How to lose money blogging costly mistakes to avoid as a new blogger

How To Lose Money Blogging – 9 Costly Mistakes You’re Making

How to lose money blogging is pretty easy, if you aren’t careful. Wild statement, I know! But I see it every day from bloggers who don’t have a plan.

What starts out as a great idea to start a blog can quickly become an expensive endeavor.

You are bound to blow the bank pretty quick if you:

  • spend your time on the wrong things
  • spend your money on the wrong things
  • and aren’t taking the right steps actually make money with your blog

How To Lose Money Blogging – 9 Costly Mistakes You’re Making Every Day

Let’s discuss the fastest ways to lose money blogging, so you can be prepared and NOT get caught up doing these costly things.

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How To Lose Money Blogging #1: Tinkering

What is tinkering? Tinkering is basically making small changes to your website that are generally useless.

I also like to call this “The Perfectionist Complex.”

This is very common when you first get started. It’s easy to spend hours playing with plugins or trying to get a piece of code to work or figuring out how to change a font.

Things that have a minimal ROI, or return on investment (or time spent).

Why is it a costly mistake?

If you are wasting time, you are wasting money, because you could be spending that time doing something that will increase your blog income.

Tinkering can eat up a ton of your time and can keep you from doing the important things that will move your blog forward.

Things like actually creating content, building your following on social media, connecting with other bloggers, and promoting affiliate products.

How to fix it:

Set aside a time to tinker.

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I keep a list of all the “little” things I have to work on, but aren’t crucial. And I only do them after I have the bigger things done first.

Make sure you download my FREE toolkit for bloggers, it’s packed with a ton of resources, training and bonuses to help you blog like a pro.

How To Lose Money Blogging #2: Using a free blogging platform

Using a ‘free’ blogging platform is the stupidest way to lose money blogging.

Why is it a costly mistake?

‘Free’ blogging platforms like and Blogger are a piece of cake to set up but have many restrictions as to what you can do with them.

Things like themes, plugins, and advertising are limited. You might be tempted to use these free blogging platforms if you are not “techie” as they are easy to use.

But the biggest restriction? ‘Free’ blogging platforms don’t let you monetize, run your own ads, and in many cases, they actually run their own ads on YOUR site!

Therefore, ‘free’ sites are actually ridiculously expensive because you can’t MAKE money with your website if you use them.

if you are planning on creating an income from your blog, don’t bother with these.


How to fix it:

When you are setting up your blog, purchase hosting (that’s a big list of the top web hosts, this one is my favorite).

And then set up from within your new web hosting account. It’s so easy!

My free guide How to Start a Successful Blog: The Complete Newbie Guide goes into detail about how to set up a self-hosted blog. You can also enroll in my free blogging course.

For more explanation, including video walk-through WordPress training and a ton of monetization tips, enroll in Be Your Own Blog Boss.

How To Lose Money Blogging #3: Repeating without improving

Remember the definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. This applies to your blog also.

How to lose money blogging mistakes to avoid

Why is it a costly mistake?

Continuing to do the same thing on your blog without growing isn’t going to get you anywhere.

You must learn from your mistakes and change your processes to increase your chances of success.

How to fix it:

If you’re reading this post, I’m going to guess this probably isn’t a problem for you.

You are doing research, you are growing. Even if you don’t have a blog yet, you are putting in the effort.

Keep growing, keep learning!

Be intentional about it, set aside time each day to learn something new.

Keep a notepad with questions that you want to answer to refer to when you have your “learning time.”

How To Lose Money Blogging #4: Not building an email list

I have heard so many bloggers say that they regret not building an email list sooner when they first started blogging.

An email list is the people that have opted-in to receive emails from you. This is different than someone subscribing to your blog’s RSS feed or following you on social media.

This is your direct invite right into your reader’s homes, via their inbox.

Why is it a costly mistake?

Not building an email list is one of the biggest ways to lose money blogging.

Why? Because it’s so much easier to make money as a blogger if you have an engaged email list of supporters who want to buy your products.

If you don’t have an email list, you are just throwing money away every day.

When you don’t have an email list you are missing out on massive opportunities. Even if you don’t sell anything on your blog yet, building an email list is critical to communicating with your followers.

Whenever you write a new post, promote an affiliate product or you create a product of your own, letting your email subscribers know is the fastest way to make those sales.

You can easily communicate with your followers and let them know what is going on, anytime.

How to fix it:

Sign up for an email marketing service such as MailChimp, ConvertKit, or if you want to get really fancy, ClickFunnels.

I use ConvertKit, and highly recommend them. Yes, it is worth the $29 price, by a long shot.

In order to get more people to sign up for your mailing list, offer them an incentive.

Just having a box that says “join our mailing list” isn’t enough anymore. Think about what your audience would like or what they could use.

Here are some ideas for what to create as an opt-in incentive.

You should also build out a series of emails that your subscribers will get after they opt-in.

This is called a ‘welcome sequence’ and it essentially warms your subscribers up to get to know you, trust you, and thus be more likely to buy from you when you have an offer later.

As mentioned, I use ConvertKit for all of my email marketing, and they make creating a welcome sequence and sending regular newsletters simple.

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But what I really like about ConvertKit is that it has a really good tagging system.

You can tag your subscribers and keep them organized by what they like, what they buy, and what they are more likely to buy in the future.

Make sure you are providing value over everything else.

Don’t just market to them, people get sick of that really quick and will unsubscribe.

As well, make sure that you are aware of the GDPR laws, so you don’t get fined for being non-compliant.

The GDPR fines are in the millions, so that would be a drastic (and avoidable!) way to lose money blogging for sure.

How To Lose Money Blogging #5: Hiding behind your blog

It’s pretty common for many new bloggers to want to blog anonymously at first. You may want to be separate from your blog, so people don’t know it’s you.

Putting yourself out there can be scary. But when you are hiding behind your blog you are publishing content that lacks your personality.

Why is it a costly mistake?

People like to follow people that they know, like, and trust. When they see that there is a real person behind the blog, they will be more likely to know, like, and trust you.

In turn, they will then buy the products you blog about.

How to fix it:

Put yourself out there! Add a picture of yourself to your blog’s about page. Tell a little bit about yourself, or share personal stories in your posts.

Ask your audience questions. Post videos. And overall, be authentic.

You don’t have to be what you think people want you to be, be who you are and your followers will be naturally be attracted to you.

Related: How to write a high converting ‘About Me’ page

How To Lose Money Blogging #6: Not using affiliate links

Affiliate marketing is great! It’s one of the easiest ways to make money blogging.

Affiliate marketing is a type of advertising that pretty much every blogger uses. You post links on your site and you get paid when people click through and purchase from those links.

Why is it a costly mistake?

If you aren’t using affiliate links on your blog, you are losing money blogging every day on repeat.

Every visitor who comes to read your blog and doesn’t have an opportunity to buy something there, is hundreds of dollars lost to you.

If you don’t have products that you personally sell, affiliate marketing is a great way to start generating income from your blog.

You are probably already talking about different products or services in your posts. Use affiliate links for those as much as you can otherwise you are missing out on revenue.

How to fix it:

Have you read my intro to affiliate marketing guide for beginners?

One of the most popular affiliate programs to sign up for is the Amazon Associate program. You can find a bazillion things to promote off of Amazon for just about any niche.

Blog about food, link to kitchen gadgets that you use. Blog about fashion, link to makeup or clothing. What about travel? Link to suitcases and travel pillows.

When someone clicks on your link and purchases something within the next 24 hours, you make a commission.

And the best part, they don’t even have to buy just what you linked to. So they clicked on a link for a $3 lemon squeezer and decided to purchase a new $750 trampoline, you get a commission for all of that.

However, the commissions with Amazon are pretty low, overall. SO I always recommend that you join high paying affiliate programs directly!

HerPaperRoute Blog Monetization Series: Affiliate Marketing Strategy ebook by Chelsea Clarke HerPaperRoute Blog Monetization Series

Get the book!

How To Lose Money Blogging #7: Not Investing In The Right Tools

If you plan to monetize our blog, then it is your business and should be treated as such.

A business needs the right tools to get you to the next stage in your success story.

Why is it a costly mistake?

There are a lot of tools and investments that you do need to buy when becoming a blogger. But you don’t need to buy all of them. Or all the expensive ones at that!

I know it can feel scary to put money into something before you are sure if it will pay off, but that’s the point. Investing in the things that it takes will allow you to get to the place where it’s paying off.

Not investing in your business means staying in the same place and going nowhere.

How to fix it:

At the very least you should have:

  1. a good email provider
  2. a good automation tool
  3. a good Pinterest scheduler
  4. the proper legal pages
  5. and a good web host

I do my best to provide helpful tutorials and reviews of all the tools that I use here at

Here’s a cheat sheet of all the apps, tools, tech and resources I’ve used to grow into a 6 figure blog in less than 2 years.

And most of them are very budget-friendly.

How To Lose Money Blogging #8: Not being easily accessible

I hate it when I find a blogger that I really like their content or I have a question for them but I can’t get ahold of them.

They don’t have a contact form on their site or an email address to be found anywhere.

Why is it a costly mistake?

If you want to grow your blog, being able to connect with other bloggers is a must.

It would be a shame if a company wanted to get ahold of you for a sponsored post but wasn’t able to contact you, wouldn’t it?

How to fix it:

It’s as simple as making a “Contact” page and putting a WordPress form on there. You can see an example of my contact page here.

It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, just something that people can get ahold of you if needed.

Heck, you don’t even need a form, just a contact page with your email address on it is a good place to start.

Brands will want to pay you for sponsored posts and advertising placements. Don’t lose money blogging simply by being unreachable.

Related: How to get blog sponsorship deals, even as a newbie

How To Lose Money Blogging #9: Giving up

Giving up on your blog before it gets any traction is a very common, unfortunate way to lose money blogging.

The old adage “if you build it they will come” does not apply to blogging.

Why is it a costly mistake?

Blogging is not an overnight, get rich quick business plan.

So many people give up too early and never reach their full potential because they think their slow start is attributed to their lack of skill or ability.

This is simply not true for most people. Whether you are building a blog or a different kind of business, it’s not going to happen quickly.

Success can take months of even years to achieve.

How to fix it:

Focus on your strengths and interests. Try to do more of the blogging things that you are good at and do them as much as possible.

Do you love writing but are intimidated by graphic design? Focus on building up your content and emails rather than creating graphics.

You can always hire someone on Fiverr to do the jobs you don’t like.

I’m sure you started (or want to start) a blog because it is something that you love to do.

If you want to sustain that, then focus on the things you enjoy. The only way to really stick to it is to enjoy the process.

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Last words of advice, to avoid losing money as a blogger

If you want to make money from your blog you should treat it like a business from the very beginning, not a hobby.

A hobby can be too easily put off to the side when life gets in the way while a business is less likely to get pushed to the sidelines.

When you are first starting out it can take a long time to get paid. You will work your butt off for what seems like forever only to make the minimum payout threshold of $100.

It takes time to build an audience but real businesses take time to build. When you go to sit down to work on your blog, treat it like you are going to work – because you are!

Set aside time and a dedicated space, get dressed, make your cup of coffee and get down to business.

I know this can especially difficult when you have kids, but I promise you that it’s doable. If I can do it with a toddler at home with me all day, then I’m sure you can do it too.

You’re probably going to start out slow. And that’s ok. It takes time to build something that is worthwhile.

Just don’t give up on your dreams before they become a reality. Surround yourself with people that support you not ones that will bring you down.

There are a ton of groups online for blogger support, don’t be afraid to reach out. Come join the HerPaperRoute community of bloggers!

Have you made any costly blogging mistakes?

What costly mistakes have you made in the past, that a new blogger should know about? Let us know how to lose money blogging the comments!

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  1. This is a really solid post! I agree with your tips but especially #5. It took me a loooong time to be ok with putting myself out there on my blog. I ran several blogs that I never even said my name, not my url has my name in it!! Funny enough it feels so much more natural and I agree the readers find it easier to relate.

  2. Amanda Warfield says:

    These are all really important and great tips. For number one- I set up a monthly “duty day” where I allow myself an entire day of tinkering away at those little tasks. But I don’t work on them outside of that day. That way, when I have a thought about a little task, it’s easier to put it aside and just write it down knowing I have a day set aside for those things.

  3. Thanks for this. I can definitely relate to the affiliate marketing tip, I wasn’t focusing all of my attention to it but I changed that! I’m starting to make a lot more money with it now.

  4. What an awesome list of tips! i’m especially guilty of ‘tinkering’ and I sometimes just have to let it go and allot once or twice a month of just tinkering instead of changing stuff right away the moment I see it.

    Thanks for these. <3

  5. Such good tips! I just upgraded to ConvertKit and the difference is HUGE! I’ve saved so much time vs how I was trying to “hack” mailchimp to make it work for me.

  6. YYnikolova says:

    Wow thank you so much for this article! As a starting up blogger i find all the information you’ve put here to be highly useful! Definitely, you’ve touched subjects I haven’t even thought about.

  7. Either I don’t want to lose money lol. Very reminding post Chelsea . We all want to be successful in blogging and avoiding mistakes can help us avoid to lose more money.

    Great job in listing them all.

  8. My biggest fail is courses – I’ve spent way too much time and money on courses. Always keep learning yes for sure but you can get overwhelmed and get into analysis paralysis over things.

    I’ve been using Buffer’s free version. I checked out smarterqueue. I see it’s an approved partner for Pinterest, why pay for Tailwind also if smarterqueue also takes care of that?

  9. This is packed full of great tips for new bloggers! Great post as usual!

  10. Kimberley says:

    These are great tips! I’m a fairly new blogger and I’m trying to take really cautious steps when it comes to spending money on my blog.

    1. Hi Kimberley, I know how it can get overwhelming and there are a lot of expenses when starting a blog. Make the right investments on the things that will help your blog/business grow, and stay focused on the things that matter =)

  11. Great advice!! I’m already doing two of these but plan to correct them soon! Thanks for the resources also!

  12. good list! checking out SmarterQueue. thanks again,


  13. I looove the advice and tips you have here! It’s great to see what newbies are doing incorrectly. I know I’m still making a lot of mistakes and to be honest, I don’t know what I’m doing anymore lol! There’s just tooooo much on the to do list but I realized I just have to take it slowly.

    I’m still scared of putting my picture out there and it is very scary for me! I have a part of me that wants to but I’m really shy and afraid people at my workplace find me lol……. I’m working on that!!!

    1. Yes, I can relate to the mile long to do list! But doing it slowly is still moving forward. Progress is progress.

      As far as putting your picture online, you know what they say, growth happens outside of your comfort zone 🙂

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