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Yesterday one of the bloggers on our b5media discussion forum asked for the rest of our opinions on how its best to display your name on a blog. The discussion was interesting with a variety of approaches put forward. Some bloggers preferred their first and surname, others a nick name and in an IM conversation afterwards on the same topic I talked to one blogger who wanted to keep their name off the blog all together (not a b5′er). My reply in our discussion (written on the run on the way out the door to a BBQ to celebrate Australia Day today) was as follows:

“I vary mine from blog to blog but on ProBlogger always use my full name because of the goals of that blog. ie there the blog is at least partially about building my reputation and profile on the topic.

On some of my other blogs I do not want to be as prominently featured because the topic and ad revenue are more central and I don’t want them to be dependant upon me as such.

Also consider privacy/security in your decision. Sometimes a little anonymity (at least keeping your surname out of it) could be a good thing.”

How do you display your name on your blog? Do you use your full name, just a first name or a nickname or are you an anonymous blogger? If you have multiple blogs do you do it the same way on all of your blogs? Interested to hear how others do it and why.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. vivek says:

    I use nickname :) it is common practice and followed by geek community (for example Slashdot)

  2. A.H says:

    I use a shortened version of my NICKname: A.H ==> Allen Heat, which isn’t my real name either =)

    A.H

  3. jim says:

    I just use my first name in a pseudo-anonymous way, after being in the NYT, it seems silly to pretend I can’t be found (not that I couldn’t be found before but whatever).

    One funny thing I do revel in is that even if you knew my full name, it’s so common it’d be useless.

  4. Depends on your topic. There’s a reason that brokerages have names like “Charles Schwab” and “A.G. Edwards”, not “Wazoo” and “FiddleFaddle” or even “Slashdot”. You mentioned building your reputation in the field, but there’s also an effect of building your site’s reputation by being willing to put your name on it. If you’re willing to lay your name, your reputation whatever it already is, on the line for what you’re writing about, it reflects some combination of conviction that you at least think you know what you’re writing about. If you’re writing about video games, “Wazoo” may be a great blog name. If you’re writing about how to run a business, you better put your real name on it somewhere.

  5. brem says:

    I use brem…. my blog is titled: brem experience

    but I don’t from the fact my real name is martin breton.

  6. Michele says:

    I use my full name or my first name.. Depends on the theme / template I’m using

  7. Cary says:

    @ Tom, I noticed on your blog that your posts are actually authored by “Administrator.”

    Is that your birth name? ;)

    hehe…

  8. Jason Click says:

    I normally use my first and last name.

    -jasonclick

  9. Carl Knowles says:

    I use my full name all the time.

  10. Cary says:

    Depends on the blog…at Cancer NewsWatch I use my full name because I think that it’s important for people to know the person behind the story, but on my other blogs I just go by Cary.

  11. mark says:

    I just use my first name. it’s quite common, so it’s perfectly fine :D

  12. yuga says:

    I noticed that the bigger my earnings for a certain blog, the more anonymous I become in putting my name.

  13. Jonic says:

    I use my full name now… Jonic Linley ;o)

  14. I have two blogs. On the main one, I use my full name; I’m an author/consultant so it helps if people want to find me via search engines. Another blog is absolutely anonymous and I use an obvious psuedonym.

  15. Ricemutt says:

    I (obviously) use a nickname. As a new blogger, I’m still concerned about privacy issues, especially while I’m still learning about how blogs get propagated all around the Internet. Perhaps once my level of comfort increases, I’ll use my real full name. The only exception is that in the Chinese version of my blog, I use my Chinese “first name”, mostly because the nickname just doesn’t translate well.

  16. Cary,

    You’re right of course. The way the program was rendering my name in the posts wasn’t something I paid much attention to, since the domain name itself is my name. But since you pointed it out, I put my money where my typing was.

  17. Supa says:

    I wonder if I can legally change my name into Supa “Dupa” Gama?

  18. Joe says:

    Hey Darren,

    I use my full name on both of my Blogs (If you use Blogger, only one choice for all Blogs, it’s in the profile).

    On my Web page, there is no reference to me, it’s always we or us.

    The other day, someone looked up my full name on Google and showed up on my Blog Stats.

    Joseph Hauckes

  19. I always use my full name. Even if I decided not to anymore, my domain name is my own surname, and my blog directory is my name. :)

    But on my other blog I always sign my articles just as “Admin”.

    Best regards,

    Janio Sarmento

  20. Martin Ralya says:

    When I started doing freelance writing, I also switched over from using a nickname online to using my full first and last name.

    Since my blog is a very visible writing sample for drumming up future work, I use my full name prominently there.

  21. Kevin says:

    My initial blog began with a semi-nickname which then turned into simply Kevin. Now with 3 blogs, they all have author first names only.

  22. pcunix says:

    Full name. And my site itself is “aplawrence.com” which is my initials and last name.

    Primarily, I’m selling myself. Like others here, my site is a vehicle for business income, so my name is all over it.

  23. The banker says:

    I use a nick name. I feel it gives me more freedom, I don’t have to worry about what my friends IRL will think about what ever I write.
    And when I start to make millions of dollars I guess it is good from a tax point too…Oh and before you all start telling me how immoral that is, just remember that here in Sweden we pay over 50% of our income in taxes.
    Anyway II would probably chicken out anyway and pay my taxes, I mean a guy who does not even dare to write his name on his blog probably does not have the guts for tax crimes either :)

  24. Ama says:

    I use a nickname, which I think is fine for the type of blog I write…

    If I had a really common name, I’d probably use it on my blog. But my name is so uncommon that any search for it on google brings up every instance my entire name has appeared on the internets. And there’s already stuff I wish wasn’t there from when I was a lot dumber about the internet and privacy…
    So I try to be careful with that now. I don’t want to be so searchable. Not until I’m like famous or something.

  25. DCS says:

    I use initials as my ID. My last name is part of my blog name. I have considered using my full name, but to date have decided against it.

  26. Although, ‘admin’ is probably not that good (if you’re admin, you should be able to change it) .. it’s nice to see any name on a blog, whether it’s their first, last or nickname. It’s definately better than those with NO NAME at all … At least you can get an impression what the reader is all about, and if there is more than one writer, it doesn’t seem so shizoid.

    I always try to use HART (in upper caps) for all entries on all blogs .. and HART (1-800-HART) for comments now (since the fall) If people want to know my real name, or my other nicknames, they will have to read more than just the last post .. ’tis readily available for all those a’ looking.

  27. On my blog i use my real Name to let People know, who i am. This depends on the fact, that i like to be me and connect my nick to my real name.
    I am not a ProBlogger but some friends of mine read my blog mainly, so why not?
    And..this gives the reader more of identity about the writer, i think.
    I like that you use your real name here and as I have seen “ProBlogger” on others. This makes this Blog special and you are known by your real name as the ProBlogger :-)
    Greets from Germany

  28. Bill Peschel says:

    Full name, because my goal is to be a published writer, and I want people to remember the name.

    Now, my website is planetpeschel.com, which I bought on advice a long time ago.Back then, I even had pp on top of my blog, and that led to a problem with some linkers using my name and others using pp, effectively dividing my stats. It took a nameplate change and several years to get rid of that.

  29. GP says:

    I’ve been giving this topic some thought lately as I try to figure out if I’ll use my name (full, first, initials, or other) when I setup a site. I think most of the reasons for / against are listed above and generalized below…

    Branding (you vs. the site/business)
    Privacy (personal vs. day job issues vs. stalkers vs. other)

    One other factor that I think comes into play is people’s fear of failure. If I (or anyone) start up a site / blog and my name is plastered all over it… and it fails (miserably or otherwise) then it’s out there for all to see (of course if all saw, then it wouldn’t fail perhaps).

    Overall, it’s easier to take a “risk” if you can somewhat disconnect or “hide” yourself (think mob mentality).

    I think it’s acceptable to use “pen names” for anyone that isn’t banking on building that personal reputation (i.e Tom Peters, Seth Godin, etc.). When I read a site I don’t care about the name on it… show me some relevant information in the “About” section and move on.