Anonymity online is something that draws a lot of people to the internet in the first place. Whether it is leaving responses or posting content, not having to use a real name has real appeal.
To start an anonymous blog, you need to consider your domain registrar and web hosting privacy options, the privacy of your blogging solution, as well as security of the communications platforms you use to connect with sources and others when creating content.
Is an anonymous blog a good idea and worth the effort? For a lot of people in 2022, they are looking for ways to stay anonymous while still enjoying the blogging life. It takes some added steps and a few precautions to keep an identity secret, but there is no need to share too much information with the rest of the world if someone does not want.
Why would you start an anonymous blog?
A lot of people are very prideful in what they end up posting, so starting an anonymous blog might seem counterintuitive. However, there are a few reasons why people make gravitate towards keeping things free of any real names.
Some people do not want to mix their personal life with their professional life. An anonymous blog allows people to be passionate about something else, without having to mix everything. For example, if someone is a lawyer, but they also want to blog about a hobby that has nothing to do with their work, using their actual name might skew the search results some. All of a sudden, people searching for information on a lawyer might stumble across their cooking blog. An anonymous blog allows the focus to be on the topic, not who is writing it.
Judgment and backlash
Not everyone fully embraces their other passions and hobbies, and that might be reason enough to keep a blog anonymous. If there is a fear of judgement or backlash, keeping any real names off the website is the best way to go.
Keep in mind that the more an anonymous blog grows, the more interest there will be in a reveal. It starts to become very difficult for some to eventually let an identity known after keeping quiet for so long.
Avoiding legal issues
As companies become more and more knowledgeable on how the internet works, a lot of them will start issuing a noncompete clause to anyone who signs on or leaves the company. The form keeps people from officially developing websites that could come off as competition.
Talking vaguely is a little safer overall. Very few businesses are going to waste time and energy to come after someone that they do not even know much about as long as nothing too specific is shared.
Are there any reasons to avoid an anonymous blog?
It might seem pretty easy to set up an anonymous blog, but there are some reasons not to go down that route. Some people might not initially think of them at first, but it can start being more of a hassle than it is worth.
People might think they are in the clear legally if they start an anonymous blog. The truth is, if a blog is doing something illegal or aggressively going after an individual or business, they can still face legal ramifications in the end. No blog is truly anonymous, and law enforcement will be able to reach out if they have to for identifying information.
Fear of criticism
An anonymous blog is not going to prevent someone from receiving criticism. Anonymous blogs get a lot more criticism, as people want to voice their opinion just as much. The pressure starts to build more and more if the actual name stays unrevealed, and it could start to anger readers.
Not interested in dealing with criticism? Keep the anonymous blog as neutral as possible. Specific topics are much more prone to blame than others. Just understand that readers still expect some level of accountability from writers.
Fear of being outed
People online are incredibly resourceful when it comes to finding out information on individual people out there. If a group of people, or even a single individual, wants to do the research necessary to out someone, they will be able to do exactly that. Living in constant fear of being outed is going to bring a lot of stress that people should not want to feel. It might seem like a good idea to stay anonymous, but it could lead to a lot more complications in the end.
Capitalizing on success
If an anonymous blog starts to take off, it becomes a little harder to reveal a name the longer things stay quiet. It is always a very tricky situation because the transition will always bring some change. There will be some readers who will admittedly not be as interested, simply because the tone changes a bit after the reveal.
How to start an anonymous blog
Staying anonymous online is relatively easy, as long as the person puts in a little bit of extra work to protect her identity. If the goal is to go ahead and keep everything anonymous, it is essential to not provide a real name for any step along the way.
Tools and resources to start
It does not take a lot of extras, but there are some proven ways to keep everything anonymous when blogging online. Taking that extra bit of time with setting everything up pays off in the end.
Creating a platform
Every person must start with a website or some other sort of blogging platform like WordPress. People can opt to either sign up with a different name, or no name for that matter. There is still the process of making a payment, but some platforms do not require technically require a real name for that.
Keeping a real name away from the sign-up process is the tricky part, simply because some people enter that information without thinking twice. There is a record of who owns a domain name, so make sure there is a plan in place to protect that name if a real one appears.
WordPress offers a hosted blogging service, as well as a self-hosted option. This is so that people do have options, and the simplest method is to go with an all-in-one package. However, there are plenty of people who want to have their domain name and hosting account separately.
There are countless companies out there that offer hosting services, and a shared hosting plan is probably the best value overall. People will not have to spend that much yearly, and it should stay up without any issues.
Keeping contact information private with a domain name
Every single domain name that is registered has to have a name, address, phone number, and email address on file. There is no way around this, other than to use fake information if a person does not want to go down that route. Since false information does not always work when it comes time to needing contact, a better option might be purchasing domain privacy.
Whois privacy might be the best option out there, and it is worth the extra bit of money to a lot of people. In some cases, it might just be as little as one extra dollar per month, which is a pretty small price to pay to keep everything anonymous.
It is best to make the Whois privacy purchase right at the beginning, but it can be added at any time and enabled as well. Taking care of it from the very beginning to ensure that nobody ever finds out who is in charge of the anonymous blog.
Setting up anonymous communication
Now that the blog is up and running, people still need to have ways to communicate with their readers so that they can have the interactions that so many people crave. Make sure that there are still plenty of opportunities for people to reach out, just doing so in an anonymous way.
The first step should be setting up an email account for the website. Some people will go with free email service to take care of this, but there are more private options out there that cost a little bit of money.
Every post on a website, and the profile itself, should be listed anonymously or with a fake name. Every site comes with no existing information, so there is no need to search and remove anything. The only way anyone will know that a particular person is running the website is if contact information appears.
The benefit of a VPN
A lot of people are relying on virtual private networks to provide a bit more security when browsing the internet all around the world. Not only does this open up more opportunities to view websites that might be location-protected, but it helps protect a person’s identity when creating something anonymously.
In a normal scenario, internet traffic goes through so many different servers all around the world. These servers are pretty easy to hack into, and the government has access to spy as well.
A VPN is a network between the computer and everywhere else. Instead of going to different servers, internet traffic now goes to a VPN service with everything encrypted.
Anyone very serious about keeping things anonymous should invest in a VPN. They cost a little bit of money, but they are well worth the overall peace of mind.
Is it ultimately worth staying anonymous with a blog online?
Everyone has their reasons for wanting to stay anonymous online with everything they do. Even though there are some disadvantages to going this route, the process is pretty easy for those who want to stay anonymous. It is not going to be the cheapest way to run a website or blog, but it offers an alternative for those who do not want to use their actual name.
Shawn Manaher is the founder and CEO of The Content Authority. He’s one part content manager, one part writing ninja organizer, and two parts leader of top content creators. You don’t even want to know what he calls pancakes.