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Blogging Under a Pen Name
Are you curious about blogging under a pen name?
A pen name, a pseudonym, a nom de plume. Whatever you want to call it, it means the same thing: writing under a name that is not your own.
Pen names have been used by writers throughout history, and many successful authors continue to write under pen names to this day.
(For example, did you know that Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling now writes a series of crime novels under the name Robert Galbraith?)
If you are wondering about blogging under a pen name, the pros and cons, and whether or not you should do it, read on for my advice!
Why Blog Under a Pen Name?
Just like I wrote in my post about blogging anonymously, there are many reasons you may use a pen name for your blog instead of your real name.
Some reasons you may blog under a pen name include:
Wanting to keep your blog separate from your real life. You don’t want results about your blog to come up if someone Googles your real name.
Writing about a sensitive topic. Maybe you want to write about a more sensitive or personal topic on your blog without revealing your true identity.
Being able to speak more freely. When you use a pen name, you might feel comfortable sharing your thoughts and opinions more freely.
Choosing a different name for marketing purposes. Maybe your real name is too common, or maybe it’s extremely uncommon and people have difficulty spelling or pronouncing it, so you want to use a different name.
These are just a few reasons you might use a pen name. If your privacy is important to you, you may want to use a pen name on your blog.
But let’s get into the logistics of actually doing it.
Can You Blog Under a Pen Name?
Yes, you can absolutely blog under a pen name. Even if you want to make money from your blog and run it as a successful business, that’s still possible to do with a pen name (I should know — I’ve personally done it several times!)
Here on Blogging Her Way, I used to have a pen name.
The very first year I had this blog, I was using a different name. I also wasn’t sharing any photos of myself. I decided to change that after my first year, though, and I started blogging under my real first name and sharing a few photos of myself. But I still do not use my real full name anywhere online.
On one of my other blogs, I currently use a pen name.
I know other popular bloggers who use a pen name.
There are no issues with using a pen name for your blog. Just keep in mind you may occasionally have to share your real name and personal details in order to get paid (for example, from an ad network, affiliate network, or sponsor.)
However, this info is kept private and not shared.
Is It a Good Idea to Write Under a Pen Name?
There are not many drawbacks to writing under a pen name, but there are a few.
Here are some things to consider before you choose to blog under a pen name:
It can be harder to establish authority. Especially in certain niches, like health or finance, where Google expects you to have relevant credentials in order to rank your site. Writing under a pen name makes this difficult.
Losing out on recognition. When you use a pen name, you may lose out on recognition for your work or miss out on features in press and media outlets because you are trying to maintain your anonymity.
Complicates things socially. What if you ever join a local meetup with other bloggers? What if you are offered a position as a speaker at a conference in your niche? Using a pen name can complicate social situations like this.
Hard to STOP using a pen name. Once you’ve been using a pen name for a long time, it can be difficult to stop if you ever want to start using your real name without confusing your readers who only know your pen name.
That being said, if none of these potential drawbacks bother you, then you may still be interested in blogging under a pen name for the benefits it offers.
How to Start Blogging Under a Pen Name
So now that you know the pros and cons of blogging under a pen name, let’s talk about how to actually get your blog started.
The first thing you’ll need to do is purchase a domain name and web hosting.
A domain name is just your blog’s .com address. And web hosting is basically the place where your blog will “live” on the Internet.
If you’re going to blog under a pen name, you obviously don’t want your blog’s domain name to be your real name, but other than that, you can choose any name you want! You may want to choose a name related to your blog niche or go with something more general that doesn’t lock you into just one topic.
Here are some helpful tips for choosing a blog name.
So where do you actually get your domain name and web hosting?
I highly recommend using Bluehost for web hosting because it’s super easy to use, affordable, and you get your domain name for FREE with them (as opposed to paying $15-20 for your domain nam somewhere else.)
You will also want to get domain name privacy for your blog.
This is an additional service you’ll want to get if you’re planning to blog with a pen name, because it shields your personal information from the public. Without domain name privacy, anyone can see your full name and address if they look up your domain name registration, negating the point of your pen name!
Domain name privacy is only $0.99 a month with Bluehost, which is well worth it if you are concerned about maintaining your anonymity as a blogger.
You can add this service onto your hosting package at checkout.
Click here to get your domain name and web hosting from Bluehost.
No domain name yet? If you don’t already have a name picked out for your blog, you can skip choosing a domain name and Bluehost will give you a credit to come back and select one at a later date once you’ve decided.
What’s next? After you’ve gotten your domain name and web hosting from Bluehost (and don’t forget to add on domain name privacy!) head over to this guide for step-by-step instructions on setting up your blog.
Can I Freelance Under a Pen Name?
You may also be wondering if it’s possible to freelance under a pen name.
In addition to blogging semi-anonymously, I also use a pen name for my freelance writing clients. This is because some of the websites I write for require writers to use their last name, and I don’t share my real last name online.
So I’ve chosen a different last name for writing purposes.
You may want to use a pen name for freelance writing for many of the same reasons that you would want a pen name for blogging.
Once again, you will most likely need to share your real name and personal details with your client in order to get paid, but most clients will have no problem with a writer using a pen name for their published works.
What Pen Name Should I Choose?
The fun thing about a pen name is that it can be anything you want it to be!
Be sure to choose a pen name that is easy to spell and pronounce. You don’t want something that is overly long or complicated. Keep it short and catchy.
You may consider using your real first name, and just coming up with a different last name. Or you may want to choose a name that is entirely different.
Make sure that the pen name you are choosing isn’t the same as another well-known figure. Do a quick Google search of the pen name to see if there is anyone with a large online presence who might obscure your own search results.
Finally, be sure that you like your pen name and can see yourself using it for a long time. Like changing your actual blog name, changing your pen name can be a hassle and it may confuse your readers and muddle your online presence.
Blogging Under a Pen Name
For whatever reason, you may want to use a pen name for your blog.
I have personally used a pen name in various situations before, and it hasn’t impacted my ability to earn money or build an audience in any way.
Hopefully this guide was helpful for you in deciding whether or to use a pen name. For more blogging tips, you may want to read the following: