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Last Updated on August 22, 2022 by Randy Withers, LCMHC
So you’ve made a decision to start a mental health blog, but you’re not sure where to start.
Don’t feel bad. Starting a mental health blog is not as easy as people think it is.
Fortunately, you don’t have to figure it out all by yourself. I’ve created a complete guide for you.
All you need to do is follow it.
Why Start A Mental Health Blog?
People start a mental health blog for various reasons.
Mental Health Professionals in private practice often blog to promote their services, attract new clients, or to give back to the community. A blog may well be the single best way to establish yourself as a presence on the internet.
Psychology students and mental health enthusiasts often start a mental health blog to share with the world things they have learned in class or during while participating in internships.
Many bloggers are advocates for mental health and use their blog to spread awareness and decrease stigma.
Others start a mental health blog to write about their personal struggles with mental illness or addiction.
Which category do you fall under? Or is there another reason you want to start a mental health blog?
Benefits of Mental Health Blogging
- Writing about mental health topics is therapeutic for many
- It’s a great way to learn about mental health topics
- New friends and networking opportunities
- Brand development and professional contacts
- Establish yourself as an authority on mental health topics
- Promote products and services, or to generate revenue through ads
Whatever your motivation, we all face the same dilemma?
How do you start a mental health blog?
In Part 1, I’m going to walk you through 9 steps you need to take to create and start a mental health blog. We’ll cover everything, from choosing a writing platform to creating your core pages.
Once you’ve done all that, you’ll be able to start creating awesome content that your readers will love!
Part 1: How To Start A Mental Health Blog in 9 Steps
I’m going to assume that you are a total novice. If not, pick the steps that best apply to you. But if you are brand-new and just learning how to start a mental health blog, follow these 9 steps:
Step 1. Choose A Writing Platform for your Mental Health Blog
There are literally dozens of ways to start writing a mental health blog.
However, you need to think long term. If you want to earn money off a mental health blog someday, then you need to have your own blog where you and you alone can decide what goes on it.
RELATED: Newsbreak is a popular news aggregator site that lets bloggers like you and me create an account, post articles, and earn money. Sign up for their Creator Program. It’s totally free.
Platforms like Tumblr and Medium are great for beginners. But if you want to turn your blog into a profitable business, you need to own your own blog.
Here’s how to do that:
How To Start a Mental Health Blog on WordPress
- The first thing you’ll need to do is choose something called a Content Management System (CMS). It’s the platform that you write on.
- The most popular CMS on the planet is called WordPress, which you have no doubt heard about. Roughly half of the billion-plus blogs on the internet are published on WordPress and for good reason.
- You’ll come across two different versions of WordPress. These are WordPress.org and WordPress.com. The first one is free. The second one has free and paid options.
- If you want true freedom and the ability to monetize your mental health blog, go with the free version of WordPress.
- Don’t worry about downloading it. That’s not something you’ll need to do. For now, I just want you to know that it exists and that you should be using it!
- WordPress takes a bit of time to get used to, but the rewards of using it far outweigh the cons.
How To Start a Mental Health Blog on Wix
- If WordPress seems like too much to handle and you’d like to start a blog on a platform that is designed for ease of use, check out Wix.
- Wix features tons of free themes and a simple drag-and-drop user interface that makes it easy to create beautiful websites.
- They offer both free and paid plans.
- I’ve created a few websites using Wix, so I know that it’s a pretty good alternative to WordPress.
- You can start for free, so why not give it a try?
You can sign up for Wix here.
If I had to choose a platform to start a mental health blog besides WordPress, I’d go with Wix. It’s user friendly, has a ton of great features, and their customer support is excellent.
For the rest of this section, though, I’ll assume you decide to go with WordPress, as most of what I’m going to talk about has to do with it.
Step 2: Choose A Great Web Hosting Provider
A web hosting provider is a company that you pay to house your website or blog on the internet. Unless you’re blogging on a site like Tumblr, you’re going to have to pay for web hosting. Thankfully, it’s fairly cheap.
Web hosts provide the technology, security, and infrastructure for your blog. They also take care of problems if you run into any. And believe me, you’ll run into some problems. That’s why it’s a good idea to pick a web host that provides superior customer service.
Websites are stored on these things called “servers,” which are like special computers. Many providers have servers at strategic points all across the globe, which means that readers in other countries can access your blog. That’s a good thing, right? Those servers have an operating system, usually Linux, hence you will need Linux hosting for your website.
When anyone wants to access your site, all they need to do is enter the domain name (e.g., www.websitename.com) into a browser and they’ll go straight to your site.
There are tons of web hosting providers. So to keep you from being overwhelmed, I’m only going to talk about two that I have personally used and that I recommend. At this stage in the game, you don’t need to invest a fortune in web hosting.
Budget-Friendly Choice for Mental Health Blogging: Bluehost
- Bluehost is one of the most popular providers of web hosting services on the internet. Their hosting plans include a free domain name for one year, instant WordPress installation, automated updates and backups, unlimited bandwidth, and 24/7 WordPress expert support.
- They are also fairly inexpensive. In fact, you can get a plan starting at 3.95/month with this link.
- Bluehost is a good option if you are just starting out, have a limited budget, and don’t expect to have much traffic during your first year. And to be honest, you probably won’t.
- They’ve also been a recommended provider by WordPress.org for more than 15 years.
- Bluehost, by the way, offers a 30-day money-back guarantee, so there’s virtually no risk if you want to try them.
Better Choice For Mental Health Blogging: Siteground
- Siteground is the host I use now. They are more expensive than BlueHost, but they are reliable and have excellent customer support. I’ve never had any problems.
- Siteground is wildly popular, mostly due to the excellent customer support. Plans start at 6.99/month. Their “StartUp” plan is probably the best option for you. It’s excellent for sites that have less than 10,000 page views a month.
- If you are a brand-new blogger, that’s probably more than enough to suit your needs.
- They offer seamless integration with WordPress, integrated security features, and hundreds of free themes. You can also purchase your domain name directly through them.
- Perhaps most importantly, they boast a 99.99% uptime. You won’t have to worry about your blog going offline.
Step 3: Pick A Domain Name For Your Mental Health Blog
Before we get into the nuts and bolts of selecting and purchasing a domain name for a mental health blog, let’s talk first about the importance of the name itself.
Honestly, I’m not sure the name matters all that much. The vast majority of your readers will find you by your posts, not by your name.
Having said that, you’ll want to establish a unique online identity, or brand, to set yourself apart from other mental health bloggers. Examples of famous mental health “brands” include:
- Psychology Today
- Very Well Mind
- Tiny Buddha
- Mental Health America
- Blunt Therapy (that’s us!)
You probably noticed that 5 of those 6 blog names have a mental health-related keyword in them. Psychology, mind, therapy, and mental health are all examples of keywords.
It used to be considered a best practice to insert a target keyword in your blog name, as it helped with search engine rankings. These days, that’s not the case.
My advice: if the keyword makes sense in your name, use it. If not, don’t.
Tips for Selecting a Name for A Mental Health Blog
Start by generating a list of keywords. These can be topics that you plan to write about. Examples include mental health, PTSD, depression, anxiety, trauma, or therapy. Don’t get too specific though, especially if you plan to write about a wide variety of mental health topics.
Other considerations include:
- Your target audience (e.g., experts or novices)
- The specific mental health topics you plan to cover (e.g., depression, anxiety, bipolar)
- the tone you want to convey (e.g., funny, serious, heavy)
- the overall attitude of your blog. (e.g., formal or casual? Light or serious? Professional or amateur?)
- Anything unique about your blog (e.g., a specific focus, point of view, or a tidbit about yourself.)
Examples of Creative Mental Health Blog Names
Read this list of names and note how each one captures the essence of the blog itself.
- Anxious Lass
- The Angry Therapist
- Child Abuse Survivor
- My Big Fat Bipolar Life
Alternatively, you can:
- Use your own name (or your pen name)
- Or, use this free blog name generator
How To Check To See if Your Blog Name is Taken
So you’ve picked a great name and you’re excited to start using it. Don’t get too ahead of yourself.
You need to make sure your blog name isn’t already taken. Here are 5 things you can do.
- Perform a Google search of your blog name.
- Check to see if your blog name is Trademarked here.
- Use NameCheck to verify the availability of the domain name and/or social media handles.
- Use this tool: Instant Domain Search
- Search Namecheckr
Note: I can’t guarantee that these searches will be 100% accurate, but it’s a good place to start.
But let’s assume that your blog name and URL (website address) are available. Here’s how you go about buying the domain name.
How To Select and Purchase a Domain Name for Your Mental Health Blog
The domain name, also referred to as the URL, is what people type into a search console to find your site.
For example, my domain name is www.blunt-therapy.com and the URL is https://www.blunt-therapy.com.
When you purchase web hosting (see step 2), often you’ll get a free domain name as part of the deal. However, you can purchase a domain name from a bunch of different providers online. Here are just a few to consider:
I’m honestly not sure it matters which one you pick. However, be on the lookout for special offers when you buy a new domain. For example, free privacy protection or discounts for multiple years purchased. Take advantage of these offers if they are available.
Note: You do NOT need to purchase your domain name from your web host provider. I didn’t. It is quite easy to connect your domain to a web hosting provider. What’s important is that you get the domain name you want.
Should You Buy A Dot Com Or Dot Org or What?
Generally speaking, you want to acquire a .com domain name if possible. It is easily the most recognizable and popular domain type. .orgs are generally for nonprofits and organizations. .Co is one of the newer kids on the block. Choose it if it makes sense for you. I suggest you avoid .net, .info, and .blog. They come off as sketchy.
Now that you’ve got your web hosting provider and your domain name, let’s tackle the one you’ve been waiting for – choosing a theme for your mental health blog.
Step 4: Pick a GREAT Mental Health-Related Theme for Your Blog
A website’s theme is what makes your blog look the way you want it to. It also provides a structural framework for the blog itself. In almost every theme, you are going to see most of these options:
- Page Layout
- Header and Footer
- Blog roll
- Navigation menus
- Featured images
- Contact Form
- Mobile Responsiveness
There’s nothing wrong with a free theme. However, if you want to stand out, consider purchasing a premium theme. These range from $19-$99, depending on various factors, but the average theme is going to cost you around 50 dollars.
I recommend you invest in a good theme. In the long run, it will save you tons of time and money. Most paid themes are well-designed, SEO-friendly, and mobile responsive, meaning they look great on a smartphone.
Where To Buy a Good Mental Health Theme
Before we talk about where to buy a good theme, let’s talk about how you select a good theme for your mental health blog.
You need to remember that every website has an objective. For some, it is to sell products. For others, it is to provide information. Some websites are basically brochures for services. Others are news magazines.
If you’re a mental health professional with a practice website that has a blog, you’re going to want a theme that is designed to promote a professional practice. The blog is a secondary feature of your site.
If you’re just a straight-up mental health blogger, you’ll want to select a theme that promotes your blog posts and makes it easy for readers to share stories on social media, sign up for your email list, and leave comments. You’ll have secondary pages, such as About and Contact, but you want the blog itself to be front and center.
There are dozens of places online to buy themes. But in the interest of time, let me help you narrow your search. Check out the following sites and see what they have to offer.
Once you’ve selected your theme, you can upload it directly to your blog. Your web hosting provider can help you do this, but it’s super easy to do.
Customizing your theme, however, is a different story. Some themes are a bit more user-friendly than others.
Should You Hire a Freelancer?
If you have no experience adding, using, or customizing blog themes, you have three choices. You can:
- Learn how to do it on your own with free tutorials on Google and YouTube.
- Get a friend to help you.
- Hire a freelancer to do it for you.
You will be relieved to know that freelancers aren’t nearly as expensive as you might think. For years, I have used a website called Fiverr when I need to make changes to my theme, fix errors, or have plugins installed on the cheap.
On Fiverr, you can find dozens of qualified WordPress developers from all over the world. Many offer services beginning at 5 dollars. My advice? Hire a freelancer on Fiverr and don’t waste hours of time tweaking your theme. Your time is far better spent writing great content, which is what you wanted to do in the first place right?
OPTIONAL: Use a Page Builder
Coding used to be an unavoidable part of being a website owner. Thankfully, technology has advanced to to where you can build entire websites with a drag-and-drop user interface.
For example, the WordPress Page Builder is called Gutenberg. It is native to WordPress, meaning it comes with it.
With Gutenberg, you can add images, quotes, columns, buttons, and a ton of other widgets that are commonly used on websites.
However, many users provide the ease-of-use and advanced customization that third-party page builders bring to the table.
I use a popular Page Builder called Elementor. My entire site is built with it. It costs about 49 bucks a year, and there are more than a dozen other free and paid plugins that you can use to extend its features.
You don’t have to use one, but Page Builders offer a simple, cost-effective way to turn your theme into exactly what you want it to be.
Elementor has both free and pro versions. For full functionality, you’ll need the Pro. But the free version is great for customizing an existing theme.
Recommended Elementor Add-ons
Recommended Themes for Elementor
Step 5: Download Essential Plugins To Optimize Your Mental Health Blog
Plugins are third-party applications that add additional options, features, and tools to your blog. Many are free and some cost money. You can usually find a good free option for just about anything.
The best place to start is the WordPress Plugin Repository. You can access it from the backend of your website, in your WordPress dashboard. On the left hand side, you’ll see an option to “Add new” under your plugin tab. That’ll take you to the repository. From there, all you have to do is search by name or keyword.
While different websites have different needs, there are about a dozen core plugins that almost everyone needs. Plugins like:
- SEO Plugin. I use RankMath. It helps with SEO.
- Google Analytics. So you can check your stats.
- Security plugin, to keep your site from being hacked. Try iThemes or Wordfence.
- Anti-spam plugin. Look at Askimet or AntiSpam Bee.
- SMTP plugin. This is for sending emails. I use WP Mail SMTP.
- Contact Form Plugin. There are tons.
- Backup Plugin. The good ones make a full copy of your site. If it gets hacked, all you have to do is upload a copy.
- Caching plugin. Speed is essential. I use and recommend WP Rocket. It’s easy to use, and it makes your website load fast.
- Image Optimizer Plugin. Heavy images make your site slow. I use ShortPixel to optimize my images and reduce their size. Works like a charm.
- Table of Contents Plugin. Your blog needs a TOC. Readers like them and so do search engines. I use Fixed TOC. It’s available on Code Canyon.
- Social Sharing Plugin.
On the WordPress repository, you’ll see thousands of plugins to choose from.
My advice? Use only the plugins you need. The more you use, the slower your site and the more potential exists for malware and other security threats. Try to keep it under 15.
Installing plugins, by the way, is a simple task. It only takes a few clicks.
Step 6: Connect to Cloudflare
Cloudflare is a CDN, or content delivery network. Basically, what it does is place a copy of your website on the cloud so that it can load quickly all over the world.
CDN’s add extra security for you and speed for your readers. While not a requirement, it’s still a good idea to use one. Cloudflare is also free, so there’s neither risk nor investment on your part.
I won’t spend more time with this step, as it is both easy and optional. But I did want you to know that Cloudflare exists, and that it’s a great tool to use.
Step 7: Create an Account With Google Analytics
Google Analytics measures your website traffic and provides an insane amount of data about your website traffic and visitors. This is an essential step, but it’s also free.
Go to Google Analytics and register your website. If you don’t have a Gmail account, you’ll need to create one.
Once you have registered your website with Google Analytics, you’ll need to place a small line of code on your site. You can do this two ways:
- Use a plugin like MonsterInsights that does it for you.
- Add the code yourself.
If you’re going to do this yourself, check to see if your theme lets you. Many themes have a built-in feature that lets you add code in either the header or the footer.
If your theme lacks this functionality, you can download a free plugin. Try something like Header Footer Code Manager. It’s free.
Once you have Google Analytics, you can monitor your website traffic. You can also see where the traffic is coming from (e.g., social media, search engines) and what pages are bringing you traffic. This is incredible information that helps you grow your blog.
Step 8: Register Your Mental Health Blog With Google Search Console and Bing’s Webmaster Tools
The two largest search engines in the world are Google and Bing. It makes sense that you’d want for both of them to know your blog exists.
- Monitor backlinks to your site.
- Submit your blog’s sitemap so search engines can crawl it. Yours will be www.yourblogname.com/sitemap.xml
- Get notified about website errors
- Monitor website performance
Step 9: Create Core Pages For Your Mental Health Blog
Now comes the part you’ve been waiting for. It’s time to start building your website.
In your WordPress dashboard, you’ll see an option to create a new page. Just remember, while you are using a theme, you still have to add pages and publish blog posts. Otherwise, your theme is just an attractive but empty shell.
Here are what we might call the Core Pages. While you may end up with many more, these are the ones you need to create first.
- Home Page. Also called a Front Page, this is where your readers go when they type in your blog name.
- About Page. You’ll use this page to tell the world who you are and why your blog exists. This is usually the second-most visited page on any website.
- Contact Page. Do you want your readers to get in touch with you? This is where they’ll do that.
- Blog Page. You might use your front page as your blog page. If you do, that’s fine. But if you don’t, you’ll need a desiccated blog page to highlight your most recent articles.
- Resource Page. Many bloggers use a resource page to promote products and services that they use and recommend. Many mental health bloggers also provide valuable resources to their readers in the form of crisis support networks, government and nonprofit agency site listings, and free or low-cost places to find support online.
- Legal Pages. It’s important to remember that even small blogs are subject to privacy laws. If you plan on selling products, running ads, or use an email list, you’ll need legal pages to remain in compliance.
Legal page examples:
- Cookies Policy
- Terms and Conditions
- Affiliate Disclosure
- Medical Disclaimer
While you should consult with an attorney, there are a number of free and premium sites that provide you with the tools to generate these pages.
You can also purchase legal page templates by going here.
Part 1: Final Thoughts
I’ll be honest with you. It takes a lot of work to start a mental health blog (or any other blog for that matter).
But if you follow these steps, you’ll be in an excellent position to do what you wanted to do in the first place – blog about mental health!
It’s important though to start a mental health blog the right way. That means taking the time to select a memorable blog name, a quality web hosting provider, an awesome theme, and building the pages and posts your readers want.
In Part 2, we’ll talk about how to establish yourself as a mental health blogger. We’ll also take a deep dive into what Google calls EAT, or Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness.
These are essential components of any health-related blog. But don’t worry. In Part 2, I’ll show you exactly what to do.
If you would like me to help you start your own mental health blog, go to my contact page and send me a message. I’m happy to assist in any way I can!
Part 2: How To Demonstrate Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness (E-A-T) on Your Mental Health Blog
Back in 2014, Google made a push to rid its search engine of low-quality, untrustworthy information. As a result, hundreds of thousands of blogs effectively disappeared from search results.
Ever since, Google has placed a high premium on what is referred to as E-A-T, or Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. And it will be up to you to demonstrate all three of these things.
Why Is understanding E-A-T Important when you start a mental health blog?
Some topics simply must have accurate, helpful information. For example, anything related to finance or personal health. And make no mistake, mental health blogging falls under the general category of personal health.
It’s going to take you quite some time to establish yourself as a reputable authority in the mental health niche. I’d give yourself at least 9-12 months before Google starts taking you seriously.
It doesn’t matter if you are a layperson or an experienced clinical psychologist. Google is going to be very careful in the beginning. Your job as a blogger is to earn the trust of both Google and your readers.
Don’t let this deter you, but do be aware that mental health blogging is competitive.
The best thing you can do is publish high-quality and well-researched articles on a consistent basis. If you do that, Google will show you love.
How To Demonstrate Expertise On A Mental Health Blog
You don’t have to be a licensed mental health professional to demonstrate expertise. However, you do need to be transparent. Don’t try to pass yourself off as someone you are not. Always be authentic, and always be true to who you are – and are not.
For example, I am a licensed mental health counselor and an addictions specialist. But I am NOT a psychiatrist, so I don’t give people advice about medications. I stick to what I know and what I’ve been trained to do.
For Qualified Mental Health Professionals
- Create an author bio that provides an overview of your qualifications. Include relevant education, licenses, and certifications.
- Link to current research and to high-authority blogs. For example, Psychology Today.
- Link to your LinkedIn profile and make sure the information is accurate and current.
- Get quotes from other mental health professionals and link to their blogs or professional pages.
- Guest post on high-authority and relevant blogs.
For Those With No Formal Mental Health Training
- Use your bio to discuss your personal experience with mental illness. Include your education, especially if you have a college degree or higher.
- Research your articles and link to your sources.
- Interview mental health professionals and quote them.
- Attend trainings and seminars and include them in your About Page
- Guest post on relevant blogs and participate on mental health podcasts.
- Do NOT try to pass yourself off as an expert if you aren’t.
Regardless of who you are, always be transparent with your readers.
In addition, Google wants all bloggers to do the following:
- Have an About Page that clearly explains who you are. If you have any credentials, experience, or training, include them here. Look at my “About The Editor” if you’d like to see some examples about how to do this.
- Add an author bio to your posts. Let your readers know who you are and why they should listen to you. Use the author’s name and include a real headshot.
- Avoid using fake names and fake photos. Google wants to know who is writing these posts.
- Place a medical disclaimer on the footer of your blog. You can find scores of examples online. There’s one on the footer of this site.
Some of the best mental health blogs on the internet are written by people with no formal training. However, those blogs are transparent about who is writing for them.
How To Demonstrate Authoritativeness on A Mental Health Blog
In SEO terms, the word “authoritativeness” refers to the relative weight that search engines give blogs. Is the information legitimate? Can it be trusted? Is it thorough? Is the writer reputable?
So how do you build authoritativeness?
The single best way is by building backlinks from high-authority, reputable blogs in the field of mental health. You can do this with guest posts. While not every mental health blog allows guest posts, a surprising number do.
This article on Medium is a good place to start.
In addition, you can demonstrate on-page authoritativeness by doing the following:
- Know your stuff. Write about mental health topics with which you are familiar.
- Back up claims with research.
- Develop a social media presence. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Reddit are all terrific choices.
- Create a LinkedIn profile and link it to your blog. If you have any relevant education or experience, make sure you include it on your LinkedIn profile.
- Get interviewed on a relevant podcast.
- Create an About Page and list any education, training, jobs, or personal experience that makes you qualified to talk about the things on your blog.
- Write valuable, well-researched, and well-written content.
- Answer questions on Quora and link back to relevant posts.
How To Demonstrate Trustworthiness on A Mental Health Blog
In case it’s not obvious by now, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness go hand in hand. What is good for one is good for the others.
Trustworthiness is more relevant to sites with an e-commerce component. Do they have good reviews? Is their site secure? Are they using secure payment methods. That sort of thing.
If you plan to sell ANYTHING on your blog, from eBooks to courses to coaching services, then this section applies to you. If not, you can focus more on expertise and authoritativeness.
Still, you can do the following to build trust with readers:
- Publish consistently.
- Only publish high-quality and relevant articles.
- Cite sources, never plagiarize, and always give credit where credit is due.
- Don’t pass yourself off as an expert in something you are not.
- Respond to comments and interact with readers when you can.
- Be aware of Google’s Terms of Service. For example, don’t buy backlinks.
- Avoid the excessive use of ads and pop-ups. They make for a terrible user experience.
Part 2: Final Thoughts
Don’t let Google’s emphasis on E-A-T intimidate you. It’s a good thing. There’s a ton of garbage on the internet and we should all be able to trust what we read.
You already have a passion for mental health. That’s why you want to start a mental health blog in the first place.
Let that passion guide you. Let it be your compass. You already want to help others who struggle with mental illness and addiction, so you are exactly the kind of blogger who will succeed in this niche.
If you write authentic, trustworthy, and high-quality blog posts, your blog will be successful. And in the process, you’ll have the opportunity to touch the lives of thousands of readers.
If you would like me to help you start your own mental health blog, go to my contact page and send me a message. I’m happy to help!
Part 3: How To Select Mental Health Topics and Perform Keyword Research
The mental health niche is both crowded and competitive. Before you even begin writing, it’s a good idea to think long and hard about the topics you plan to write about.
Mental health is a vast topic. If you think about it, almost everything we do in some way relates to mental health. Finances. Lifestyle. Physical health. Parenting. Relationships.
The list goes on and on.
Niching Down: How To Select Mental Health Topics
With blogging, the more specific your focus, the better. This is referred to as “niching down.”
It seems counter-intuitive to narrow your focus, but it will make things easier for you as well as your readers. Besides, we can’t possibly know everything there is to know about mental health. Even doctors specialize!
The good news is that there are no shortage of mental health topics. For example, you can write about:
- Social anxiety
- Eating disorders
- Personality disorders
- Online Counseling
- Bipolar Disorder
- Children’s Mental Health
- Narcissistic Abuse
There are more than 200 recognized mental disorders in the DSM5. Nobody is an expert on all of them. Why not pick the ones with which you are most familiar and make them the focus of your blog?
I’m not suggesting that you can only write about one type of mental disorder. You don’t even have to write about mental illness! I am only providing an example for you to consider.
But the truth is, the best personal mental health blogs on the internet tend to focus their efforts on certain aspects of mental health.
- Bipolar Burble focuses on mood disorders.
- Blunt Therapy (this blog!) is about a therapist’s view of mental health matters.
- Love and Life Toolbox is about relationships and emotional health.
You get the idea.
General Tips About Writing Mental Health Content
- Write about what you know.
- Keep your reader in mind. It’s about them, not you.
- Back up claims with research and linking to high-authority websites.
- Be thorough. Aim for 1500-3000 words per article. Mental health is complicated.
- Use short sentences and short paragraphs. It makes things easier to read on a mobile.
- Break up content using lists and subheadings.
- Use relevant videos, images, infographics, and quotes.
- Use a friendly, approachable tone.
- Edit and spell check everything. Use Grammarly – it’s free.
- Use Hemingway Editor (it’s free) to ensure your posts are easy to read.
How To Perform Keyword Research For Your Mental Health Blog
Keyword research is one of the cornerstones of good blogging. It’s a massive topic, so I’m going to provide a basic overview for you. If you’d like to read a more comprehensive guide, I suggest the following:
- The Beginner’s Guide to SEO
- How to Do Keyword Research for SEO
- KEYWORD RESEARCH: The Definitive Guide (2021)
- Stupid Simple SEO – a paid course but well worth the money.
Keyword research is the art of identifying words, phrases, and questions that your readers are searching for on the internet. I covered this briefly in Part 1 of this series, but it’s worth going over once more.
If you want to be a successful mental health blogger, you have to learn how to write blog posts that effectively use keywords in them so that Google (and your readers) know what you are writing about.
Say, for example, that you write about your personal experience with depression. But instead of using keywords like “clinical depression,” you simply refer to your depression as “The Darkness”.
Your readers are never going to find your blog posts because nobody is going to do a Google search for depression using the keyword “darkness.” Google won’t know what your post is about, and that means your readers won’t ever find it.
Examples of Mental Health Keywords
- clinical depression
- dealing with depression
- depression help
- depression symptoms
- depression treatment
- feeling depressed
- feeling sad
- high functioning depression
- I am sad
- natural antidepressants
- postpartum depression
- postpartum depression symptoms
- psychotic depression
- seasonal affective disorder
- seasonal depression
- severe depression
- signs of depression in men
- signs of depression in women
These are all keywords that, according to Google, people are searching for on the web. The keyword “depression symptoms” alone is searched for more than 100,000 times every month.
Hopefully that illustrates the importance of keyword research.
Where To Find Mental Health Topics To Write About
If you’re like most bloggers, you’ve probably got a few dozen really great ideas. But pretty soon, you’ll need to start searching for topics to write about.
While there are tons of ways to generate ideas, here are six top-generating sites you should know about.
Pinterest is a search engine. Search for topics that interest you. See what other bloggers are writing about. Pay careful attention to the relative popularity of their pins. Take ideas that you like and write bigger and better posts than your competitors.
By the way, you can follow Blunt Therapy on Pinterest if you’d like to get some mental health inspiration!
Quora is a goldmine. Every day, people ask thousands of questions on Quora. It’s an excellent source of topic ideas.
It may seem obvious, but when in doubt, use Google to look for mental health topics your readers want to read about.
Have you ever noticed that Google auto-completes your sentence when you’re typing in a query? What that means is that other readers are asking those questions.
While you can’t determine the volume of traffic a question will generate, you can determine if anyone is interested in the answer to it.
Google also provides some additional gems on the search result pages. At the bottom of the page, you’ll see a “related searches” section that lists a bunch of similar questions. This is free gold for you to mine.
Answer The Public
Answer The Public is a freemium search tool where you can type in keywords and see what questions your readers are asking about them.
For example, if you type in the keyword “depression,” it will generate a list of 80 of the most frequently asked questions about that topic.
That’s 80 potential blog posts. It takes about 30 seconds to do a search.
Google Trends has a search feature that lets you see what mental health topics are currently being searched for.
You can search a keyword and filter the results by a certain time frame (e.e., the past 12 months). It also generates related searches and keywords.
Google Keyword Planner
Google Keyword Planner was created for use with Google Ads. However, you don’t need to use it for that.
Instead, you can type in your target keywords to see approximately how many people per month are searching for that term. GKP also tells you how competitive each keyword is.
In general, find keywords that are highly searched but are relatively low competition. Doing so will give you the best chance of ranking on Google.
There are many other free and paid options, but I don’t want to overwhelm you. Instead, get familiar with a few of these suggestions. There’s more than enough information to keep you busy for quite some time.
Part 3: Final Thoughts
The great thing about owning your own mental health blog is that it’s your blog. You can write about whatever you want.
If your objective is to write a personal blog that functions more like a journal, then almost none of what I have said matters. If you are a good writer and your stories are compelling, you will eventually attract a devoted following.
However, if you want to monetize your blog, establish a brand, or promote your services, then well-written content, effective keyword research, and selecting thoughtful mental health topics is a must. That’s how you get readers to your blog.
If you would like me to help you start your own mental health blog, go to my contact page and send me a message. I’m happy to help!
Part 4: Popular Blog Posts Types and Formats For Mental Health Topics
One of the biggest mistakes that new bloggers make is that they fail to realize that blogging is an art form. A good blog post is NOT an article or an essay. It is NOT a research paper. It is NOT a journal entry.
If your intention is to monetize your blog, you have to give your readers what they want.
What Readers of Mental Health Blogs Want
- Helpful, useful information
- Answers to their questions
- Actionable tips
- readable fonts
- Easy-to-read prose
- relevant Images
- links to relevant content
- Scannable content (many readers are on mobile)
Now, it’s true that every reader has their own unique preferences. There’s an audience for just about anything.
If you want to write a journal or produce research papers, go right ahead. But it’s still a good idea to make your content easy to read and informative.
Popular Blog Post Types
A “what-is” blog post provides a detailed response to a question about a particular topic. This is one of the most popular blog post types for bloggers who enjoy taking a deep dive into meaty topics. You don’t just have to stick to the “what” either. Feel free to dive into “who,” “Where,” “Why” and “when” as well.
What-Is Blog Post Example: “What Is The Brain-Gut Connection?”
Have you ever Googled instructions on how to program your microwave, lose weight, or make lasagna? Chances are, you found your answer in a “how-to” blog post.
A “How-To” blog post is a tutorial. Posts like this provide a thorough explanation on how to achieve a task. They often provide various types of visuals, depending on the subject. For example, a post on how to find a therapist would likely have a screen shot of the search tab on Psychology Today.
How-To Blog Post Example: “How To Start A Mental Health Blog”
List-Style posts are one of the most popular blog post types if your goal to is to have your post go viral. List-style posts are a fan favorite because most of them offer engaging, bite-sized chunks of information that readers adore.
For whatever reason, odd-numbered lists tend to perform better than even number lists. Nobody seems to know why.
List-Style Post Example: “7 Warning Signs of an Emotionally Abusive Relationship”
Review Posts are an excellent way to monetize your site. You have no doubt seen thousands of them before. They are a popular blog post type for readers and they are profitable for bloggers.
The idea with a Review Post is to purchase a product and then write a thorough review.
Usually, the point of the review is to encourage readers to purchase the product. If you are an affiliate of the product, you make a commission. Depending on the product, commissions can be hundreds of dollars.
You want to make sure that you only review products that you have used and would actually recommend. Readers are savvy. They’ll know if you are just trying to make a quick buck. Always be authentic.
Review Post Example: “Review: The Complete Guide To Online Therapy With BetterHelp”
Round-Up Posts are an excellent way to network and get backlinks. They also require outreach. In a Round-Up Post, you reach out to experts on a topic you have chosen and ask them to answer questions about it. Then you quote what they have said in your post.
Round-Ups are great for SEO, too, as the content you are creating is completely unique and full of expert-level opinions from industry leaders.
Round-Up Post Example: “20 Professional Therapists Share Their Thoughts on Suicide”
Resource-Lists are a collection of online or real-world resources that all relate to a specific topic. Readers love to bookmark resource-style posts because they serve as directories.
If you write about mental health topics, there is no shortage of resource lists. Whether it is a collection of motivational quotes or mental health apps on Google Play or The App Store, you’ll find the internet is overflowing with subject matter.
The best thing about resource-lists is that provide valuable, actionable information for your readers. Which is exactly what they want.
Resource List Example: “48 Mental Health Blogs That Totally Nail It“
Where To Find Free Blog Post Templates
Templates are incredible. They provide an outline, focus, and basic structure to your posts. They also make writing blog posts quicker and easier.
Here are some websites that have produced free blog templates for several popular blog post types that you can use to wow your readers.
Your Blog Works
Your Blog Works is an excellent resource for all things blogging. The blog is helpful and easy to read. They also offer an excellent free blogging template that you can download and use. You can get it here.
CoSchedule is a marketing management calendar platform. They have several free tools, including a headline analyzer that can teach you to write effective headlines.
They also offer a wonderful blog post template and style guideline that you can get download from this page.
Part 4: Final Thoughts
The great thing about mental health blogging is that it’s your blog. You are the lead writer and the editor-in-chief. You can write about anything you want, any way you want.
Having said that, Google places a great deal of emphasis on user experience. Is the post easy to read? Is it thorough? Does it provide valuable information? Does it make use of sub-headings, internal links, keywords, etc?
The popular blog post types included in this post tend to make your job a bit easier by providing time-tested outlines of blog styles that readers prefer.
These post styles are also intended to provide inspiration, not restriction. Find a writing style that speaks to your audience and you will grow an audience that will return time and time again.
Perform a Google search of your favorite mental health blogs. Study the format of their posts.
What do you love about them? What do you think needs improvement? Which styles are you most drawn to?
Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. There’s nothing wrong with borrowing ideas from other bloggers. I promise you that they have done the same thing.
If you would like me to help you start your own mental health blog, go to my contact page and send me a message. I’m happy to help!
Part 5: How To Promote Your Mental Health Blog
Unfortunately, it’s not enough to just write great content. Not if you want anyone to read it. Promoting your mental health blog is non-negotiable. If you build it, they will come. But they have to know it exists in the first place.
And there is a TON of competition.
There are more than 500 million blogs on the internet. Every day, bloggers two million new posts. Publishing great content is not enough. You’ve got to promote everything you write.
Mental health blogs exist in all shapes and sizes. There are big ones and small ones. Old ones and new ones. Mental health blogs written by therapists and mental health blogs written by teenagers.
You name it, there is a mental health blog that covers it.
As a general rule, you should spend 80% of your time promoting your work and 20% of your time creating it. This is known as the 80/20 rule of blog promotion. If you spend one hour writing a post, you’ll spend about 4 hours promoting it.
So how do you do that? Let’s look at some of the most effective ways.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO refers to anything you do to get ranked in search engine results. It is a massive topic and there’s no way we can cover it all in this post. But to give you a broad overview, here are some of the various facets of SEO:
- Using keywords (e.g., mental health) in your posts
- Obtaining backlinks from trustworthy blogs
- Writing high-quality content
- Promoting your posts on social media
- Optimizing your blog for speed and ease of use
- Avoiding spam and excessive ads
- Crafting creative titles and helpful meta descriptions.
- Including appropriate legal pages
- Demonstrating your mental health blog’s E-A-T
In the beginning, I suggest that you focus on crafting high-quality and well-researched posts. That will be the single best thing you can do to kickstart your SEO efforts. But as you progress in your blogging journey, you’ll want to start paying careful attention to the other factors I have mentioned.
If I could start over again, I would have enrolled in an SEO course before I wrote my first post. It would have saved me a TON of time and frustration.
Note: There are a TON of great SEO courses. I suggest you invest in a premium course like Stupid Simple SEO. It’s incredible.
The good news is, SEO is one of the most popular topics on the web. You can get a basic overview of SEO from countless different YouTube channels. I recommend one called Income School. They are down-to-earth and their videos are helpful.
Just to give you an idea of how technical SEO can get, I’ll list just a few of the things that bloggers must do to optimize their posts for SEO.
- Blog Post Title (Catchy, engaging, and descriptive)
- Title Tag (60 characters or it will look weird on Google)
- Meta-description (160 characters, a brief description of the post)
- Adding target keywords to the post (between .50 and 2% density)
- Add alt-text to images (with your keyword)
- Compose a 75 character or less slug (that’s the link to the post)
- Add internal links (to other stuff you have written)
- Add external links (to authority sites in your niche)
- Proofread for readibility (grade 6-7 reading level, tops)
- Add sub-headings (to break up text)
You get the point. Fortunately, SEO plugins like RankMath and Yoast make the process is a bit easier.
As you start your blogging journey, you’ll discover that the effective use of social media will be the single best way to promote your mental health blog. Some of the most effective channels include:
Pinterest, in particular, is an excellent way to drive targeted traffic to your blog. It is essentially a search engine like Google. For many bloggers, Pinterest is essential.
When it comes to social media, casting a wide net isn’t a good idea. Instead, focus your efforts on 2 to 3 different channels. You’ll get better results.
If you have the budget, ads are an effective way to promote your mental health blog. However, it’s not really necessary. In the beginning, I suggest you focus your efforts on social media and SEO.
However, if you want to jump start things, you can promote your blog using:
- Google Ads
- Yahoo/Bing ads
- Facebook ads
- Promoted Pins (Pinterest)
Digital marketing is an art, so unless you know what you are doing, I’d avoid this option. I doubt you will see a return on your investment.
Email lists and Newsletters
Many successful bloggers will tell you that your email list will be the most cost-effective and effective way to drive traffic to your blog.
The idea here is that people come to your blog, they like what they see, and so they sign up for a newsletter so that they can be notified when you publish new posts.
You can gain new subscribers with the effective use of pop-ups, opt-in forms, and lead magnets, which are usually free downloadable items that readers get in exchange for their email addresses.
I recommend you start with Mailer Lite. It’s a full-featured and easy-to-use email service provider.
With Mailer Lite, you can create pop-ups and opt-in forms, manage your subscribers, and automate emails. The best part? It’s free to use for your first 1,000 subscribers.
Quora is a popular question and answer website where people go to find information about any topic under the sun. By creating a free account, you can post your own questions or provide answers to questions relevant to your niche.
Quora also allows you to promote your mental health blog by linking to relevant posts in your answers. Say you wrote an article about the best toppings for pizza. Hop on Quora, search for “best toppings on pizza,” and write a helpful response. Then, you can link to your blog post.
Not only does this help generate traffic to your blog, but it also helps to establish yourself as an authority in your niche.
There are dozens of large and active Facebook Groups about blogging. There are, of course, dozens of Facebook Groups about your niche, too. Don’t underestimate the power of these groups. They can be quite helpful for:
- Generating ideas
- Getting technical help
- Expanding your readership
- Learning about SEO
- Discovering new sources for traffic
My advice is to join as many relevant groups as possible and be active. Ask questions and be as helpful as you can. You’d be surprised at how helpful other bloggers can be.
And don’t be afraid to promote your mental health blog where the admins of each group allow you to.
Did you know that there are WordPress plugins you can buy that will automatically share both new and old posts to your social media profiles?
Not only do these services save you time, but they also expand your reach by sharing your posts across multiple platforms.
This is the service I recommend:
Special note: Tailwind also allows you to join niche-specific “Tailwind Communities,” where fellow bloggers will pin and share your content, often to huge audiences. Try Tailwind for free.
Part 5: Final Thoughts
You probably started this journey with one aim in mind – writing great content. I feel your pain. The truth is, you have to promote your mental health blog if you want anyone to read it.
When bloggers first start, they post their blog on their own social media, hoping that their family and friends will read, share, and spread the word.
It just doesn’t happen that way.
The truth is, you’re going to have to do the work.
The good news is that blogging is fun! And so is self-promotion. You will meet dozens of other talented mental health bloggers, forge alliance and make friends.
The blogging community is competitive, but helpful. Ask questions. Participate. And don’t be afraid to try new things.
Part 6: How To Monetize Your Mental Health Blog
Make no mistake – your mental health blog is a business. The purpose of a business is to generate revenue. It’s also to provide helpful information and services to your readers, but there’s no reason you can’t do both.
Before we go further, one thing I’d like to impress upon you is that there is no reason you can’t profit from your blog if you choose to do so.
It’s not immoral. It doesn’t make you a bad person.
Blogging is expensive. Web hosting, domains, content creation, site maintenance – the costs can be measured in many ways, including your time, talent, and your own money.
There’s no reason why you can’t earn enough to cover your expenses. And hopefully a lot more than that.
Having said that, there’s a right way to do it and a wrong way to do it. Let’s go over some of the right ways (and the wrong ones).
Right Ways To Profit From a Mental Health Blog
- Creating valuable, helpful content that improves people’s lives.
- Promoting products and services that improve people’s lives.
- Providing services that improve people’s lives.
Do you see a pattern forming?
Wrong Ways To Profit From a Mental Health Blog
- Stuffing your site with gross, spammy ads that corrupt the user experience
- Promoting low-quality, irrelevant, or even harmful products to make a buck
- Taking money from link farmers and other internet scoundrels who want you to add sketchy links and poorly written articles
Make no mistake. Google is intelligent. It tends to reward blogs that do the right thing and punish ones that do not.
There’s a reason I have held off on discussing monetization until the end of this series. My advice is to hold off, too.
In the beginning, you won’t have the readership that you’ll need to generate revenue. Don’t feel bad. None of us did at the beginning.
However, with consistent effort and by publishing high-quality and helpful blog posts, your readers will eventually come. And when they do, you’ll want to find ways to make a profit, if only to cover the cost of maintaining your blog.
Here are some popular options to consider:
In the beginning, your options are limited.
Many of the well-paying ad networks require large readerships, which you won’t have when you first start. To that end, many new bloggers use Google AdSense or Media.net. While they do not pay much, they tend to be noob-friendly.
Popular Ad Networks
- Google AdSense
- Propeller Ads
- Revenue Hits
My advice though is to hold off on ads. They literally aren’t worth it.
One of the biggest mistakes new bloggers make is they rush to place ads on their site. I understand why. Everyone is really curious to know if you can actually make money blogging.
And you can. But ad revenue is based on traffic volume. If you have no traffic, you make no money.
Over time, companies, products, brands, and fellow bloggers will reach out to you for sponsored posting opportunities. This is when a third-party offers to pay you to publish a pre-written post.
You can realistically expect to make around 150-250 dollars for each sponsored post you publish. Many bloggers make hundreds if not thousands of dollars on a single post, but you have to have the readership to command that kind of money.
There are millions of blogs on the web. As a result, competition is quite fierce.
My advice is to be discerning as to the posts you accept. Everything on your site reflects on you and your brand. Only accept posts that are high-quality, relevant, and valuable to your readers.
Affiliate marketing may very well be the most profitable way to monetize your blog. If you don’t know what it is, it’s when you get a commission from promoting products and services on your blogs.
You can reach out to companies yourself, or sign up for an affiliate network. Once you do, you can select from thousands of different products.
To get you started, here are some of the more popular affiliate networks you can join today:
- Rakuten Marketing
- Amazon Associates
In recent years, the demand for online courses has exploded across the web. If you have a passion for teaching, developing an online course may be an excellent way to generate income for your blog.
Life Coaching and Consultations
If you prefer directly helping people, you can offer coaching and consultation services on your site.
Be wary of offering psychotherapy if you are not trained and licensed to do so. But coaching, on the other hand, is not nearly as regulated as therapy. Coaches help people develop goals, keep them accountable, and provide valuable feedback and direction.
If that sounds like something that interest you, consider offering services by email, text, video, or phone. Many of your readers are hungry for personal attention. And the bigger your blog gets, the better position you’ll be to market your services.
Digital products are downloadable items such as eBooks and worksheets. If you’re familiar with Etsy, you’ve probably seen thousands of examples.
If you have expertise that you believe your readers will find invaluable, consider crafting a digital product that you can sell directly on your website. While it requires a fair amount of work in the beginning, it has the potential to generate passive income for the life of your blog.
Further reading: How to Monetize a Blog in 2021 (13 Profitable Ways)
Part 6: Final Thoughts
It takes a significant amount of work to start a mental health blog. It’s going to take some time to get used to the process. Just take a deep breath and relax.
The good news is that you don’t have to figure out how to start a mental health blog on your own. By following this guide, you’ll be in an excellent position to rank on Google, attract readers, and experience all the rewards of successful blogging.
By following the steps and suggestions in this post, you’ll lay the foundation of a solid mental health blog, one that you can grow and be proud of.
Just remember – what you are doing is noble. Your blog will change people’s lives. It will be important to hundreds of not thousands of people. When the going gets tough, keep that in mind. It will help sustain you.
One final note – don’t give up. It takes time to build your readership, write your posts, figure out SEO, and market your services. I recommend you commit to at least a year. So buckle up, dust off your keyboard, and start writing.
Your audience is waiting.
Web Hosting Providers
- Wix – Create a Free Website
- Bluehost: Budget-Friendly WordPress Hosting
- Siteground: Premium WordPress Hosting
Buy A Domain Name
- Ionos – cheap domains starting at .80/year
- Bluehost – free domain with web hosting
- Siteground – free domain with web hosting
WordPress Plugins And Themes
- Social Snap – Add social sharing buttons to your pages and posts
- Revive Old Posts – Schedule your blog posts to social media sites
- GeneratePress – Lightning Fast WordPress Theme that works with Elementor
- ShortPixel – Image optimization plugin
- Code Canyon – Low cost themes and plugins for WordPress
SEO And Legal Tools
- Stupid Simple SEO – comprehensive video-based SEO course for beginning and advanced bloggers alike
- Legal Page Bundle Pack – Protect your site and stay in compliance with privacy, cookie, and affiliate disclosure pages
- FREE SEO Training: How To Increase Your Google Traffic In One Hour
- Answer The Public – See what people are searching for on Google
- Ubersuggests – Advanced Keyword Research, free and paid options.
- Google Keyword Planner – see which keywords get traffic
- HARO – Help A Reporter Out – sign up to be a news source and get backlinks.
- RankMath – All-in-One SEO plugin
- Mailer Lite – free for your first 1,000 subscribers. Send out email campaigns and collect sign ups with just afew clicks.
- ILOVImg – Free image cropping, resizing, and compression
- Outwrite – An advanced spellecker for Chrome
- Grammarly – Another grammar/spellcheker
- Hemmingway Editor – Excellent online writing tool
- Canva – Create stunning images and graphics in minutes
- PixaBay – Free photo repository
- Unsplash – gorgeous, free photos.
- Small SEO Tools – Check your Domain Authority and backlink profiles for free.
- Headline Analyzer – Write better headlines
- Cloudflare – Free cloud-based protection for your blog.
- Instagram Post Maker