Should Bloggers Use Pen Names Instead Of Real Names?



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?


  1. 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?

  2. 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😀

  3. 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!

  4. 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!

  5. 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!

  6. 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

  7. 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

    • 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

  8. 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

  9. 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.

  10. 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

  11. 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?

  12. 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…

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  13. 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

  14. Hi Sunday,

    I also don’t see anything wrong with using a pen name, unless one is using it for dubious or fraudulent purposes.

    If one is using it for the right reasons, like some that you mentioned, then it’s okay, I guess.

  15. Hi Sunday,

    I think you have to ask yourself why would you want to use a pen name?

    I understand that sometimes a certain name may not fit in with an audience.

    However you also want to ask yourself am I standing by the content I create or is it not up to par and I want to remain anonymous?

    If you are creating great content, I would think you’d want to use your real name as you are proud of the work you have done.

    Just my opinion…

    Have an awesome week my friend!


    • Hi John,

      I have to agree with you that the use of a real or pseudo name depends on what is to be achieved. If the reason is strong enough and aligns with the content success then a choice would be made.

      Great content producers or brands ensure that they use real names!

      Thanks joining this conversation. Have a great week as well!

  16. Ther have been a number of very successful bloggers and internet marketers who have operated under pen names. My opinion is that it is fine either way. After all, there is a belief that even Shakespeare was a pen name used by one of the Earls of Castle Hedingham topublish his works. It probably isn’t true, but there is ‘evidence’ that can support that claim.

    One of the benefits of using a pen name is that the blog or internet marketing business can be sold on as a going concern without any worry about what someone will do under your name.

    Right now, however I am using my real name in business.

    • Hey Mark,

      Its interesting to learn that ‘Shakespeare’ could be a pen name. If so, then it was highly successful. I agree with you that a number of highly successful bloggers and Internet marketers operate under a pen name. It is the result that counts!
      Whether real name or pen name, I am sure that the result will count at the end of the day!

  17. Hello Sunday,

    I can see the appeal both ways. Using your full name might gain more trust though? Especially with a real picture added to it. It seems more people are willing to trust someone if they known their name and can place their face to that name.

    This might differ for others though.

  18. Hi Sunday,

    I have always thought of a pen name as an alias of the person. If bloggers should use their real name or pen name I think it just depends like you said on the situation(niche).

    For me personally I think using a pen name is obviously safer in all situations if you don’t want people stalking you in today’s world especially.