Do you associate your name with your blog?
Today, I am talking about whether you should use your real name when blogging or blog anonymously. Often times, bloggers introduce themselves to me and then say they blog anonymously.
There are definite advantages of using your name and definite advantages of blogging anonymously. I am going to talk about some of the different options that are open to you that may be in between each choice.
This is one of the decisions that bloggers face when starting a blog. Most at least ponder the question. Many use their real names straight away, but others really grapple with this decision.
In Today’s Episode: Using Your Real Name and Other Options
- Blog under your personal name and promote it prominently on your blog (this is what I’ve done here on ProBlogger). Perhaps the most extreme version of this is when you make your domain name your actual name.
- Blog under your personal name but don’t really promote yourself (this is what I’ve done on DPS – my name is on the about page and on any articles I wrote but not much more.
- Blog under an alias or just part of your name and promote that name. Some examples of this – early on on ProBlogger we had a writer who wrote for us called Skellie. Her blog was the same name – but it wasn’t her real name. Aussie blogger Mrs Woog is another good example. She blogged as Mrs Woog at WoogsWorld.
- An alternative to this might be using a maiden name rather than a married name if you have one – or visa versa – one for personal use and one for professional use.
- Blog without any name on your blog at all – letting the content speak for itself. This anonymous blogging has been done by many people over the years – for different reasons.
So which is the best option?
On ProBlogger I’ve always been blogging under my name, including it in the byline of my posts, I have a prominent about page, the blog is written in a personal tone, including personal details of my life and video and pictures of myself.
On dPS however I took a different approach from day #1. While I always used my name as bylines on my articles and had it on my about and contact pages. I never really went out of my way to make the blog about me.
I guess this was even reflected in the type of name I chose for the site. Digital Photography School communicates a brand that is a center for learning while ProBlogger feels more about a person (whether that is the author or the reader).
I guess my point is to say that a variety of approaches can work and the decision is totally yours.
There Are a Number of Factors to Consider:
- The topic – as I’ve already said – some topics probably lend themselves more to being transparent about who you are.
- The style of content – DPS was never a story telling type blog. It was about the content.
- The medium of content – if you’re purely producing text content you may run into less issues around your identity than if you’re posting pictures and video.
- Your long term plans – try to picture a few years forward about what you want to achieve with your blog. While it can be hard to do if you have clear goals this can impact your decision.
- do you want your blog to be a multi author blog? If so it might be advantageous to not make the blog fully about you
- if you ever choose to step away from your blog and sell. It can be quite helpful to have a blog that isn’t all about you personally.
- Monetization methods – some ways of making money blogging might be more suited to a more personal and transparent approach
- Banner ads, no worries about who you are
- Consultant, speaker or coach, people need to know who you are
- Influencer, you need a personal connection
- Ebook, course, etc. Better to be more open about who you are
- Anonymous bloggers still may be able to do these things, but it is more challenging
- How Comfortable you are with Limelight – Choosing not to associate your name with your blog is not a glamorous approach. You might never appear on the top list of bloggers for your work or get written up in mainstream media.
- Personal safety/security/privacy – Sharing personal information can be a safety issue. There are many reasons to maintain privacy.
- I knew a health blogger who blogged anonymously because she felt revealing who she was would jeopardize her career.
- Another was a family lawyer who didn’t want past clients and work connections to find her.
- Another one who did not want to be identified by an abusive ex-partner.
- Blogging about an embarrassing health condition
- I knew another blogger who felt he would be more open about his life if he didn’t announce who he actually was.
One last thought – you can always add your name later… but you can’t take it away.
As I mentioned earlier – many of the anonymous bloggers I can think of are today not anonymous at all.
I first came across Cora back in 2010 when she wrote a guest post on ProBlogger about how to blog anonymously.
Cora (who at the time blogged as ‘Treacle’) gave some great tips that I would recommend you checking out if you choose to be anonymous) but interestingly in 2012 decided to reveal her identity.
Cora used to be a crisis counsellor and when she started her blog she didn’t really want colleagues or clients to know about her lingerie blog. I think she also had reservations about family members knowing.
This is a story I’ve heard many times over.
In fact while not on the same scale, it was also the story of Vanessa Rowse – who I used to go to great lengths to disguise the name of on my blogs and who affectionately became known as Mrs ProBlogger
When she did start her blog – Style and Shenanigans – she did so without using her name or photo. This was a challenge as a style blogger who talked about the clothes she wore.
She blogged this way for a few months but decided to reveal her name and face after a while. I wrote on ProBlogger about how her first selfie and revealing of her name was the beginning of a steady growth in her blog.
How did you go with today’s episode?
Once again, I appreciate all of you for listening, reviewing, and leaving comments. Let me know if there are any new topics you would like to hear about.
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