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Should Bloggers Use Pen Names Instead Of Real Names?

Profile photo of Sunday William Submitted by Sunday William June 21, 2016


Writers make use of pen names always. They do so for various justifiable reasons. Some bloggers also use pen names but I am not too sure if this has any REAL significant impact on the overall brand success or the ROI.

A pen name is an author’s pseudonym. It is a fictitious name used when a person performs a particular social role or when a person publishes a piece of writing.

Reasons why pen names are used by writers could be:

> To make it easier for people to pronounce or write the name.
> To make the name more appealing and attractive to sales.
> To have the name fit a particular genre
> To make the name less controversial and more arousing for the audience.
> To hide their gender on gender-specific genres.
> To different themselves from well-known writers with similar real names, etc.

In addition, a name can be chosen:

> If it has personal or family attachment
> If the domain is available for creating an author’s online platform
> If there is available in social media like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.

There could be other reasons why writers, bloggers, or Internet marketers may decide to use pen name. I am of the opinion that a name (real or pen) should impact a brand’s success. So, the right pen name is fundamental to making money online.

You may have a different opinion about this, and I ask:

What really is in a pen name anyway?

Should bloggers use pen names instead of their real names?

How will the chosen name impact on ROI?

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Profile photo of Sunday William
I started with a College Degree in Business but I have been an Internet marketer and writer for 10+ years and have written 5,000+ high quality articles in diverse topics. I have also written 20,000+ comments on and 1,000+ blogs and/or websites. I have been working closely with Kingsley, the admin of for 10+ years and have been in the's administrative team since the first day in 2012. I highly recommend's Coaching and Partnership Program.

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42 Responses to “ Should Bloggers Use Pen Names Instead Of Real Names?” Leave a reply ›

  • Profile photo of Husni Ahamed Profile

    Hey Sunday,

    According to your article, I would like to say sometimes pen name is good but using a real name for an online business can be so effective because for an example I use my real name for my business as my domain, It will make my name as a brand on the top so if someone talk about Husni Ahamed they eventually remind my website too right? I think using a real name can get more exposure for the online business. Do you agree?

    • Profile photo of Sunday William Profile

      Hey Husni,
      Yes, using a real names in blogging helps to build brand and authority.

      However, some other persons have been successful using pen names to build same brand and authority as well.

      Its a matter of choice, and I sincerely think that the ultimate choice of what type of name to use will not matter as long as the blogger creates value in what is offered to appeal and attract followers!
      Sunday William recently posted…How Do You Know if that Content Is “Good Enough” For Publishing?My Profile

      • Profile photo of Kimsea Sok Profile


        I agree, the name isn’t a matter but the value of content offering. I’m current using pen name for my business, but I plan to create an other project using my real name. I don’t expect the brand reputation or authority, but the personal emotion. I’m thinking about get my name online and lets all people in my country know myself. I want to see my with my photo as cover page in university library. I cannot think about my intentional when I have that time.
        Kimsea Sok recently posted…KLEO – A Flexible Premium WordPress Theme for Every BusinessMy Profile

        • Profile photo of Sunday William Profile

          Hey Kimsea,

          Its seems you have a huge plan ahead. Good luck with that!

          Like I have said in some of the comments, whether you are using pen name or real name, it is of necessity to bring value to the table.

          It is after you have done this will you begin to reap the benefit of the nomenclature you have used online!

  • Profile photo of Husni Ahamed Profile

    Yeah Sunday your point if view also correct it doesn’t matter for sometimes for blogger because for an example is created by Brain Deen but he didn’t use his real name for his website, it is a good authority site so far now with higher rank he is one of my personal idol. According to this example I think it doesn’t for high quality blogger😀

  • Profile photo of steven Profile

    Hey Sunday,
    The use of pen names over real names for business is relative. What inspires one person to use a pen name may not be same for another writer.

    Hence, the list of the various reasons for using pen names is authenticated by the above fact.

    I completely agree with you that brand’s success should be a function of the either the real or pen used. Therefore, care should be taken when selecting a pen name!

  • Profile photo of Amit Sharan Profile

    Bloggers should use pen names instead of real names if that will help them gain authority and increase commercial worth.

    Truth be said, some real names are not marketable, hence the use of pen names becomes justified.

    At least, for the reasons stated in this post, bloggers whose real names are not marketable should start having rethink of whether to use pen names or not!

    I am purely in support of pen names if they have commercial value!

  • Profile photo of Maketta Profile

    Hello Sunday,

    I prefer using my real name. It’s a lot easier when you are trying to do business online. I think people also like to know that they are dealing with a real person and using your real name helps.
    Maketta recently posted…7 Crucial Social Media Do’s and Don’ts for BusinessesMy Profile

  • Profile photo of Carl Profile

    Its a matter of choice. Some bloggers would prefer to use pen names instead of their real names. However, I agree with @steven73 that what inspires one blogger to use a name would be different from what inspires others!

  • Profile photo of Celine Profile

    Hi Sunday,

    I believe that bloggers should use Pen Names by choice. I want to agree with some of the comments in this post that states that whatever name is used the blogger must be able to build a brand and authority around it!

  • Profile photo of James Ling Profile

    For me, using a real name is the way to go. My reason is that, real names easily helps to build trust.

    Many people would not be comfortable doing business with people that using pen names online. It will sound “phoney” to many!

  • Profile photo of Black Profile

    Yes, bloggers should use pen names to promote their brand. Real names are good to build authority but pen names provides a certain level of privacy for the blogger!

  • Profile photo of redtiger Profile

    Hi Sunday

    Your posts and questions are usually so good they bring out the quote in me.

    This time I think I’ll invite Shakespeare into the conversation. He wrote:

    “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
    By any other name would smell as sweet.”

    Maybe it is not quite the intention of the Internet marketer to smell sweet. However it is of vital importance that his or her content makes sweet music that will attract the buyer.

    Jokes and quotes aside, which is best? I would say a real name is best.

    Look at the really successful marketers. They have the confidence to use their own names and pictures and that is how we get to know and trust them.

    There is something to say for a pen name that rolls easily off the tongue and has a mysterious ring to it. If you can build your website identity around that pen name then go for it. It can help to build your brand. However I think it is powerful to be your own brand.

    All in all I think a real name has much more impact.

    Thanks for asking.
    redtiger recently posted…Be a follower to become a leaderMy Profile

    • Profile photo of Sunday William Profile

      Hey redtiger,

      Yes, real name has more impact on branding than pen name. I also agree with you that there is some mystery around the use of pen names. Most people will not be comfortable with mysterious names.

      Trust and acceptance comes into play with the people we know, hence real names increases the chances of these virtues.

      Thanks for taking time to comment on this discussion and for giving us a most relevant quote:

      “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
      By any other name would smell as sweet.”
      Sunday William recently posted…Why Is It Difficult For Newbies To Make Money Online?My Profile

  • Profile photo of Barbara George Profile

    Hello Sunday,

    I use my real name to blog and even in my domain name. I also use my real picture, have no problem with that.

    I use my real name and share what my ideas on fashion, beauty, home and travel

    I guess it’s okay to use a pen name too, and the reasons you gave are topnotch.
    Barbara George recently posted…Lately On InstagramMy Profile

  • Profile photo of Sarah John Profile

    Hi Sunday,

    I prefer using real names. It makes the business more authentic and authoritative. Building a business around a real name gives the owner a sense of accountability!

    Pen names ,for me, should be the exclusivity of fiction writers 😉

  • Profile photo of Winford Moore Profile

    Bloggers should use pen names if they so desired. I don’t really see a big deal about this. What it is a name anyway?

    I really think what matters is the value placed on the service delivered.

    In other words, the chosen name should complement pure value provided by the brand!

    The brand should define the name!

  • Profile photo of Paul Profile

    For me, its real name instead of pen name! The reason for this is that the real name makes me more credible and responsible.

    Surely, a lot of people would feel more comfortable doing business with a brand that has real name appended to it!

  • Profile photo of David Profile

    Hi Sunday.

    I’ll weigh in here. I use my own name. I am known as David Leonhardt. But if you search Google for my name, I’ll be hard to find … even though you would think my name is somewhat unique. I see my LinkedIn profile at #6 (but #4 on Bing!).

    Since I first got online almost a decade and a half ago, a New York Times writer made waves on what was obviously a much bigger platform than mine. He went on to win Pulitzer prize. I’ve tried doing something bigger, but the Nobel organization won’t return my calls.

    On social media, I do have a bit of a pen name. I am @Amabaie wherever they’ll let me use a pen name. And while nobody can pronounce it and it give me a mysterious image (oh, yeah!), the main benefit is that nobody else claims an account with that user name before I get there. Except on Skype. Grrr.
    David recently posted…Three ways to write for the WebMy Profile

    • Profile photo of Sunday William Profile

      Hey David,

      Thanks for weighing into this discussion! There is a place for real name and there is a place for pen name. Both can be used depending on the context.

      You just shared your personal experiences on why you use pen names on social media. This should be revealing to many bloggers.

      My takeaways from your comments here are:
      – Most real names are overshadowed by popularity
      – Names shrouded in mystery and that have difficult pronunciation can still provide uniqueness for the user.
      Sunday William recently posted…Are You Making Sales With Webinars?My Profile

  • Profile photo of Dennis Seymour Profile

    Pen names are ok, as long as it’s still you. I made a mistake of writing as somebody else in the past. I didnt use my face nor at least my first name.

    I paid the price for it and ended up a waste of time.

    Remember, it’s about the brand you are building. If you wont be able to use that name in the future, then dont use that pen name.
    Dennis Seymour recently posted…The 2 Sides of Guest Posting: I’m on the “It Works” Side, How About You?My Profile

  • Profile photo of Yan Yan Chan Profile

    Hi Sunday,

    I have always used my real name from the start and haven’t had any cause to regret.

    I like to keep things real :)
    Yan Yan Chan recently posted…Half Moon bay.My Profile

  • Profile photo of Dave Profile

    Hello Sunday,

    If a blogger wants to be personal and share personal experiences on his blog, it will work better with a real name, rather than pen name.

    There are a lot more popular bloggers who use their real names than those who use pen names, I think.

  • Profile photo of Leonardo "List Legend" LaVito Profile

    It depends…

    If you were born with a good name (marketing wise), then use your real name.

    If you were born with a not so good name (marketing wise), then use a pen name.

    However, one of the biggest myths in marketing is that the name doesn’t matter. In reality, the name matters much more than most people think.

    The name is the first contact point between you and your customer. It literally changes your customer’s perception at the first touch.

    And in marketing, perception is reality.

    A lot of people believe that using your real name as a blogger adds authenticity.

    But the reality is that… how would you know whether someone’s name is real or a pen name unless you looked at their passport? A lot of famous celebrities who are apparently using their real name, are in fact using stage names. And no one is the wiser.

    Other than that, there’s a good video on YouTube by world authority on marketing and branding, Al Ries on “The Power Of The Name”, where he goes into several examples of the difference between a good name and a bad name, and the devastating effects it can have on your market share.

    The name is so important in fact, that in one of his books I believe, he mentions that the fifth “P” of marketing should be having a “Proper Name”.
    Leonardo “List Legend” LaVito recently posted…10 Insane List Building Secrets I Discovered While “Comment Hacking” Neil Patel’s BlogMy Profile

    • Profile photo of Sunday William Profile

      Hi Leonardo,

      That was so revealing! You just added fresh insights to this discussion:

      – Name matters and “

      The name is the first contact point between you and your customer. It literally changes your customer’s perception at the first touch.

      Yes, ready example is when a person calls himself “snake” and and calls himself “John”. We can easily have perception on these names, right?

      – Every name should not be taken on face value, because

      how would you know whether someone’s name is real or a pen name unless you looked at their passport?

      This is interesting!

      I will checkout the video by Al Ries and thanks for leaving this valuable comment!
      Sunday William recently posted…Are You Making Sales With Webinars?My Profile

  • Profile photo of Norma Profile

    I think if you are blogging or writing for money as a freelancer, you shouldn’t use your real name.

    This is because you don’t know what they will do with what you have written.

    You know such content won’t be under your control once you submit to the buyers.

    What if they sell the content to someone else shady or use it on shady sites?

  • Profile photo of Robert A Kearse Profile

    Hi Sunday:

    Here are a couple of generic situations where it would be appropriate to use pen names for Internet content.

    -1- Link Bait Content

    -2- Humorous or satirical content

    LINK BAIT content is often of a provocative or controversial nature (guaranteed to offend a certain percentage of the audience).

    In such cases it makes strategic sense to use a pen name so as to protect your existing brand name.

    SATIRE, when done well, will frequently go viral with monumental social shares and very widespread distribution.

    But, as with most humor, some will get their feelings hurt and the resulting alienation will not be good in a marketing context.

    Using a pen name enables you to be somewhat outrageous (make it in good taste) and link to desired content or resources with little risk.

    Plus, using a pen name frees you up to experiment in the two genres above and perfect your technique.

    It pays to be versatile in the Internet marketing environment so using a pen name should be part of everyone’s marketing arsenal.
    Robert A Kearse recently posted…

    Top 101 Blog Directories And RSS
    Submission Sites – Weekly Update #240
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    • Profile photo of Sunday William Profile

      Hi Robert,

      Thanks for revealing two genres where the use of pen names can be perfected – in link bait and in satirical content. I also agree with the explanations you have given on each of these.

      Surely, it pays to be versatile in the Internet marketing environment. The use of pen names should be made to stand alone or complement the use of real names when necessary.

      Your contribution is quite helpful!
      Sunday William recently posted…4 Reasons why is a Boon for BloggersMy Profile

  • Profile photo of darrellantonio Profile

    Hello Sunday:
    Great post: I think it’s a person’s option rather to use pen name or real name.
    I can understand a person using a pen name if their real name is very unusual or it’s hard to pronounce

    .I also think it can be an asset if you are writing those erotic novels to set the mood.
    But personally I will always be authentic and use my real name and brand. Thanks for sharing this unique and informative post .
    darrellantonio recently posted…Video Testimonials…………………It’s a NO BRAINERMy Profile

    • Profile photo of Sunday William Profile

      Hey Darrellantonio,

      Indeed, it is matter of option when it comes to whether to use a pen name or real name.

      For easy pronunciation and branding one can use a pen or real name respectively. Thanks for leaving your thought on this!

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