I am pleased to present an interview with Hannah Katsman, blogger of CookingManager.com and AMotherInIsrael.com. I have great admiration for her hard work, innovative ideas and strong following Hannah demonstrates through her blogs. By the way, I designed the header for both of her sites.
1) How did you get started blogging?
I started reading Jewish blogs, which weren’t covering things I was interested in like Israeli politics or religious debates. I knew I had something to say, but I was timid about expressing my views. Negative comments shook me up at the beginning, but I welcome them now. I love the interaction with my readers, many of whom have become friends.
2) When did you decide to work at making some money at blogging?
I began following professional blogging blogs and decided to sign up for an internet marketing course. During the course I started my second site, Cooking Manager, and moved A Mother in Israel to Word Press.Cooking Manager is also an excellent site that gets good search traffic. I earn small amounts from advertising and text links, but I haven’t developed them to the degree that I could. Having two blogs is really more than I can comfortably handle. I’m still not ready to give up on either of them yet, though.
3) How did you get the text links? They came to me unsolicited.
4) Has blogging helped you with writing professionally? In what way? Well, I recently finished a freelance translating job where I used my blog as an example of what I can do. I also translated sample pages in order to get the job. The translation was an academic work about women in haredi Judaism.
5) I know you recently took an exam for board certification in lactation. Has your Mother in Israel blog helped you with this aspect of your career? My volunteer work counseling mothers has helped me with blogging, because I learned how to communicate information tactfully and respectfully (I hope!).The blog has helped me make connections in the lactation world, and will be a good way to keep my name out there for potential clients.
6) What would you advise someone who wants to make money with blogging? I would start by reading top blogging websites by bloggers who blog for a living. Also, you need to keep in mind that there are a variety of necessary skills that you need to either learn or pay someone else to do including web design, social media and marketing, writing, ad management, and more. Finally, you need to have an idea of how you will make the money. Do you have a product to sell? Would you write an e-book? Do you want to rely on ads? A combination is best.
7) Why did you decide to switch to self-hosted WordPress? How have you learned WordPress as you work on your blog? You’re getting me at a bad time. I recently had to move my site from one server to another because the old one had limited the amount of disk space. I found several articles on how to do it, but I should have hired a professional. It took me 3-4 days and over a dozen chats with tech support. I learned a lot but not much that will help me in the future. WordPress has many wonderful features and plugins, and I would never go back to Blogger, but it’s not the best move for everyone.
I look forward to continuing to follow Hannah’s career, as a blogger, as a writer, as a lactation consultant – there’s always some interesting controversy to follow. And her readers know it.
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