The Internet is known for providing some degree of anonymity. Of course it is getting harder and harder to remain truly anonymous but that aside, you can chose whether you want to brand your blog with your own name or not.
In this post, as part of our 29 debates bloggers have about blogging series, we look at whether you should blog with your own name or a nickname.
Building Your Brand
Modern marketers are highly aware of brand value. A brand can be made up of many different components; an image, a name, or even a person.
Brand economics apply equally to the Internet and can be an important factor of building up a large site that will stand the test of time. Less important if you are just trying to chase quick cash without putting in the hours, but Blogercise is about working hard to build a website, not trying to get lucky.
As your website grows you will need to think about how you want to brand it:
- Create a brand name, something like “Blogercise” for example!
- Do you want to brand it around your domain name? Blogercise .com
- Or how about using your own name? Yourname.com by Your Name.
Connecting With Your Audience
The key advantage of using a real name is that you are more likely to build relationships with your readers if they know who you are. As they “get to know you” they are more likely to follow and trust in you, this makes them more likely to engage with your site and you can begin to build a long term profitable propostion.
I would recommend blogging with your name if you are comfortable with the privacy issues around this.
Why Would I Want to Run an Anonymous Blog?
There are good reasons to keep some separation between you and your blog’s authorship:
- Basic Privacy. Keeping your name off the web makes it harder for people to locate you. Perhaps you don’t want work colleagues from your day job to see what you are doing, or future employers. Once your name is plastered all over the web you’ll never be able to remove it.
- The Blog is dependent on a person. If you sell the blog on down the line the readers need not even know that the lead writer is now someone else. A personality lead blog might not survive if you leave. This might make it more attractive to potential buyers and therefore help you achieve a better sale price.
Can I be Truly Anonymous When Running a Blog
Of course if someone really wants to find out who you are then they will be able to, there will be some trail back to you somewhere. But this shouldn’t put you off. Remember that business men and women all over the world are putting themselves out there, their names are on corporate websites, they hand out cards and build working relationships. In fact the do whatever it takes to get their name heard by as many people as possible!
A number of high profile “sex bloggers” have been outed by journalists in recent years. If your blog becomes high profile then someone will try and track you down and it is highly likely that something or someone will give you away. If you can’t stand the idea of being connected with your blog one day then to be honest you are better off not writing one.
I thought I would end this article by talking a little about what I do on my various sites. As you can see, I don’t plaster my name all over Blogercise and I try to keep it disconnected from other projects and my personal life.
There are some simple reasons for this:
- As I work for a commercial website I thought it would be inappropriate to associate myself with it. Sure, it would be easy to gain a lot of traffic if I let you know who I work for (look what that did for the Matt Cutts blog!) but I don’t have any offical consent to associate with them.
- I find the whole “look at me I make money online” thing a little distasteful. I find the guys who post pictures of their car or house to show how well they’ve done rather vulgar. Maybe that’s my British sensibilities, or just good taste? I don’t know – either way I won’t be doing that kind of thing.
I do plan to introduce a worked case study that I will share with everyone in the future – I don’t want my work to be completely hidden.
However, on other sites, for example my tech community, I do blog as myself! I use my first name and refer to events that are going on in my life every day. And I notice that this can be much more effective. My readers often chat to me via email, we talk about stuff not even related to the website, I have even made a number of friends though connecting this way. And these friends have all helped to promote the site and I hope in return I’ve given something back too.