Wondering if you should use your real name for your website?
I was too. I registered benjaminmcevoy.com in 2013. But the first post wouldn’t appear until 2016. Just a few months ago.
So what changed my mind? And what took me so long?
I’m gonna lay out my reasoning here and tell you the two reasons why you should use your real name for your domain name. So if you don’t know if you should use your real name for your website or not, this might just sway you.
Why you should use your real name for your website
How many times have you typed a query into Google or Bing (lol yeah right), found a website, read the content, and then thought…
I have no idea WHO THE HELL this writer is?
If you’re like most people, that thought probably hasn’t occurred to you as often as it should.
Heck, until very recently I didn’t find myself questioning the sources of info very much either. If it sounded credible that was usually enough for me.
But I first started questioning sources because of the increasingly obvious dishonesty of the mainstream media. I’ve seen too many news items that have turned out to be false now.
Journalistic integrity, if not already dead, is on its last legs.
So I got thinking. If journalists are happy to go on air with their misinformation and show their faces, why are we blindly trusting the faceless personalities we find online?
We could get real in depth here. But to keep it short, faceless doesn’t actually mean untrustworthy. In fact, the reason why so many people are faceless and nameless, hiding behind their screens, is because they feel they can actually tell the truth without consequence.
We’ve got a world where people are getting fired because of stuff they’ve posted on Twitter. Stuff they believed to be true and right. People see an injustice in the world, write about it, and then, oops, someone doesn’t like that. Fired!
A lot of people would have you believe that this behaviour is a new phenomenon. People being afraid to speak their minds. People suffering the consequences of shit they’ve said. But really it’s as old as time. It’s just magnified because our tribe has gotten bigger.
Anyways, as far as I can see, this is how things are at the moment:
- *Common* Faceless & Nameless = telling stuff how it is but scared to own their words
- *Common* Faceless & Nameless = trolling/hating/talking crap
- *Common* Real Name & Face = watering down their message out of fear
- *Rare* Real Name & Face = telling stuff how it is AND owning their words
I don’t know about you but I know what category I’d rather be in.
Which leads me to my number one reason for using your real name on the internet…
“I only have two things in this world: my word and my balls. And I don’t break em for nobody.”
– Tony Montana
As well as being a super cool party guy and all round nice fella, Tony Montana was right when he spoke about integrity.
Integrity is the most important quality you can possess (that and a nice ass from lots of squats).
- You say what you mean and mean what you say
- You speak with conviction
- You keep your word
The good thing about being faceless is you can say what you want without fear.
The bad thing about being faceless is you can act without integrity, break promises, and shaft other people without fear.
When you put your face and name out there, it keeps your ethics sharp like a razor.
Personal example: I affiliate market products every so often. With my face and name attached to every recommendation, I will only ever suggest things that I have personally used and benefitted from. There’s no shady tactics (translation: outright lying) here. I recommend things that I have told my friends and family about. Case in point: The Wim Hof Method. Another case in point: my recommended supplement stack.
How do you know you can trust someone’s recommendation if they aren’t willing to put their face and name behind it?
Short answer: you can’t.
So aside from fear, what is the second biggest reason why people don’t use their real name on the internet?
“I contain multitudes”
– Walt Whitman
Another huge reason people don’t use their real name is because of branding confusion.
So-called “gurus” (yuck) will tell you that your site needs to focus on ONE THING.
- So if you wanna talk about fitness, you better have a fitness dedicated site…
- If you wanna talk about writing, you better have a writing dedicated site…
- If you wanna talk about travel, you better have a travel dedicated site…
So what happens is that a bunch of poor suckers who fall for this crap (me included) register a ton of separate niche sites with different “branded” domain names and become overwhelmed. How am I supposed to manage all of them?
Well, I gotta say this is idea is trash.
Listen to Whitman. You contain multitudes.
You aren’t just interested in ONE thing. How boring. You may be an expert in one area, but you sure as hell have other interests.
Take this website as an example. I’m a writer. That’s my main thing. But it’s not ALL I do. And it would be pretty limiting (and uninspiring) if that’s all this website focused on.
This website has stuff to help people with:
- Health and fitness
- Learning (languages mainly)
- And basically anything else I wanna talk about (seriously, I have an upcoming article about how to treat an ingrown toenail without surgery)
If I have a problem and find the solution, I’m gonna share it here. I don’t care that it’s “not my niche”.
The fact of the matter is that you are your own niche.
Broad niches are full to bursting these days.
Wanna start a travel blog? Good luck, there is a ton of competition.
Relationship advice blog? Ditto.
Fitness blog? Hahahahaha.
But what if you wanna start a blog about travelling (specifically to Japan), learning languages (specifically Japanese), writing (specifically fiction), marketing (specifically copywriting), and health and fitness (specifically how to stay in shape while travelling)? Well that’s the “niche” I’m building up here.
The world’s a big place. It’s filled with people who have as many varied interests as you. Being yourself is the new branding strategy.
Being an individual is your strength.
I talked about it in the first article I posted here. I basically said that people don’t wanna engage with companies. People wanna engage with other people. They wanna talk to friends. They wanna build relationships with people who like the same things.
So play to your strength.
Be an individual.
Keep your integrity.
Show your face.
Use your name.
Cornelius B. Lockhart III