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How to Promote an Anonymous Blog without Outing Yourself

You can be successful blogging anonymously but you need to know how to promote your site without using the traditional methods

One of the oldest problems in blogging is how much to share about your personal life and whether it’s better to blog anonymously.

Most of the bloggers I know share their real name, share on their personal social media accounts and let readers into their personal lives…sometimes sharing way too much.

That sharing and the sense of community it can build goes a long way in growing a blog and making money.

make money with anonymous bloggingBut what if you don’t want to share personal details? What if your blog topic is about something you haven’t discussed personally with friends and family but you feel strongly about it and want to be heard?

You can be successful as an anonymous blogger and you can make money.

Anonymous blogging means keeping an eye on all the common blogging mistakes but also watching out for stuff specific to hiding your identity. We’ll highlight why you might want to blog anonymously and how to get started before digging into some of the details on how to make your anonymous blog a success.

Why Blog Anonymously?

There are several reasons you might want to blog anonymously including:

  • Conflicts with work
  • Privacy
  • Safety
  • Talking about touchy subjects
  • Expressing yourself more fully

Quite a few anonymous bloggers I know do so because they would otherwise not be allowed to by their employer. This might be something like an investment analyst running an investing blog when their employer doesn’t want them competing for clients or talking about investments outside the office.

how to start anonymous blogging

Be careful sharing your picture when anonymous blogging

The biggest reason I hear for anonymous blogging is privacy and related safety concerns, especially with financial bloggers. One of the biggest names in personal finance isn’t a name at all but a pseudonym. J Money has been blogging anonymously for nearly a decade and even shares his net worth with readers.

While I haven’t heard any stories of bloggers being targeted for financial or other crimes because they posted their real names, there is a constant threat of social media trolls. These people have nothing better to do than to harass bloggers on social media, leaving hateful comments and remarks. Blogging anonymously can help shield you from it personally though they’ll still go after your blog name.

Another important reason to blog anonymously is when you’re talking about sensitive issues or something you haven’t shared with friends or family.

There are some issues that people might be ashamed, scared or embarrassed to talk about but that doesn’t make them any less important. I see a lot of blogs around emotional topics like rape, suicide, drug and domestic abuse run by anonymous bloggers.

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How to Start an Anonymous Blog

Blogging anonymously doesn’t mean you have to create a completely new personality or lie about yourself. Most of the anonymous bloggers I know share everything about themselves but keep their real names a secret. The blog still gets that personal-feel but they don’t have to worry as much about privacy problems.

Other anonymous bloggers share nothing about themselves. The blog is strictly informational and it’s tough to build a sense of community but there are ways to make it work.

Blogging anonymously will mean a few extra steps to setting up your blog.

1) Spend some time thinking about your blogging name and what you’ll share. This is going to be the ‘person’ that creates a community around your blog so don’t neglect writing out a profile. One of the easiest ways to anonymously blog is just to create a real-sounding name and let that be the only thing you change about yourself.

how to promote an anonymous blog

Hide your personal info with an anonymous blog

2) You’ll want to create a new email account you can use to register your blog and hosting.

3) When you set up your hosting account, you’ll need to check the box for Domain Privacy Protection. This costs $0.99 a month extra on Blue Host but will keep your name from appearing in WHOis.net and other web directories.

4) Set up your anonymous social media profiles for the blog. You can convert your public profiles into anonymous ones but this involves a lot of blocking and changing privacy settings. I suggest you create all new profiles associated with your anonymous email account.

Managing your anonymous blog doesn’t get any easier after setting it up. You’ll need to read through every post before publishing to make sure you’re not giving up any details that can point you out. This includes where you live, physical characteristics, personal stories and any of those little quarks that make you unique.

Promotion for Anonymous Blogging

Building traffic to an anonymous blog is more difficult because you can’t rely on friends or family for sympathy shares.

When I started blogging, I think my mom was the only one reading the posts. Not being able to get that first little push from your personal network means you’ll need to look for other ways to get your blog out there.

This is going to make guest posting all the more important. We’ve talked about guest posting as a way to boost your ranking on Google but it’s also a good way to build traffic back to your website.

Understand though that click-through rates on guest post links are only around four or five out of every 100 readers so you’re going to need to do a lot of guest posting to get meaningful traffic. Aim for writing one guest post a week for your first year and you’ll slowly grow your blog and your search ranking.

You might have to rely more on social media advertising to build your following. This means promoting posts on Facebook for your first few months to get that initial group of 100 likes. These likes would normally come from your existing personal network but can be earned with a little ad spending.

When you’re advertising on social media, just remember to exclude the locations where people might recognize you.

Don’t get discouraged when your anonymous blog doesn’t grow to 10,000 visitors overnight. That doesn’t happen with any blog. Give it at least a year and your traffic from Google will start to grow and you’ll build your social community.

How to Make Money on an Anonymous Blog

There’s really no difference between anonymous blogging when it comes to making money if the only thing anonymous is your true name. You’ll still be able to share personal details and stories that create a sense of trust and drive sales of affiliates and your own products.

You might be limited from a few money-making strategies like video courses and selling products through webinars.

It really depends on how far you want to push your anonymity. There are nearly three billion internet users out there. If you’re not sharing on your personal social profiles, the risk of someone you know seeing your picture or video is pretty low.

Among the nine best strategies to make money blogging, you’ll still have access to self-publishing, affiliates and even selling your own products as an anonymous blogger. Self-publishing will be a little more difficult because you won’t be able to promote your books to friends and family but it can still bring in several hundred a month for each book.

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Downsides and Risks to Anonymous Blogging

There are some downsides to blogging anonymously. The first is that it’s tougher to build a community when you’re not totally open with readers. There are millions of blogs and the only thing that probably makes yours different is the personality and personal stories you can share.

One of the hardest things to do while blogging anonymously is to not share with friends and family. You’ll get the urge to share blog successes with others and will want to ‘confide’ in someone…but those secrets never stay hidden for long.

Anonymous blogging isn’t an excuse to be an asshole or a way to get around legal problems. I know one anonymous blogger that has been sued multiple times for defamation from posts he published about a company. He eventually won those lawsuits but not before costing a small fortune in legal fees.

If you break the law or someone wants to go after you in court…they will find you, anonymous or not.

There’s also the risk that social media will ‘out’ you from being anonymous. One anonymous blogger friend found this out the hard way last winter when Facebook suggested their blogger profile and picture to someone they knew.

The Facebook software matched their blogger page with someone’s interests and the blogger’s picture showed up in the person’s “Pages you might like” news feed. Of course, the acquaintance recognized them and shared it with all their friends and family.

If you’re worried about being outed on social media, don’t use your actual picture for any of your posts or profile.

There are a lot of reasons you might want to blog anonymously but you’ll need to watch what you share and how you do it. There’s nothing to stop you from making just as much money or building a huge community if you follow a few simple steps to anonymous blogging.

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Comments

  1. Interesting read. I’ve honestly never considered blogging anonymously. I guess it’s because most of the success stories I know of use their real name, photo etc. With the obvious exception of J. Money of course.

    • There are different levels of anonymous blogging. I know a lot of bloggers that use a fake name along with their real picture but you’re right, most bloggers use their personal story to connect with readers so it does help having your name out there.

  2. This article is really helpful as I just started to blog and wondering if I can make it work while being anonymous. I write about personal stuff and I am concern about privacy so being anonymous is a must for me. I feel encouraged after reading this. Thank you!

  3. Castelo do Mar says:

    I think you make some good points here, particularly with bit about using domain privacy. But also be aware, depending on your type of hosting, if you have multiple domains on the same hosting account, those domains will probably have the same IP address. If someone does a reverse IP lookup on your domain (for anonymous blogging), then they might see the other domains associated with your real name. Then if you’re using the same WP theme on all the websites, a smart sleuth might piece it together. To get around this, you could serve your site through a full CDN which will probably give it a new IP address different from your hosting account. I have this on a few of my sites and it’s a bit of a diversion that most average sleuths couldn’t figure out.

    The Facebook exposure tip is also valuable. I think it’s important to use a domain specific email instead of another Google account. Something completely unassociated and independent. I’ve had times thinking I was logged into my anonymous Gmail account and then posted on fb accidentally exposing myself. Had to quickly delete. Best thing is to make sure you’re on a browser that clears the cache each time so you’re always logged out. Forces you to log into the right account.

    Keep your profile anonymous or be really vague so no one can piece it all together. Lots of loose ends so you’ll need to be deliberate in covering your tracks. And yes, don’t make yourself a target by bashing companies online. If they really want to chase you down to hammer you in court, they will. Happy anonymous blogging!

  4. Agree that you should even protect your image when you blog anonymously as a Google image search will unmask you pretty quickly. Good tips re the Whois, this is one that only the real geeky among us usually think about, you can register a domain via your accountant to conceal this and most registrars offer some sort of concealment service, as you mention, for a cost.

    I’ve posted plenty of things anonymously in the past. Mainly to keep my online marketing work separate from real life. Not that I was doing anything I shouldn’t.

  5. I’m interested in how you would get paid anonymously? Paypal show your real name and clients need it for bank deposits.

    • Good question Zara. You can’t really be anonymous to your advertisers/sponsors because you’ll receive payments and tax info in your name. You’re still anonymous to your readers though and it’s unlikely that clients are going to ‘out’ you to the public.

  6. Hi Joseph,

    It’s an interesting concept, trying to stay anonymous these days. Especially while using social media!

    As you mention, that’s going to be tough and involve a lot of checking and rechecking, looking over your shoulder… and ultimately STRESS.

    For me, that’s the key. Living a double life would just be too stressful.

    I totally agree, you should be careful about what personal info you share though. Most people give up their details far to freely.

    Cheers.

    • Good point James. I never tried blogging anonymously on my own blogs but know several bloggers who were or still are anonymous. Seems like a lot to manage though I guess it’s easier if you only change the name and everything else stays the same.

  7. Suzanne says:

    I’ve wanted to start a blog for a long time, and always felt like I had to miss out on something that could be a great thing, simply because my family situation is such that I just can’t be open with them about many of the topics that I would want to write about. I hope one day this is different, but for now, and anonymous blog is the only way to go for me. I guess I’m just commenting so that people can see one reason people may want to have an anonymous blog – it’s definitely more complicated, but lots of people don’t have the blessing of a supportive family network.

  8. SterlingF says:

    Hi Joseph, I’m new to starting up my Bluehost hosting and WordPress. You mentioned creating a new email before you register your blog and hosting. What can I do to change that? The email address I used contains my name. I did select domain privacy protection but when I selected google search console it ties your website property to your Gmail account (again with my name). I believe it said that that is publically available. I’m new to this so hopefully that made sense. Any suggestions?

    • You can create as many gmail accounts as you like so just create a new one related to your website. You can also create emails in BlueHost which will have your domain name as the @ address so that looks more official when you’re using it for your blogging business.

  9. Thank you so much. I just started blogging anonymously about being a navy girlfriend and with this life comes a lot of secrets. I have to protect who I am and who my sailor is. There is a lot personal things in there. It is mostly used in hopes that other military girlfriends/boyfriends (who aren’t offered immediate support by federal assistance) will not feel so alone. It is more about being the personal, girlfriend aspect of it all, not about his job or about deployment or military information. This has helped me a lot. I really want to get this out there and hope it helps those other girlfriends/boyfriends out there.

  10. Love love love all of the key points referenced in here. I started blogging anonymously 8 months ago, and really wish I’d found something this helpful back then. Most of these things I figured out as I went along. But it would’ve been sooo much easier to have a useful guide to follow.

    I’ve had the same fears of being “found out” through social media, especially with Facebook’s “people you may know” feature. At the same time, I’ve wondered if I should just let it happen so I could get that extra boost in traffic. But as you pointed out, you need to weigh those pros and cons, and there really isn’t any difference when it comes to the potential to make money.

    You just need to approach promotion and marketing a little differently when blogging anonymously. Bottom line — if you’re motivated, then you can make it work. No matter who you are, or who you say you are 🙂

  11. I’ve been blogging anonymously for over three years. My employer would fire me if they found out about my blog and my parents would be disappointed in me as because that’s how they are. There is a lot of stress that goes into staying anonymous.

    Still, blogging has been a very rewarding (and infuriating, of course;) ) activity that I wouldn’t have been able to do had I not been able to do so anonymously.

    Great article!

    Sincerely,
    ARB–Angry Retail Banker

    • Anonymous Blonde says:

      How did you gt around the FB “People You May Know” issue? Have you ever had a scare or been found out by anyone? Are there any social media platforms you specifically avoid? Thanks.

  12. English is my second language and my blog is in English so I hire writers to write for me while I remain anonymous. My topic is nothing touchy and at this point, I feel I should somewhat reveal my identity to give my blog more credibility. What advice do you have for my case? Thanks!

  13. any tips on staying anonymous if you work in the financial industry and don’t want your employer or coworkers to find out?

    • Best advice would be to create a persona, another identity online that you can use with the blog. People will go searching to find out who an anonymous blogger is if the blogger tries to be anonymous but they’ll just accept the identity as fact if they see it on the blog.

  14. Hi Jeff,

    This was very interesting! Thanks for the great tips. The thought struck me this morning in the bath, “blogging would be cool!” If I could do it anonymously of course.

    Would you be able to suggest a good way of getting started? I’m pretty clueless when it comes to all this! I just want to express my very chaotic thoughts in the mind of a 24 year old South African girl living in Australia trying to adult (as a bit of a background). I have no idea who the good bloggers are to reach out to or the costs involved in running such a blog or how to potentially make some money at the end of it. Your help would be greatly appreciate!

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