When starting a blog, one of the major decisions you face is that of whether or not to use your real name. And – should my blog be my name – is a question I get asked a lot.
It can be rather a tricky decision because there are pros and cons to whatever decision you make and that’s what we’re going to answer in this article. Starting with the quick answer…
Should my blog be my name? Blogging under your own name can offer a more personal perspective to readers, and makes sense where you are promoting your own skill or activity, such as a writer. If you plan to vastly expand your blog or sell your blog in a few years, then creating a person-specific blog is not the best option.
And there are various degrees of blogging under your own name, largely down to the types of promotion you carry out.
Choosing to blog using your real name or under a pen name greatly depends upon your motivation.
What is your motivation for blogging?
Your overall motivation will determine how your blog develops, and whether blogging under your real name makes sense or not.
Are you looking to create a personal brand? Do you have the motivation to become popular on the internet?
It is very likely for you to consider blogging under your real name if you’re hell-bent on becoming famous in your chosen industry or niche.
Or, if you want your blog to connect with your business, or even if you plan to blog with the purpose of building connections with the people that know you.
On the other hand, you might be likely to consider blogging under a pen name because you’re looking to blog about a sensitive or highly personal topic, and perhaps don’t want to be personally attached to your blog – or you think that there might be some negative consequences for you as well as your loved ones.
You can opt for anything really, varying from no anonymity, through to full anonymity. But your chosen options may have implications for what you write about – and the future of your blog direction.
Blog options using your own name
If you choose to write under your own name or a derivative of your own name, then the following are the options you can consider:
Blogging under your own name and promoting it
This is what many bloggers do. You can even take it to the extreme and use your real name as your actual domain name, and thus the name of your blog.
This has implications for Google’s EAT directives. So being genuine and have Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness is becoming more and more important within the content that Google offers up to searchers.
Blogging under your own name without promoting it
A number of bloggers tend to go with this option. They will have their actual name on the ‘About page’ as well as on the articles they have written, but that’s about all.
This is the scenario you might expect from a business, perhaps a local business, but wherein there is more than one person who creates content.
Blog under an alias, or use just one part of your name.
The alias that you go for could be a pen name, your maiden name, or even a former name. It could be something that the viewers could never be able to guess your actual name from. You can also just use your first name or your surname.
Blogging without using any name.
Most bloggers tend to keep their identity a secret, which they do for a number of different reasons. Either as they value their privacy, or they have aspirations for their blog that go beyond their own personal views and writings.
Is it the blog name? Or what you target that matters?
Writing about random topics often only works for very established sites or news organizations.
When writing for clients’ blogs, I’ve only ever had one client that wrote under their own name. In terms of SEO, and gaining traction on their chosen topic this made it more difficult.
I put this down to the fact that writing under their own name made it easy to write about any more random topics.
This lack of focus, and not having a specific targetted blog niche creates some confusion for Google in knowing what is this blog actually about …and are they an expert in it?
Which is the Best Option?
When it comes to blogging under your own name, there’s no single right choice.
What you choose to do depends upon what you are comfortable with, what best suits the needs of your blog, and perhaps more importantly, where you see your blog going in the months and years to come.
Some bloggers have a very personal tone to their blog. It often includes their personal videos, anecdotes about their life, and much more.
On the other hand, while some bloggers don’t hide who they really are, they don’t go out of their way to make the blog about themselves either.
When to be anonymous in your blog
If you’re considering whether to be anonymous or not or even the extent of anonymity, then have a look at the following factors:
1. The topic of your blog and the type of content
There are certain topics that invite transparency, while others don’t. Certain types of content are rather personal compared to others.
For instance, a blog that provides useful tips regarding a certain set of skills or subject area can be more anonymous …as compared to the one that focuses on personal stories alone.
2. The medium
If you’re planning to write posts and use stock images then it will be comparatively easier to keep your identity a secret.
However, if you plan on doing podcasts or videos, or plan to use personal photos in your posts, then it will be rather difficult to remain anonymous, photos can provide a lot of information about a person’s locale, their background, and where they frequent.
3. Long term plans
While you might not yet be familiar with how you would want things to be in the upcoming years. The long term goals that you have for your blog can help determine how anonymous you can …or should be.
For example, if you wish to create an online platform in order to help sell a couple of books that you have written, then using your real name makes perfect sense.
However, if you want to create a blog that you plan to sell on in a few years …or one that will have multiple authors, then it’s likely for you to want to be anonymous, of at least keep the focus on the content of the blog instead of on yourself.
4. Monetization methods
Certain monetization can easily be done while staying anonymous.
For example, you can monetize your blog through affiliate links or ads without ever using your actual name or even a pen name for that matter.
However, if you choose to make money as a speaker, consultant, or coach, then your readers will want to know who you really are.
As well, if you plan on becoming an influencer in your space, then you will obviously need to make a personal connection, and blogging under your own name makes sense for this.
Selling ebooks or other digital products will be even easier if your audience knows who you really are, especially if you’re an author or expert of note.
5. Your Overall Personality
A number of bloggers tend to enjoy the limelight. They have aspirations of being featured in the ‘Top bloggers’ lists and get mentioned in the media.
However, don’t start down this path unless you realize it is extremely difficult to become this famous if you blog under a pen name.
On the other hand, some bloggers want to avoid the spotlight and may feel rather intimidated by such notoriety or recognition.
If that’s the case with you, then remaining anonymous or blogging under a pen name probably best suits your needs.
6. Privacy or safety needs
Depending upon the nature of your topic as well as your circumstances, it might be crucial for you to remain anonymous.
Some bloggers tend to avoid using their own name for a variety of reasons, such as:
- A health blogger who feels that revealing their name might jeopardize their career
- Professions such as a teacher, health worker, or family lawyer who do not want their colleagues or clients finding them online
- A blogger who doesn’t want to be identified by an abusive ex-spouse
- A blogger who writes about an embarrassing health disorder.
- Bloggers writing about extreme views, or as an activist in a controversial area
Which choice to make – my recommendation
For me, having written thousands of articles for hundreds of blogs, it always makes sense to me to look ahead, think about your end game.
Writing under your name does make sense in the right circumstances, but most bloggers, tend to have aspirations for their website which outweighs personal experiences and musings. If your plans are bigger than just you, then find a name that suits your site and doesn’t include your own.
Either way, consider getting some professional articles for your blog. Or get advice on how to approach blogging to monetize.