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The Choice of Associating Your Name with Your Blog

Do you associate your name with your blog?

One of the choices that face bloggers when starting out is one around their own name and whether they will use it on their blog (and to what extent).

There’s a range of options open to bloggers:

  • Blog under your personal name and promote it prominently on your blog (this is what I’ve done here on ProBlogger)
  • Blog under your personal name but don’t really promote yourself (this is what I’ve done on DPS – my name is on the about page but not much more)
  • Blog under an alias and promote that name (Skellie does this on Skelliewag)
  • Blog without any name on your blog at all – letting the content speak for itself

I’m sure there are other options – but these would be the most common.

So which is the best option?

I heard a speaker recently answer this question and they argued strongly that the best way to build a blog is to associate your name with it. In answering the question they used me and ProBlogger as an example saying something like ‘when you think of blogging for money, who do you think of? Darren Rowse’.

It’s nice to have you name associated with a niche and it certainly can be a smart move – but it’s not the only way to build a successful blog.

Let me use myself as an example of this.

Here on ProBlogger I’ve always blogging under my name, included it in the byline of my posts, had a prominent about page, written in a personal tone, included personal details of my life and included video and pictures of myself in numerous places.

As the blogger I mentioned earlier suggests – it’s paid off. Having my name associated with the blog has opened opportunities for me to speak at conferences, pick up consulting work, meet partners to start a business and write a book. Some of these things might have come to be without promoting my name – but I suspect less so than they did.

PbBut what impact has it had on traffic? Let’s look at the stats:

  • ProBlogger has had just over 7 million readers since it started a three and a half years ago. It currently averages around 14,000 unique visitors a day.
  • RSS readers osilate between 43,000 – 46,000 depending upon the day of the week.

The growth has been steady since I began blogging with different peaks and and troughs along the way.

But what about my other blog Digital Photography School

DPS is a blog that I don’t really associate my name with very much. Like I mentioned above I mention myself on my About page and use it in passing on weekly newsletter emails but my approach on this blog is much less about aligning my name with it and letting content speak for itself. It is a step up from anonymous blogging – but it’s much much less than I do here on ProBlogger.

If anything these days the names of other writers (those who I employ to write weekly posts) are more associated with DPS than my own name.

DpsWhat impact has this had on traffic? Lets go to the stats (note, these are just for the blog and don’t include the forum stats):

  • DPS started almost exactly two years ago (it’ll be our 2nd birthday later this week).
  • As you can see from the Sitemeter stats it’s now over taken ProBlogger in it’s visitor levels with 8.5 million uniques in that time.
  • It currently averages 20,000 readers a day
  • It’s RSS feed subscriber numbers hovers between 41,000 – 44,000 readers a day

So despite it being a a younger blog with no one name behind it DPS has overtaken ProBlogger and continues to pull away.

Some might argue that if I’d associated my name more with DPS that it could have grown faster but I’m not so sure. My feeling is that some topics and styles of blogging probably do lend themselves more to associating your name with them.

I guess the point of this post is really to present the options and to point out that there’s no one way to building a successful blog in terms of aligning your own personal brand with your writing.

A Couple of After Thoughts:

As I go to hit publish on this post a few other thoughts come to mind.

An Advantage of Not Aligning Your Name with Your Blog – one of the advantages of not associating your name with your blog prominently that springs to mind is that if you ever choose to step away from your blog and sell it it can be quite helpful. One of the challenges facing many blog purchasers is that to buy a blog written by someone else is to transition the audience from one blogger to another. Obviously not having your name associated with a blog makes this easier.

A less Glamorous Pursuit – I always have to chuckle when I hear myself introduced as the guy behind ProBlogger. While this is true and I’m very proud of this blog DPS is obviously a blog that is doing better when it comes to traffic and readership. Choosing not to associate your name with your blog is not a glamorous approach. You might never appear on the top list of bloggers for your work or get written up in mainstream media… but then again that is something that I know is attractive to many.

Do You Associate Your Name with Your Blog?

I’d love to hear your approach to whether you associate your name with your blog. What do you do? How did you come to your decision? What are the Pros and Cons of the approach you’ve taken in your experience?

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. Nice comparison, Darren. I personally think that your name does not relate all with the amount of visitors. It’s really the impact that we create that matters most.

    I do not use my real name on my blogs because I want to feel some some privacy on my records. However, just like you i had my face on my blogs. Anyway, my pen name is related to my real name. No, not Guardian of course. It’s the Angel. It’s my real nickname though and I find my pen name attractive and related on how I blog.

    By the way, I think I’ll be the 100th commenter. Wish me luck.

    Thanks.

  2. Lubel says:

    Hi!

    My blog’s name used to be “My Retirement” and its URL included my nickname, separated by a hyphen (lubel-retirement). I encountered problems like mistakenly replacing the hyphen with a dot, and I was not so comfortable with the URL because I am known for a different nickname by non-relatives (officemates and schoolmates). Worst was I think I was psychologically affected by the title because I’m not really too old to retire. I changed everything except the contents, so I’m now more energized and inspiring. The URL is now

    http://idontwant2retire.blogspot.com

  3. Seduction says:

    Loosely…

  4. Reginald says:

    I agree with Cynthia. I think the ambiance or type of blog that is being created should determine whether a name should be associated or a brand.

  5. Sandie Law says:

    I use my real name. I tend to write a lot about my personal life and experience, so it made sense to use my name. Plus, I want to develop a relationship with people and I find that’s easier to do when you’re using your real name.

  6. mr.eims says:

    I use my name “eims” . well..its not realy my name but thats what they call me “im”. and I think name does some impact on visitors since its better if we have keywords of what people are searching. let the domain name speak the keyword is better actually..

  7. Sammy Russo says:

    I almost always try and associate my name with my work, my blogs, my everything. I’m proud of what I do and what I publish and put my name behind it all. My name is my integrity and I’m proud of that.

  8. flo says:

    No, I just go by my nickname/the variant of the name of my blog.

  9. Jordan Loehr says:

    I use my name on both of my blogs, but i don’t really promote it overly.

  10. I think this is a great topic, and with The Home Crowd being a month old today, and me, a complete newb to the blogging scene. I’ve found that my initial decision to hide away my identity is the best choice for myself. Blogging is my hobby, and a ‘come as it may’ secondary income, but by day, I’m an architect in a high profile firm. My life is all about homes, as is my site, and I have no intentions on selling the site in the near/distant future.

    Here’s the issue: Professionally, attaching my real name to my site puts me in an awkward position should my firm discover it. I strongly doubt I’d be fired, but the site would be much scrutinized by those in power at my office. I work for a great office and love the work I do, but come closing time, my time is mine. I’d rather not feel obligated to put in plugs/free press on the site for the firm or our clients just out of a “conflict-of-interest” point of view. Some content may find its way in, but not with any sort of agenda.

    Also, after reaching my decision and re-thinking whether or not I made the right decision (Whose name is really ‘Home’ anyway???), I realized that I in my position I am privy to certain information about projects I know better than to make public. But some information, which does not seem to be important, could foul things up. I discovered this recently on an international project as one of the consultants had leaked seemingly unimportant info to the press, and suddenly, the whole project went on hold. I’m not sure if anyone was fired or laid off because of this, but I’d rather not have that weighing on my conscience due to a post I’d written.

    I still haven’t touched on posts like these, but will in the coming months. And by keeping it “out of the family”, whatever ‘leak’ that’s out there will be public record anyhow. Kind of how we’d all like to have someone on the inside over at Apple, to fill us in on the top secret gadgets they’re working on. If there is any of them out there, I doubt they’re using their real names.

    As I’m relatively new at this, please let me know if I’m barkin’ up the right tree. My name is “Home” at thehomecrowd.

  11. I use my real name as my blog’s url and post using it, but I decided, at the very last minute, to gite it a name. More than 3 months have passed, and I’ve noticed that most people mention it by my name, not by the blog’s name. Something that got me thinking… :-)

  12. Jeff McCord says:

    What a fantastic article. As a new blogger, I couldn’t decide what to name my domain or what to call my blog. After just a few days of thinking, I decided to just go with my name.

    http://www.jeffmccord.org isn’t catchy, and it’s taken a few months to get some traffic, but overall I wanted it to be something I could call my own and well there’s really no other easier way to do this than to use your own name.

    Just my 2 cents…

    Jeff McCord
    Jeff McCord’s Blog: Defining Moxie in a Digital Age
    http://www.jeffmccord.org

  13. tito mambo says:

    I am a new blogger and I made the very conscious decision to not associate my name with my blog. My friends and colleagues know I’m the author. My decision was not based on any traffic rational, but for the simple, personal reason that I prefer not to bring attention to myself and feel more comfortable with an assumed nom de blog.
    -tito mambo

  14. Michael says:

    I don’t really promote myself with my blog, I do write under my actual name but the name of my blog is different and I don’t really talk too much about myself.

    All my information is on the about page, the only reason for that is because I feel that to have a successful blog you should at least let people know who you are.

  15. Reginald says:

    I thought I might add that a name has substantial importance in every case in which it is used.

    Hence, very careful thought should be placed on the name chosen for any venture or issue of any kind.

  16. Charles says:

    It is a tricky one but I’m planning to start a blog soon which won’t be under my name. The main reasons for this are that I feel that going under a business name leaves further room for growth into other non-blogging areas in the future and also, as you say, selling or stepping down from a blog which is associated with your name is much harder.

  17. Reginald says:

    I appreciated Michael’s sentiment, especially that he keeps very little personal information about himself on his blog. However, he still provides personal information in an appropriate place, the About page for his blog.

    I genuinely wonder how many people make it a point to go to a blog that is just about an individual?

    It can happen; but the ratio of failure to success couldn’t possible be lower.

  18. Reginald says:

    I appreciated Michael’s sentiment, especially that he keeps very little personal information about himself on his blog. However, he still provides personal information in an appropriate place, the About page for his blog.

    I genuinely wonder how many people make it a point to go to a blog that is just about an individual?

    It can happen; but the ratio of failure to success couldn’t possibly be lower.

  19. Reginald says:

    Charles, with regards to choosing a name, I think that it is still very important that the title of a blog makes it discernible among the ocean of available blogs online today.