When looking into whether you should start an anonymous blog, it’s normal to wonder whether it really is in the best interests of your new site to blog under an alias.
This is why, when it comes to the question of blogging anonymously, having the pros and cons neatly set out in front of you can really help to clarify whether this is the best way for you to go.
Not all of them will apply to everyone but they’ll definitely give you some food for thought when launching that brand new blog. That way, you’ll know you’re making the right decision as to whether you really should be writing anonymously – or whether having your name out there could actually be the better direction for your site.
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Blogging anonymously: Pros and Cons
1. Lets you keep your brand new blog all to yourself
It’s normal to be excited when starting something new and launching a blog is no exception.
But it’s also important to be aware that having a successful blog won’t happen overnight. For the vast majority of people, it takes months or even years to start earning good money from getting strong, consistent traffic.
However, if you immediately announce that you’ve launched a site, you’ll inevitably get people asking how your site is going or wondering why you haven’t yet built the next HuffPost.
They could be completely well meaning in asking these questions! At the same time, there’s no doubt that it can be annoying to deal with these, especially after the first few months of excitement have passed and you’re putting in the hard hours without many results just yet.
This is why it can be a good idea to create a secret blog, at least at first. You can always attach your real name to it later once you’ve had the time to learn just what this whole blogging business is about – and have the results to prove it.
2. Keeps your site’s success private (including income earned)
It’s definitely possible to blog anonymously and make money. And while blogging anonymously has the pro of giving you time to build up to a successful site, it also has an advantage for when you do reach that success.
After all, blogging really can be one of the highest paying online jobs out there. And by keeping your site a secret, it means people in real life won’t know how successful your site is – or, if you publish this as income reports online, how much money you’re making. It also makes it more difficult for other bloggers to copy you and potentially steal your traffic.
A good example of this can be seen in the income reports produced by Jon Dykstra, which show him earning well over $110,000 per month from all of his blogs. The thing is, he doesn’t tell us the names of all of these sites, meaning he avoids all the copycats that are out there.
This means he’s clearly blogging anonymously on several sites – and getting a bunch of benefits by doing so.
FYI: Jon’s Fat Stacks course is genuinely one of the best blogging courses I’ve ever done. He takes you through everything he does to make that kind of money, including what to write about, how to outsource much of that writing, his top social media strategies and more. I’d definitely recommend you to take a look here to find out more.
3. No pressure to succeed straight away
This point is similar to the first one, but it’s still important to mention.
As I mentioned, most bloggers don’t see overnight success. And especially when it’s your first site, there is a bit of a learning curve when it comes to figuring everything out.
This is completely normal and basically comes down to trial and error. But when your real life network knows about your site and all those errors are on full display for the world to see…well, it’s not always ideal.
And that’s especially the case with blogging, where not everyone understands what this is all about – particularly when it comes to understanding how you actually make money from this thing. Sure, those of us in the know are well aware of the success that many people have from their sites, but having to repeatedly explain this to people outside of the blogging community can be pretty frustrating.
Instead, consider saving yourself the hassle and give yourself the chance to build your success in your own time.
4. Avoids issues that this can cause with your employer
Blogging can be a great part time online job, including on the side of your “main” job. But some employers are very upfront about the fact that you can’t earn any income in addition to your salary with them. And if that’s the case with you, then that’s that.
Similarly, while other employers may not ban this entirely, they can still frown on this kind of thing. This is especially the case if you’re writing on your blog about a topic that’s either relevant to your work or that may be seen as controversial.
So an easy way around this is if you blog under an alias. In fact, when it comes to looking at the pros and cons of blogging anonymously, this is often one of the biggest advantages for people to start an anonymous website.
Just be careful about what you write even if you do publish a blog anonymously, especially to make sure that it can’t be linked back to your employer somehow. Otherwise, you could end up like Heather Armstrong who had one of the best anonymous blogs on the internet for a while – but was still fired when stories she published were connected to her colleagues.
5. Can still engage with people and build a community online
Some bloggers like to build a community as part of their site, which can be great for generating repeat traffic and helping your readers with their issues.
But it’s also completely fine to do this anonymously. The truth is that even if you didn’t use a fake name, most people in your blogging community would never see you in real life – meaning it doesn’t matter what name you use.
And this is also true when engaging with other bloggers. There are plenty of great blogging Facebook groups out there, for example, where there’s absolutely no need to reveal your real name. This means that you can easily reap the benefits of building your blogging network – while keeping your personal details private.
6. Lets you discuss controversial or sensitive topics without spill over into real life
When considering whether you should be blogging anonymously and the pros and cons of doing so, this point can be one of the biggest benefits of doing so.
That is, you may be planning to write about controversial or sensitive topics that, for whatever reason, you don’t want to connect to your real life. It could be because of your employer, as mentioned earlier, but it could also simply be wanting to keep these two aspects of your life separate to avoid other issues.
So if you publish a blog anonymously, that can be a very simple solution to this problem.
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1. Makes some platforms difficult to harness
If you simply plan to create a secret blog and publish content on it, then this won’t be an issue for you.
But if you intend to also add other aspects, like recording YouTube videos or podcasts, blogging anonymously could be a problem for you.
For YouTube, while not necessary, most people do choose to have their faces on camera at least some of the time. Clearly, that basically removes any sort of anonymity, even if you’re using a fake name, as there’s always the chance that someone will figure out who you are or that someone from your real life will stumble across your channel.
There are ways around this. For YouTube, for example, you can hire people on sites like Fiverr to either do your voiceovers or even appear on camera for you. The cost of this can add up though so it may simply be easier to ask yourself if blogging anonymously is the right answer for you. That said, the video above has some other good tips to get around this issue.
This can also apply to podcasts, especially if you have a pretty distinctive voice, although it’s not quite as big a risk as with videos.
2. You’ll be outed if you ever attend an in-person conference
There are some great in-person blogging conferences out there that you can either attend or even, if you get to that point, present at. You may also be considering attending conferences that relate to your niche, as an amazing networking opportunity to expand your site’s reach.
But, obviously, people will see your face. This means that if you followed one of the tips in our article on how to blog anonymously and make money about using a fake photo, you’ll have an issue.
It’s not the end of the world – after all, plenty of bloggers run their sites anonymously, so people will understand. But if you’re looking to combine your expertise in an area with promoting your site, it may end up being worthwhile to use your real name.
Alternatively, you could use your real face with a fake name, which can be a good compromise.
3. Can’t rely on your professional expertise if you have a profile already
Similar to the above, if you do have some expertise in the subject you’re writing about on your site, you’ll more than likely not be able to have an anonymous WordPress blog as your expertise will be linked to your real life persona.
This is actually one of the few situations where I recommend amateur bloggers not to have an anonymous blog, as using your real identity can be particularly important for E-A-T, which stands for “expertise, authority and trustworthiness”. In summary, it means that for certain niches (namely, those that affect people’s happiness, health or wealth – also referred to by Google as YMYL niches), you need to have some background in the topic in order to rank in Google.
Google has confirmed that it may not be a complete deal breaker if you’re using a fake name, as seen in the Tweet below:
That said, if you do have actual qualifications or experience in the area you’re writing about, it makes complete sense that you’d want to use that to prove your expertise to your blogging audience. In that case, blogging anonymously may be an issue for you.
4. You may feel as if you’re not fully connecting with people
A lot of what makes blogging fun is the idea of joining (or creating) a community, especially if you’re doing this as a stay at home job so may not connect as much with people as you would in a face-to-face role.
Whether it’s connecting with fellow bloggers, people in your subject area or even building a community with visitors to your site, it’s a really nice feeling to be able to link up with all these people. And that’s not even mentioning what you can learn from them all!
But some people do say that one of the big cons of blogging anonymously is feeling like you’re not really connecting with people. After all, you’re presenting a fake persona to them so you could argue that the grounds for the connection are made up too.
Personally, I disagree with this. When it comes to online connections, it doesn’t matter what your name is or what the face is on your profile. Instead, what really matters is the substance you’re sharing with everyone.
That said, if you find yourself feeling like this, you may want to ask if blogging anonymously will work for you.
5. Can’t get excited and talk about your blogging wins in real life
While I mentioned above various advantages of keeping your website secret from your real life network, it also means that it really limits your ability to celebrate your blogging wins with them.
That may or may not be a deal breaker for you, of course. I personally like to keep my blogging talk in real life pretty minimal, as people don’t always understand it and it inevitably leads to the question of “but how much are you earning from this thing?” As I’d rather not discuss that, it stays pretty private.
You may see it differently though and that’s perfectly fine! Just know though that the more real life people know about your site, the less you’ll be able to maintain your anonymity online.
(And of course, you can always join blogging communities to talk about your blogging successes! There are some great Facebook groups for this, for example.)
6. Can’t encourage your real life network to follow and promote your site
When you’re just starting out, a lot of people like to try to build their traffic by asking people they actually know to visit their site or sign up for their mailing list. However, strictly speaking, you can’t publish a blog anonymously if you’re straight-up telling people that it’s your site.
I also don’t like to do this as it means you now have people on your mailing list who probably won’t buy from you or click affiliate links or whatever your chosen form of monetization is. Instead, with a bit of patience, your traffic will come eventually – and before you know it, those few clicks from your aunt or your neighbor will be barely a blip in your traffic analytics.