How Lifehacker Went from 1m to 10m Monthly Uniques Fast with Whitson Gordon

Whitson Gordon The Top Podcast Episode 187

In Episode #187, Nathan speaks with Whitson Gordon, the editor-in-chief of How-to Geek. Listen as Nathan and Whitson talk about the balance between quality and marketing when running a publication.

Famous 5

  • Favorite Book? – Money Mustache
  • What CEO do you follow?— None
  • What is your favorite online tool?— Breevy
  • Do you get 8 hours of sleep?— Yes
  • If you could let your 20 year old self know one thing, what would it be?— The tool you use doesn’t matter as much as how you use it.

Whitson Gordon is the editor-in-chief of How-to Geek. He was formally the editor-in-chief of Lifehacker and has contributed to other publications such as Macworld and Wired. He spends a lot of time breaking technology just so he can learn how to fix it.

Time Stamped Show Notes:

  • 01:00 – Nathan’s introduction to today’s show
  • 01:28 – Whitson joins the show.
  • 02:10 – Whitson wrote a blog in college that nobody read, but it helped him obtain an internship.
  • 02:30 – He was able to get an internship at Lifehacker which was his favorite internet site at the time.
  • 03:19 – After he graduated, Whitson became a contributor at Lifehacker.
  • 04:19 – Whitson’s been with Lifehacker up until 2016. The publication went from 1 million readers to over 10 million readers per week.
  • 05:44 – In the earlier days of Lifehacker, articles were more technical, higher quality, and boring. Nowadays content is more eye-catching but not as diligently created.
  • 06:38 – Whitson believes that blogs that create quality content instead of focusing on marketing succeed more often.
  • 08:52 – Articles should include writing that will allow it to stay relevant on Google searches long after publication.
  • 10:11 – Articles should also be very specific – writing detailed material can be valuable for readers. (I.E. instead of having top 10, write each one separately.)
  • 11:39 – Lifehacker and How-To Geek rely primarily on advertisements to make money.
  • 13:22 – As editor Whitson isn’t responsible for decreased revenue – only lowered traffic.
  • 15:19 – Famous Five


3 Key Points:

  1. A blog or publication attracts readers through a combination of quality content and marketing. The most optimal combination is up for adjustments.
  2. Articles should include writing that will allow it to stay relevant on Google searches long after publication.
  3. Specific and detail oriented articles are more valuable for a reader because it contains more applicable information.

Resources Mentioned:

  • Edgar – Nathan uses Edgar instead of other scheduling tools for Twitter because Edgar cycles through content over and over (buffer/others you have to re-input content over and over – time consuming). In the last several months, Edgar has driven Nathan over 3728 clicks that he didn’t have to work or pay for.
  • LinkedIn – Whitson’s LinkedIn
  • How-to Geek – Whitson’s new blog
  • Lifehacker – Whitson’s previous blog
  • Money Mustache – Blog Whitson likes to read
  • Breevy – Whitson’s favorite online tool


Show Notes provided by Mallard Creatives