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?
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.
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:
Ways to Inject Personality Into Your Posts (because nobody wants to read boring stuff)
If You Want a Successful, Money Making Blog, You Should Outsource (or quit your job and blog full time)
Should You Blog 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 firstname.lastname@example.org!