I’m a small business owner, do I need to have a blog?

While it might seem like everyone is blogging these days, including 12-year-old girls, that shouldn’t give new small business owners false hope. I talked with my friend Alice who runs mycareertools.com, a website for people who left high school before graduation, and she says: start blogging!

Blogging is working and therefore many big companies hire out these services to professionals. This isn’t to say that small business owners can’t blog themselves, but it’s not something to jump into without some serious forethought.

First, as a business blogger consider if writing, let alone blogging, is in your personal toolbox, says Alice. If it’s not, the task will quickly become frustrating — and a bad blog is worse than no blog at all. Unlike social media, which some people consider nearly a requirement for business owners, blogs aren’t expected by everyone quite yet. If an owner is torn between blogging themselves or outsourcing the job, consider these pros and cons.

Blogs require promotion, says Darren Rowse from Probloger. Promotion is an integral part of a good business blog, and professional writers know this. It can be tricky to learn to do seamlessly. While this factor shouldn’t necessarily be a deterrent, many non-writers are surprised to learn that a good blogger doesn’t just sit down and write like it’s a journal.

However, hiring a blogger with experience is going to be more costly than hiring someone who may be a strong writer, but isn’t really an online communications professional. If the owner or employee feels up to the task, they should spend some time perusing the good practices basics and incorporate words into the blog as guided by Google Analytics. This can get business owners going in the right direction, assuming they don’t fall into the keyword stuffing rut.

How Much is Time Worth? You don’t need to be like the HuffPost and update the blog five times per week. Once a week will do too. Does that sound like a lot of work? It certainly is, which is why some people hire bloggers or contract the work out to freelancers.

That can quickly add up if the business owner is going to commit to the five-posts-per-week rule. However, taking on the challenge themselves can eat into precious time that might be better spent elsewhere, such as business promotion. Consider how long it takes to research, write and post the blog before deciding on a DIY approach.

Don’t Expect Instant Results, says Alice. It usually takes a few months for the benefits of a blog to make themselves apparent. Use those business skills to promote it, whether the business owner is writing the content or it has been outsourced. Track how many people are reading the blog, how long they spend on each post and the bounce rates in order to get an idea of what’s working and what’s not.

If the blog is still floundering after five months, it’s time to reconsider it or give it a makeover. Patience and determination are both critical with blogging. Stick with the course to achieve the best results possible.