one that you can’t wait to write about every day. If I wasn’t truly obsessed with productivity, I would have never lasted at Lifehacker. Second, center your site on the reader, not yourself. Provide useful, informative, entertaining material that readers will come back to over and over again. Third, measure your success by your readership and the response you get from others, not your Adsense checks. Once you build your audience, the money will follow.

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.

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Comments

  1. Deborah says:

    Great article. Its always interesting to read about people behind the blogs and how they operate. Is there a part 3?

  2. basketer says:

    I am a regular reader of lifehacker. But i sometimes find the number of posts overwhelming. Moreover, if I open my RSS reader in a couple of days you have 30 odd posts and I am tempted to mark them read for now and read them later (which never happens). I am sure people have told you about this problem. I think you should provide seperate RSS feeds for people like me who want your articles but in limited doses.

  3. jdanylko says:

    Great interview and I’ve always liked LifeHacker.com (being a techie, how could you not?)

    Oh, I didn’t see the link to Part I, so here it is. :-)

    http://www.problogger.net/archives/2007/04/19/interview-with-gina-trapani-of-lifehacker-part-1/

    JD

  4. Nice to meet you through this post, Gina – and thanks, Darren.

  5. J.D. says:

    That’s not something I could do alone, so thank goodness for my team.

    This line cracked me up. It’s all I can do to update my site two or three times a day! Gina’s an inspiration. She works hard, and her efforts have paid off. Defintely one of my muses. Thanks for posting this interview.

  6. James says:

    Thanks for a couple very educational posts. The resources for the tools were also interesting. I am not sure I would switch to Google Reader yet, but I did check out your reasons to switch to it.

  7. Candida says:

    Excellent interview with lots of tips for bloggers in any niche.

    The five blogging tools will get a good try out.

  8. Keith says:

    thanks for the tips!

  9. Thanks for the time you took just to put together such informative answers. Like many, I’d be on LifeHacker a lot more if I could find the time … I know, it’s about all GTD LoL

    For those who have not yet switched to Google Reader .. do it … I was a long-time confirmed Bloglines fan and it took a couple days to learn the new tricks … but now I’d never go back.

    I was very interested in your tools and extensions … but I come up dry on a FireFox exstention named: AutoCopy … is that a typo or not a standard FF add-in?

  10. Thanks for the introduction to Lifehacker and i’ll be looking into the Top 5 blogging tools. With all the blogs on monetizing blog it’s good to see a bit about quality posts.

  11. Gina has got to be one of the most likable power-bloggers out there, too, fwiw. She’s awesome!

  12. Gina Trapani says:

    Hi all – thanks for checking out the interview, and thanks to Darren for publishing it.

    @Dave Starr: Here’s the link to AutoCopy: http://autocopy.mozdev.org/
    I also use CoLT for easy copying of link text and URL all in an a href for dropping into a post: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/1812

    @basketer: Hey, we don’t mean to bury you under posts! To see only our top stories for a given day (usually 5-6 posts), check out our top tag page:
    http://lifehacker.com/software/top/FV/

    For a once-a-day feature article, use our Feature tag page:
    http://lifehacker.com/software/feature/FV/

    Also, I should mention that I now use the free Texter (coded up by my co-editor, Adam Pash) to automate post markup. You can download it here:

    http://lifehacker.com/software/texter/lifehacker-code-texter-windows-238306.php

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