I recently sold a blog for five figures without revealing my full identity on it! Now, to be clear, of course the buyer had to know my identity to do her due diligence and to sign legal contracts. But none of my readers knew who I was, and it didn't matter—the blog still made money and was acquired by another business owner.
So for those of you wondering, “can I blog without revealing my identity?,” the answer is YES, and I'm going to show you exactly how to blog anonymously and make money and give you examples of people who have done it.
3 real-life examples of anonymous bloggers
1. Mike Futia AKA Mike Pearson of Stupid Simple SEO
This anonymous blogger example blew my mind. I've been following Mike since at least 2018 when I purchased his Stupid Simple SEO course. He was all over the internet: on other blogs, on news sites, on YouTube, you name it! So imagine my SHOCK when he revealed in 2021 that his name isn't actually Mike Pearson—it's Mike Futia! This didn't upset me at all. He had used his real photo and real first name, but he had changed his last name for privacy reasons and because he had a full-time job at the time and didn't want his employer to know about his side hustle.
Despite using a pseudonym, Mike was able to sell multiple niche sites, make six figures from his side hustle, and sell online courses. It didn't seem to hold him back.
2. Darcy of We Want Guac
Now, nowhere on her personal finance site does Darcy say this, but in interviews, she reveals that her real name is actually Amy. When it comes to personal finance, it makes sense that people don't want to reveal their full name—they're often sharing lots of info about their wealth, and they don't want to become a target.
3. J. Money of Budgets Are Sexy
Another example of how blogging anonymously is big in the personal finance world: J. Money of Budgets Are Sexy has used this pseudonym for years, even doing interviews and being featured in major publications like Forbes and Business Insider. He openly shares his net worth online—a strong incentive not to reveal his true identity.
Can I get paid for an anonymous blog?
Yes, I've done it! While blogging anonymously, I've been paid by advertising networks like Ezoic, affiliate networks like Amazon Associates, and I sold my anonymous blog to another blogger. Again, the merchants/buyers you work with directly will have to know your name to be able to deposit money into your account—but the public doesn't have to know!
How to blog anonymously: 6 tips from the pros
So, are you convinced that you want to blog without revealing your identity? Here are some tips to help you:
1. Use a pen name
A pen name (AKA pseudonym) is a “fake” name that you write under. You can change your first and last name, or just your last name! It's up to you. Keep this consistent across your blog and in interviews.
2. Don't show your face
If your blog becomes famous, so too will your photo. That's why I recommend not showing your face if you want to blog anonymously. On top of that, it's quite simple to use Google Image Search to match your blog headshot to, say, your LinkedIn headshot, which would then reveal your identity.
But, as we saw above, Mike Futia used his real photo, along with his pseudo-last name, and it worked out just fine for him (no one at his company ever found out about his blogging side hustle!).
3. Purchase Domain Privacy when you buy your domain
If you're starting a self-hosted site (which I recommend because it is the BEST way to monetize), you need to purchase Domain Privacy when you purchase the domain.
If you do NOT purchase Domain Privacy, your first and last name are public record. Anyone can find it by searching your domain name on the ICANN website.
4. Use nicknames for kids, spouse, etc.
An essential ingredient for blogging anonymously is ensuring you do not give away identifying info. Sure, you could use a pseudonym for yourself, but if you reveal your spouse's name, your kids' name, the city you live in, etc., you make it easier and easier for internet sleuths to find out your real name.
For that reason, if you want to mention your family on your blog, consider using nicknames for your loved ones. Lots of bloggers do this! For example, Crystal Allen of Hello Creative Family refers to her husband only as “The Hubs” and her two kids as “Turtle” and “Bean.” Super cute, right??
Now, the only way to do this is to use a DBA or LLC for your blog (PLEASE consult a legal professional, as I am not a legal professional).
6. Don't share where you live (at least not the specifics)
Again, nix the identifying info. Don't reveal the specifics of where you live. If you live in a big city, such as Boston, NYC, or LA, this might be fine.
How You Might Get Found Out
Sure, you can do your best to blog without revealing your identity, but the truth is, there's no perfect system. You could still get found out, and that's a risk you take. In the end, ask yourself, “Is it really a dealbreaker if people know I own this blog?”
Here are some ways people might discover who you are:
1. Readers look up your business name
In many states, when you register a business, your first and last name as the business owner becomes publicly available information. So, if a reader decides to look up your business name in the database of one of these states, they could see your real name.
2. Family or friends leak the info
If someone who knows you and knows that you run that blog happens to let it slip that you're the owner, well, then you're ousted.
3. Your merchants/business partners leak the info
If you're making money blogging, you will have to reveal your first and last name and probably address to the merchants and businesses you work with.
Are anonymous blogs legal? Where you might run into issues…
**Again, I am not a lawyer, so the following is not legal advice. Please seek professional advice!**
In general, in business law, the idea is that consumers have a right to know who they are doing business with. Most states, when you register an LLC, for example, require that the business owner's name be included on public documents.
There ARE some workarounds, though, but you'll need to consult with an attorney. For instance, New Mexico and Wyoming allow for “anonymous LLCs.” What this means is if you form an LLC in New Mexico, your first and last name will of course be made known to the New Mexico government when you apply—but your first and last name will NOT be made available to the public. So, essentially, you could run the business anonymously.
If you're in a state like Florida, however, you're out of luck. It's required by law that your first and last name be included in the public database of LLCs. There is yet ANOTHER workaround, but it's tricky and again, you need to consult an attorney: You COULD form an LLC in say, New Mexico (or another “anonymous LLC” state) and put the NM LLC as the owner of the Florida LLC. That's because it's legal for LLCs to own other LLCs. So, essentially, your NM LLC will shield you and protect your privacy. This could, however, bring up tax issues, since NM has state income tax, while Florida doesn't. Again, it gets tricky, and you probably should consult a tax professional too while you're at it.
Yet another sticky area is when you deal directly with merchants and sponsors. They will, of course, need to know your real name. That's because they'll likely draft contracts that you'll need to sign. They also will send you tax documents that need to have your legal name on them.
Blogging anonymously: Is it worth it?
After all is said and done, you really need to reflect on your motivation behind wanting to remain anonymous. Privacy is important, of course! But if you're doing it because you're ashamed of your blog, then that's probably not healthy. And if you're doing it because you're doing something illegal…yeah, don't do that.
You have to realize that in this day and age, it's quite easy to find out information about others with a simple Google Search. Do what you can to maintain your privacy while blogging, but also be open to others knowing who you are and what you do for a living.