How to Start an Anonymous Blog and Why You Should (Not) Do It
Deciding for anonymity today, when everyone wants to be famous, can seem unusual and even a bit exotic. But apart from that, it most definitely offers some unique advantages that no name can give you . First of all, only with complete anonymity, your work gets the chance to be judged without any kind of bias. If no one knows that you are a man or a woman of a certain age, profession, family background and similar, then your work can only be judged based on its quality, not based on how people perceive you.
Just think of the planetary success J.K. Rowling achieved before exposing her identity. Can you imagine how interesting it must have been for her to see and hear comments about her work uninformed by knowledge about who she is? After revealing her identity, she even admitted: “As for the pseudonym, I was yearning to go back to the beginning of a writing career in this new genre, to work without hype or expectation and to receive totally unvarnished feedback. It was a fantastic experience and I only wish it could have gone on a little longer.”
Another example of huge writing success achieved by an author who wrote under the pseudonym is the famous Neapolitan Quartet, signed by one Elena Ferrante. The book was even developed into an HBO TV series, which we watch still without having the slightest clue of who really wrote it. Does anonymity diminish its fame? Quite on the contrary. Try entering “who wrote Neapolitan Quartet” in Google search and you’ll be amazed by the curiosity this anonymous author raised all over the world.
So, there is definitely a lot more than the fear of being exposed that might urge someone to start a WordPress anonymous blog. Of course, putting your name out there for everyone to see might be the perfect course of action for someone, but what makes the online world so special is that it gives you the opportunity to make a choice.
If you simply don’t like to be in the limelight and still want to share and have a lot to say, WordPress provides you with just the perfect tool to do it, and you can use any beautiful WordPress blogging theme that you would usually use. The freedom that only anonymity can give you is irresistible, and like any other freedom, it does come with a risk.
Ups and Downs of Being an Anonymous Blogger
There are a lot of reasons why anonymity is good for a blogger. If the topic you want to write about is controversial and sensitive (such as political issues for example) and threatens to damage your professional image, an anonymous blog will bring you relief. You will be able to put out your concerns and exchange opinions with like-minded people without any risk of this influencing your real identity.
Another good reason to stay anonymous is if you have a background or authority in a certain field and the field you want to write about is completely different and has nothing to do with what you are proficient in. It could be hard to build trust as a romantic relationship coach if, for example, you made a name as an IT blogger. In that case, anonymity solves it all.
These were some of the good reasons to stay anonymous. But, if your goal is to make a name for yourself one day, and you are only afraid of what others will say, hiding your identity might not be ideal for you. It would be wiser to carefully plan your online image than to hide behind a pseudonym simply because you are afraid of criticism. There are lots of proven tactics for handling the online haters and if their criticism gets you, it’ll get you behind any name.
Despite all the pros and cons of starting an anonymous blog, there is some magic in anonymity for whatever reason you’re thinking about it. It can be used as a seductive marketing trick – you can build an aura of mystery around your true identity, give occasional hints so that your audience eagerly follows you, hoping that they will find out who you really are. If exposing yourself one day is part of your plan, take care to make sure you can live up to your audience’s expectations.
Now that you are aware of the major advantages and disadvantages of being an anonymous blogger you should also know how to create a safe place on the internet to share your thoughts, ideas, knowledge, experience or opinions without compromising your offline identity.
Let’s now get to the essential practicalities of setting up an anonymous blog.
Use a Blogging Email Address and a Pseudonym for Anonymous Blogging
So, the first thing you’ll need to start a self-hosted WordPress blog is a domain name and a website hosting. One of the biggest and most reliable companies that offer free domains is Bluehost, and we sincerely recommend it.
If you are all new to WordPress, then before you start, it is a good idea to familiarize yourself with this platform and gain some basic knowledge about it. You can do this fairly quickly by reading a simple guide on how to create your first website or blog with WordPress.
After you’ve installed WordPress and got your domain, it will be necessary to provide your personal information like email address, phone number and, of course, your name. Since this info is available for anyone to see, domain name providers came up with an excellent solution for all those who want to stay anonymous. They now offer a service called “Whois privacy”. It is not a free service but is very affordable and if you want to preserve your anonymity it is definitely a good solution. How does it work? Whois acts as a medium between you and your site visitors, it displays the Whois contact info instead of yours and whenever someone contacts you via the Whois privacy page, this service will forward the email to your email address without exposing it. Another good thing about this service is that even if you didn’t purchase it right from the start you can do it any time later.
Now we come to the part where you need to add a new email account and an author profile in your WordPress blog. The reason for using a new email account instead of the one that you usually use, is to make sure that no one can track your identity. You can use any email provider that you like to create a new email address – Gmail, Yahoo or a more private service like Proton Mail. The course of action is simple: you go to the Settings, choose the General page in the admin area and add the newly created email account as a WordPress administrative email address, and of course, click save to store the settings.
You will have to add this same address to your author page too. You can do it by going to Users > Your Profile and entering the new email into the contact info field. Be sure to click the Update Profile button after adding the new address.
In case you already have your WordPress website or blog, and you want to start blogging anonymously on your own website, this is also possible. Since you are probably pretty familiar with the previous steps, then all you need to do is to follow the simple procedure of adding a new user in WordPress. After you finish, you will be able to post blogs as a new, anonymous user.
Another important detail when blogging anonymously is to create a clever pseudonym to use on your blog, as you wouldn’t be able to stay anonymous if you simply used your author name or your username. So, go to Users > Your Profile, where you will see the Nickname field where you need to enter your chosen pseudonym. Then click on the drop-down menu next to Display name publicly as and choose your pseudonym. Never add your real name in this user profile and of course always click the Update Profile button in the end.
Now that you have a new blogger identity, you can also go the extra mile and create new social media accounts as well. This way, you can build a new, genuine online community and audience for your blog.
Last but not least, you also have to think about keeping your anonymity safe. That means making a smart choice when it comes to VPN. If you are wondering what VPN actually stands for, it is a virtual private network whose purpose is to protect your identity and keep your internet connection secure. In the usual circumstances, your internet traffic goes through different servers distributed all over the world. Hackers and government institutions can in some cases spy on this traffic and track your online activity. VPN acts as a medium between your website and the outside world – it encrypts all your data to make it much harder to spy on it, and sends it to a destination through a random server in any part of the world. That’s why you should choose VPNs with high-level encryption and plenty of private servers.
Let’s Wrap it All Up
If anonymity is definitely your choice and you do not plan on “coming out” ever, bear in mind that the more you invest in the privacy and security of your site, the better. This means choosing the safest available web hosting server and as strong encryption as possible. Now, anonymous or not, always remember that the quality of your content, both textual and visual, will play a key role in your success as a blogger. Also, don’t forget to try advanced WordPress blog plugins that can further upgrade your website.