Blogging Anonymously 101

I received an email from somebody who had stumbled across my post about blogging anonymously. I'm always getting search engine referral traffic from people asking how to start an anonymous blog, too. Apparently everyone wants to become an anonymous blogger! Who knew?

blogging anonymously

The person who emailed wanted to know how I blog anonymously, whether it was really possible, and how to ensure nobody finds out your real identity.

It's possible. Easy, even.

I started an anonymous blog almost three years, and am still largely anonymous. Some of my fellow bloggers know my real name, and I have met a few of them, so I can't very well be anonymous to those I've met, but I am still an anonymous blogger.

My picture isn't floating around out there at all, and nobody knows my last name who hasn't met me in person. You wouldn't be able to find my blog by Googling my first and last name, and I like it that way.

I started off anonymously and I'd like to stay at least semi-anonymous for the duration of my blog. Being anonymous has provided some issues as my blog has grown and become more popular, so I've been considering loosening the anonymity reigns a bit, but not because it's difficult.

Here's how I did it:

I Started Off with a "Pen" Name

I started off with the "pen" name (alias?) Daisy. I found that having a pen name - instead of people knowing me as, for example, Lemons or Add Vodka, gave me a quality that was a little more real. Plus, it's easier to relate to somebody or want to get to know a blogger if they blog under a pen name instead of just the first word of their blog. If that makes any sense.

So I picked my pen name on a whim after my mom's dog (yep, seriously), and have gone as Daisy ever since.

I didn't really tell anybody that it wasn't my real name until recently, and of course if people asked. But if you pick a believable name, nobody will ask and it will protect your anonymous identity.

Invest in Whois Privacy

When you are registering your domain on a site, it's important to pay the extra couple of dollars to have Whois privacy. That way, when somebody looks up your domain, they won't be able to find your real name, where you are from, etc. I register all of my domains on name.com [Referral] and who.is privacy is $3.99/year - super cheap and very much worth it.

I should also mention that you can't register Whois for .ca domains.

Be Cautious

At first, I was cautious to the point of paranoia. I double checked everything before even posting a comment; I only had a Twitter account because I didn't have a personal Twitter account so I couldn't slip up. I didn't check my blog Twitter, email, stats, or anything while I was in a public place. I really, really didn't want anyone knowing I blogged.

Once I got more comfortable with it all, I loosened the reigns a bit. I got into a groove where I didn't have to worry as much. I still double check everything, but for awhile there, I got sloppy.

My mom discovered my blog because I used a website under my real name, but wrote that I blogged at Add-vodka.com in my intro. Silly me.

After she discovered me, I swore her to secrecy and proceeded to be a little more diligent in covering up my tracks.Now I don't really care if people who know me in real life find out about my blog. My main concern is the Google monster and privacy.

Log Out of Everything

Once upon a time, I was on Twitter (I only have Twitter through my blog) and decided to creep somebody I had once known.

When I did that, Twitter pulled some voodoo magic and followed that person (or so it said) without me pressing the follow button.

I didn't want him to see that I followed him, click on my blog or Twitter and figure out who I was, so I freaked out and made my Twitter private for quite awhile.

I learned from that. Log out after every single thing you do on your blog or personal accounts.

Another thing that I'm paranoid about is "sharing" one of my posts onto my personal Facebook account instead of my blog Facebook account because I didn't log out.

Have Different Passwords

Most of us use the same password for almost everything, for simplicity's sake. I do too. However, I learned early on to have a different password for blog related things than I do for my personal accounts.

That way, I can never log in and send emails from my blog account to my dad, for instance. The different password would be another security measure.

Use Different Email Providers

My personal email account is a Hotmail account. My blog email account is a Gmail account. If I'm on Hotmail, I know to never email anybody from that account that is blog related, and vice versa.

Using completely different providers makes it easier to distinguish between the two.

There are few reasons why you'd need to give out your real name in a blogging situation. There has been some debate over whether blogging anonymously hinders one's blogging success, and so far I haven't had too much issue with that, though things are slowly changing. If you want to blog but you don't want your name floating around out there attached to your blog, going anonymous is a good solution.

Starting a blog? You may also be interested to read some of my other posts about the subject:

Blogging 101

Why Should You Blog? I Have a Bunch of Reasons!

If You're Just Starting Out, You Should Start on WordPress. Here's why

Ways to Inject Personality Into Your Posts (because nobody wants to read boring stuff)

A Post About Knowing Your Audience

If You Want a Successful, Money Making Blog, You Should Outsource (or quit your job and blog full time)

Make Sure You Are Running Your Blog Like You'd Run Your Business

Learn From My Mistakes in Blogging

Should You Blog Anonymously?

A Case for Blogging Publicly

My Beef with Blogging Anonymously

I also welcome any emails regarding starting a blog, blogging anonymously, or really anything else that you may want to discuss or ask. You can find me at addvodka@gmail.com!

 

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50 thoughts on “Blogging Anonymously 101

  1. Great post! I think blogging anonymously definitely has it's advantages. I haven't been as strict with how I anonymous I am lately though. People know what I look like and that scares me sometimes.

    Reply
  2. Daisy...good advice for bloggers who enjoy anonymity. I have a semi-anonymous online identity. Wisdomona is my preferred online personality so I blog under that name. However I freelance under my real name. That said, not many of my family or friends in the real world know that I blog/write at all.

    Reply
  3. I do have to give you credit for successfully blogging anonymously. I considered going anonymous, but after I had tied my name to my blog a bit from the start, I knew it was a little too late. Still I don't openly tell friends that I blog. If they're interested enough in me to Google my name and find my blog, so be it. I do think that long term, blogging anonymous may have some drawbacks though. Even the extra hassles of hiding things limits your efficiency.

    Reply
  4. Great post! I don't think I blog anonymously since I post pictures and things, but I do not use my last name. I also do not link any of my personal accounts with blogging...some of my friends know I have one, but I've never really given the the website. It's gotten to the point where I've told my parents, boyfriend, and some friends, and I really don't think it would matter anymore. I guess I am just open to everyone knowing what the hell I'm thinking haha. I don't anticipate getting too personal anymore, like I used to do back in the days..and I just have to be more careful about crap talking now =)

    I still love relating to your blog since you blog anonymously, and you're one of my faves and good blogger friends - so really, blogging anonymously doesn't make a difference. It shows that you can still blog and be one of the best blogs out there!

    Reply
  5. I thought about it but decided against it because I have some experience that will hopefully lead to some credibility. I don't think I've posted my full name but I bet someone could find it easily.

    Reply
  6. I met with somebody this weekend that blogs completely anonymously.

    It's absolutely doable but you have to be careful and not tell everybody in the world if you don't want people to know.

    Reply
  7. Christopher @ This That and The MBA

    I tried the blogging anonymously...but then I got a taste of some revenue from it and told my mom and some family members. Then some people at work and then it wasnt so anonymous anymore. I praise you for keeping it anonymous. I am like that at christmas too when i get a gift most the time my wife never gets surprised anymore because i am so excited and have to either tell her or give it to her early. I also checked with work too to make sure I wasnt breaking any rules by having a blog.

    Reply
  8. It's interesting to hear everything that is involved. I started a blog under a pen name and still keep it up, but I much prefer blogging as me and not having to worry about people making the connection. Ultimately, I too have become more relaxed with it and realized that it doesn't matter that much. Any chance of you will "come out" of blogging anonymously?

    Reply
  9. I understand the advantages to blogging anonymously but unless the blogger is someone I can really identify with, or writes epic content (both of which you do) - I normally don't read blogs with anonymous bloggers. To me it just feels like someone out there, somewhere that's blogging about something random. I just can't relate.

    Reply
  10. Thanks for the hints. I also started a blog anonymously and until I will leave my current job I will try to keep a low profile ( me, not the blog). I think you can have succes even if you are anonymus, and from the number of comments of each post, you have.

    Reply
  11. Well Daisy, it worked on me! I actually thought that Daisy was your real name, haha! I think anonymity is a great thing. I mean, if someone really wanted to dig and find out who any of us are, they could probably figure it out, but to the casual user, I think anonymity is very important. And you've done a great job! 🙂

    Reply
  12. Sometimes I miss the days of being semi-anonymous. I always used my real first name, but I was SO CAREFUL not to ever use my last name when I first started. I still have a phobia of someone I know finding and reading all my financial info, especially since I live in a small town. It has happened a few times and it never stops being weird.

    Now that I'm out of the blogging closet, life is definitely less complicated. I had so many close calls and moments of panic when I used the wrong accounts (or thought I did) or accidentally revealed my last name. Your advice re: using different platforms/accounts is a must if people are going to keep it separate. I made the mistake of using two Gmail accounts that fed into the Apple Mail program, and I constantly sent stuff from the wrong email address. Which wasn't a huge deal except it sent from "Andrea @SoOverDebt" and people noticed. But if you're using a totally fake name like Daisy Flowers at least people don't automatically associate it with you. 🙂

    Reply
  13. Ditto - I also blog anonymously! No one really knows who I am! It's pretty easy - just don't connect anything to your real life. That's kind of the beauty of this whole process. Rather than judge my history or a picture of me, all you have to go on is my writing.

    I'm the same way about my private and fan facebook pages. I'm constantly making sure I didn't double post on one or the other to give it away.

    Reply
  14. John @ Married (with Debt)

    I'm completely anonymous. Mostly due to paranoia, and I really don't want to be answering to people on a daily basis on what I write. Answer = discuss. I'm pretty private.

    I find that it makes me more honest with what I say.

    Reply
  15. I love blogging anonymously. It's interesting to be two different people throughout the course of the day. I always have to double check my signature when I email someone to make sure I am not using my real name when I am talking about my blog.

    I remember a few years ago a woman in Canada wanted to become a professional writer and she found that when she was trying to get freelance work she either wasn't getting the jobs or she was getting paid a lot less. So she created a male pen name along with a company name and sold herself as a man.

    The work poured in and she is still quite successful today. She did eventually reveal her true identity when a person that she thought she could trust outted her online one day.

    Reply
  16. Anthony Thompson

    Well, I must say that you've done a great job of blog without using your true identity. In fact, I thought Daisy was your real name. Sure had me fooled. When I first started out online, I was anonymous. However, I started to identify myself, because I felt mentally free to do so.

    Reply
  17. Eddie

    Your blogging success with being anonymous has been tremendous, but I find that in order to take that next step of authority people need to see and know who you are.

    I started anonymously, but after six months I came out. It was weird initially, but since has opened many opportunities.

    Great post though, and keep up the good work! 🙂

    Reply
  18. I was semi-anonymous on Budgeting in the Fun Stuff for a while, but I "came out" by last FINCON since my ad business was growing and it helped some people feel more comfortable. In the end, it didn't seem to matter much for me. BUT, I already had told all of my friends and family about my blog...

    Reply
  19. Daisy, I had no idea that your real name wasn't Daisy until you came up in gchat as Daisy Flower. I was wondering -- do you feel like you now have like an alter-ego, or a superhero? Do you ever think of Daisy in the third person? Like, "oh, that's cute but would Daisy approve?"

    Reply
  20. I blog anonymously but a few people know my first name. Okay half of my first name. (Is that sad I am able to halve it?) And I don't think you can google and put it together with my blog. A few friends knows I have a blog in real life and I know one of them reads it. The others may or may not--I'm not sure. I do wish I would have done the two different email platforms--sometimes I've opened up one thinking it was the other.

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  21. I blogged anonymously for the first couple of years. I think its better for your readers to know who you are because they can relate to you being a human being and not just a made up name or figure.

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    1. Debt Free Teen

      Yes agreed. I did have a friend who had a pen name because he was young and his parents didn't want people finding that out.

      Reply
  22. Love these tips. Anonymous myself, I'd add that I do all of my anon stuff in an entirely different web browser - Firefox - and all of my personal/work/non-anon stuff in Chrome. No overlap.

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  23. Shilpan

    You've done fabulous job of connecting with your readers anonymously. That's a sure sign of a creative writer.

    Reply
  24. I think it is easier for me to blog anonymously (somewhat) because I don't have personal Twitter and FB accounts. My emails are separate for blog and personal stuff. It is easy to get confused but because I don't have personal social media accounts, my life is a little easier that way.

    Reply
  25. Ha - I thought Daisy was your real name, too! Anonymous or not, you've done a great job reaching your readers.

    I know someone who blogs anonymously because of their job. This is the only reason why I would blog anonymous. Being as though that is not the case for me I am not sure why one would want to blog anonymous.

    This post covered greatly on how to blog anonymously but not why... just curious. 😀

    Reply
  26. Justin @ The Family Finances

    I'm a relatively new blogger. I don't use my last name or mention anything super personal on my blog, but I wouldn't say I blog anonymously. My friends and family and some co-workers know I blog. I'm just careful with what I post so I don't divulge sensitive information. I do have separate accounts such as email and all that.

    Reply
  27. Wow, I didn't realize how may people blogged anonymously until I read the comments! Blogging is so personal to me, that I couldn't imagine hiding in the personal finance closet... but it makes sense if you're worried about your day job finding out or if you have a fear of having your identity stolen.

    For me, being out in the open has meant exposure to other opportunities outside of the blogging world. So here I am - Stephanie Halligan, Founder of The Empowered Dollar!

    Reply
  28. Blogging anonymously is fine as long as you come across as real and passionate. I think readers are more concerned with authenticity than whether someone uses a real name or not. I expected to be "out" by now personally, so a piece just went out with my real name on it. Oops!

    Reply
  29. Everything you wrote rings true. I feel like I need to be very cautious as I've only been blogging for 7 months. However, I feel like I am easing up a little now though and have told my girlfriend. I've also mentioned to others that I blog but haven't told them the site name yet, as is the same with family.

    Reply
  30. I'm under a pen name. I realized, though, that my freelance writing stuff and my pic and portfolio can all be traced and connected when someone found me through my blog and traced back all my sites without my linking them. That scared me.

    Reply
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  37. Debt Free Teen

    I really don't get why people want to blog anonymously but I'm glad you have found a way if that's a desire of yours. I guess disclosing personal finance issues would be a little more concerning. I'm young and I don't care at this point if people know how much money I have or how much I make.

    I guess at some point I will.
    Chase

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  39. Jelly Owl

    Interesting article. It had never occurred to me before how difficult it would be to blog completely anonymously. Good tips!

    Reply
  40. Some great tips here, I have just started a anonymous blog, trying to build readers while remaining anonymous is hard, I had not thought of creating alternate social media accounts for my blog so I will do that now! 🙂

    Reply

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