I started this blog five years ago today.

I had no plans of becoming a writer. In fact, I hated English class all the way through college. My mom made me take a writing “intensive” in middle school, which I hated. I took a literature class during my senior year of college and I actually enjoyed it. I still didn’t want to become a writer, but I began appreciating the art of writing.

Now, five years into personal blogging, one year as a freelance reporter, and almost two years as an independent writer, I’ve learned a few things about blogging. Here are five lessons on blogging that every aspiring writer should know:

1. If you want to be a writer, get your at-bats by blogging.

This isn’t my first blog. I started a Xanga blog (remember those?) in college and wrote three posts before abandoning it. It was only after I started this blog that I wanted to write more. I realized that if writing was going to be in my future, then I needed more practice.

I blogged over 250 times in my second year of blogging. I just crossed the 1,000-post mark as a blogger. By my calculation, I’ve written close to a million words in the last five years. I still make mistakes. Lots of mistakes. I still write some “bleh” posts. But, I’m also successful because I’ve put in the effort. Excellence isn’t an accident.

Five lessons I learned on blogging - writetojoncook Jon Cook

2. Consistency is key when it comes to blogging.

If you want to build a blogging platform, you need to be consistent. Consistent message. Consistent posting schedule. Consistent format. Consistent tone of voice. Consistent sharing strategies. If your audience can’t clearly share who you are and what you blog about, you’re inconsistent. For example, I blog about intentional living, being an entrepreneur, and following your God-given dreams.

3. Your audience and platform will change over time.

My own platform slightly changed around early April this year. I’m revising many of my past posts to fit my new content focus. It’s not what I expected, but it was clear my platform was changing. The key is not making huge changes to your platform, or you will confuse or lose many of the people who follow your blogging for a specific content message. Be open to small course corrections and know why change is necessary.

4. Write engaging, helpful content.

Blogging is a fantastic way to grow your business as an entrepreneur. You can share your ideas, product and service info, your back story, even upcoming deals and comparisons to competitors to attract the right clients to your business. If your content stinks though, no one will want to read or share it.

Share success stories. Share struggles. Make it fun at times, serious at other times, super practical and real-life. Your readers want to know there’s a pulse pumping through your key strokes. Make them see the human in you, man.

5. Writing is not for everyone.

I’m a good musician, but I should never record an album. I don’t have the musical chops to create a great-sounding album. It’d be decent, but it wouldn’t sell more than a few records (thanks for your support, Mom).

In the same way, not everyone is a writer. I work with a variety of dynamic personalities: life coaches, speakers, business coaches, counselors, fitness trainers, etc. Many of them have an impression that they have to write a blog to be successful. With all the technology avenues available today, you don’t have to write blog posts. You can create a podcast, do a video blog (called a vlog), or any number of things that would classify as blogging.

If you’re not a writer though, don’t try to write. You’ll end up frustrated, upset, and your audience will be silently (or not so silently) begging you to stop writing!

Here’s to five years of blogging! Thank you to the over 2,600 readers who share this incredible journey with me. May you be blessed for being a blessing to me.

What are some other tips you’d add to this list?