So you want to blog about mental health? That’s why I started this website. I wanted to blog about mental health too. I created this post to help you not make the same mistakes that I did.
When I first started this blog I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. I mean NONE! Before I started this blog, I had been kicking around the idea for a month. I told my life coach that I was going to have it ready for my birthday.
Well, October was coming around the corner FAST and I had nothing started. So what did I do? I purchased my domain name, webhosting, started writing posts, and launched all within 24 hours. This was a BAD idea.
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Don’t do that.
I wish I would have researched how to start a blog or how to start a mental health blog specifically before I started this blog.
Starting a blog (especially if you want to make money from it) is hard and should be well researched before you actually start putting your money into it.
But since you’re here, I’m guessing you thought this through a bit more than I did. Congratulations! So let’s get starting on learning how to start a mental health blog.
What’s Your WHY?
Why do you want to start a mental health blog? Some of the reasons that you may want to start a mental health blog include:
- Wanting to share your own struggles and how you overcame them
- Decreasing the stigma around mental health
- As an outlet for creative expression
- Wanting to support others in their mental health journey
As well as a host of other reasons. I had always wanted to start a blog. I actually found this journal from 2014 where I talked about wanting to start a blog (one based around subscription boxes). Part of me is glad that I didn’t start one then, because I don’t think I would have kept going with it. You should be passionate about what you blog about because when it gets tough, that is what will keep you going.
I started this blog because I was feeling burned out creatively at my full-time job in crisis intervention. I wanted to have something that was mine and as another way to talk about one of my favorite topics: mental health and self-care.
Choosing a Niche
Well, mental health right? While mental health overall can definitely be your niche in the blogging world, you can get even more specific with what you want to write about. Here are some examples of you could niche down into when writing a blog about mental health:
- Mental Health Advocacy
The mental health blogging niche is wide and varied. These are just some of the mental health blog topics that you can write about. If you’d like to keep it open to just mental health, that’s perfectly okay! However, the more that you niche down, the better it will be for Google to recognize and understand your authority (this is important for SEO).
Choosing Your Platform & WebHost
There are many many blogging platforms and web hosts to choose from. The ones on this list are not exhaustive at all. These are some that I’ve come across and use myself (or have heard good things about through my blogging friends!)
There are a ton of platforms that you can use to start your mental health blog, and many of them are free. Here are a few free blogging platforms:
- WordPress.com (this is different than WordPress.org)
- Blogger – owned by Google
- Wix – has free and paid options
Starting out with one of these is perfectly okay if you’re just wanting to dip your toes into blogging. However, if you’d like to be more serious about it and eventually make money from it, you’ll want a self-hosted blog with using WordPress.org. To use WordPress.org, you’ll need a webhost. I’ve mentioned a few of the most recommended below.
GreenGeeks – This is my current web host provider and I’ve been within them for about a year and a half now. I’ve had absolutely no problems with them and their customer service has been amazing, especially because I have very little website building knowledge (I’ve learned A LOT in the past year though). Their hosting starts at $2.95 a month.
Choosing Your Domain Name
After you’ve chosen your niche and your platform/webhosting, you’ll need to a domain name – in other words, your www.yournamehere.com.
When you get your hosting, you’ll be able to buy your domain name through them OR you could use multiple other sites to get your domain name such as NameCheap.
Here are some tips for choosing a good mental health blog name (and a domain name in general):
- Make it easy to remember (this helps you and your readers!)
- Don’t use dashes (see point above)
- Use your niche in the name if possible
- Get the .com if possible because people default to using .com when putting in a domain name in the address bar
So you’ve gotten your hosting, your domain name, and have written a couple of posts. Now you actually have to get people to read your posts. That is what “getting traffic” to your post is all about. Below are the ways that you can get people to start reading your blog posts.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Search engine optimization is how you get website/webpage visits from search engines such as Google. Learning search engine optimization is not an easy task but once you learn it, you’ll have all the tools you need begin getting steady (FREE!) traffic to your blog posts.
In most cases, you’ll begin to gain traffic from Google around the six-month mark having launching your blog. BUT, you don’t want to wait until you’re 6 months into your blog to learn about and put into the best strategies for SEO.
Get a free masterclass in SEO by clicking this link.
Pinterest is like a mix of Google and Instagram. It is a VISUAL search engine. So that means that you will need both good SEO practices AND appealing images. Many bloggers start off with using Pinterest while they are waiting to gain traffic with SEO.
I’m guessing you’re probably pretty familiar with social media, but just in case you’re not, “social media” is just websites and/or apps that you can use to interact with people. So websites and apps like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, are all different versions of social media.
Many bloggers are able to get some traffic using social media, but social media is more about being, you guessed it, social. So while you will get some traffic by using social media, it is mostly a way for you to interact with people in your niche or people who want to know more about you.
Can you run a successful mental health blog without social media? Absolutely! If you’re not super into social media (I’m not), don’t worry about. But I do recommend getting the handles/usernames for your blog on the different social media sites if you do eventually want to use social media for your blog.
Monetization (aka Making Money)
I’m going to take a guess and say that you’d probably like to make at least some money with your blog. Who wouldn’t want to get paid to write about mental illness and mental health when you have a passion for it? You may not want to blog full-time (yet!), but having some extra money definitely doesn’t hurt. Below are the most common ways that you can make money with a mental health blog.
Affiliate marketing is basically recommending products or services to your readers. When they click on your affiliate link and purchase a product or service through that link, you’ll receive a commission. Most bloggers become a part of the Amazon Affiliate Program. Amazon is a great affiliate program for the majority of bloggers because you can recommend anything on Amazon that fits into your niche.
Another great affiliate program to apply to as you are starting your blog is Ultimate Bundles. Ultimate Bundles sells bundles of digital content (workbooks, ebooks, courses, etc) at a hugely discounted price. One of my workbooks was featured in the Self-Care Mini Bundle.
It can be hard to come up with affiliate programs for mental health bloggers to apply to so hopefully those two will help you on your mental health blogging journey.
Your Own Services/Products
One of the best ways to make money with a mental health blog is to promote your own services or products. With this blog, I promote my coaching services as well as my workbooks (which I also have in my Etsy store).
There are sooo many things that you can sell on a mental health blog and the following are just a few ideas:
- Workbooks and/or Ebooks
- Printable quotes
The only limit is your imagination but I would obviously caution you against selling things that you may not have the qualifications to sell (coaching, therapy, etc). I want you to make money NOT get in trouble.
A sponsored post is simple! Sponsored posts are blog posts where a company has given you either a free product/and or money to talk about them. There are multiple websites that you can become a part of to get sponsored posts but that’s not something that I’m going to cover here.
Placing ads on your websites is often one of the first ways that people start to monetize their blogs. Having ads on your site is super simple and once you have them it is mostly “set it and forget it”. Depending on the number of page views you have there are different ad networks that you can become a part of. Again, this is not something that I’m going to cover here. It could be an entire blog post on its own.
My Favorite Blogging Courses and Ebooks
Like I stated earlier in this post, I had no idea what I was doing before when I first started this blog. What really skyrocketed my success and my confidence in my blogging abilities was taking courses from well-established bloggers that I trusted.
The following are my absolute favorite blogging courses that gave me the most bang for my buck. Some of them are even FREE.
Stupid Simple SEO was an absolute game-changer for me. Without it, I honestly don’t know if I would have been able to grow my blog as much as I have.
It breaks down SEO in super easy to understand ways and shows you EXACTLY how to write blog posts that will bring you traffic from search engines without the stress of having to figure out keywords. If you don’t get anything else from this post, know that SEO is incredibly important for a successful blog and THIS COURSE will get you there. Use my link and gain access to a free masterclass so you can decide if this course is for you!
This course (which is absolutely FREE by the way) teaches you the basics about making sure that when you’re blogging you’re doing it “by the book”. Starting a blog is basically starting a business and you need to make sure that you’re following all the appropriate laws. This course will tell you what you need to know.
Best of all, Legally Blogs is created by a lawyer, so you know that what you’re being taught is absolutely factual.
Pinteresting Strategies is an amazing course on how to create a Pinterest account that will actually work for you. I’m not gonna lie, Pinterest is super frustrating to me and everything that you have to do to “please” Pinterest and get your pins seen is tough. This course helped me more with understanding Pinterest than any other Pinterest course that I’ve taken (and a Pinterest course was one of the first things that I purchased apart from my hosting and domain name).
If you want to start off on Pinterest and hit the ground running. I highly recommend Pinteresting Strategies.
Building an email list is one of the things about blogging that usually comes after you’ve starting writing a few posts and getting your feet in the blogging world. However, it is NOT something that you want to wait on doing. List by Number is an easy to follow course that teaches you how to set up and start your email list with Mailerlite (which I use) or ConvertKit and grow it the right way.
One more course about Pinterest! Remember when I said that Pinterest is a visual search engine? That means that you have to create pins that are visually interesting so that people want to click through the pin to your blog post. I don’t know about you, but graphic design is NOT something that I am good at.
However, Pins Made Happy helped me a lot when I was trying to understand how to create eye-catching pins. Since taking this course, my pin design has been MUCH better and I’m gaining more traffic through Pinterest.
I hope this helped you on the road to starting your own mental health blog (and ideas on how to to get paid to write about mental illness)! Leave any questions that you have in the comments and I’ll try my best to answer them or put you into contact with someone who can 🙂
Briana Hollis is a licensed social worker and self-care coach. She earned her Master of Science in Social Administration from Case Western Reserve University in 2014 and her Master of Education from Tiffin University in 2019. She has spent the last 5 years working in crisis intervention. Her passion for serving others is the heart of this site. She started Learning To Be Free to assist others in bringing freedom to their lives.
Briana is also the author of The Self-Care Journal for Young Adults.