One of my personal blogging pet peeves is the act of people leaving comments but refusing to put any semblance of a real name in the name field.

By replacing your name with a phrase like how to make money online, it tells blog authors that you are a spammer even if you’re not.  Your comment can be 100% custom and completely relevant to the conversation but you will make your self look like either a spammer, a wannabe, or a someone who is brand new to the online world.

It tells blog authors that you are attempting to use the comment section of their article to drive people to your website so that you can make money online.

I’m letting you all know about this pet peeve for several reasons.

  1. Your comments will be deleted. I’m seldom going to publish your comment if there isn’t some form of a name attached to it.  If you really want to get your keyword in the name link then I don’t mind if you use something like Nick Cardot from Site Sketch 101.
  2. Your comments will destroy your credibility. You’re going to begin building your credibility throughout the internet as you present yourself as a real person with legitimate value to add to conversations.
  3. Your comments will make you appear less professional. I was just watching an old episode of Saturday Night Live and Ludacris was hosting the episode. During his opening monologue he made it clear that when he meets a girls parents or when he walks into a bank he doesn’t introduce himself as Ludacris.  He uses his real name.

Group Reflection

Professional bloggers don’t use keywords as their name on their blogs.  They present themselves as real people, as professionals, as experts. Are you doing the same?

P.S. As an added note, it would be worth your time to stop by and set up an avatar to go with your comments.  It will show up on tons of blogs across the internet and it’s a great visual to help people remember you.

Nicholas Cardot

About Nicholas Cardot

It's my personal quest to enable every person that I can to unlock that dormant potential concerning their online influence. Also, I'm a geek.


  • Eric B. says:

    Whenever I’m deciding whether or not to approve a comment, the first thing I look at is the name. If it’s something like “Make Money Online” or anything even close to something remotely spammy sounding, and the comment text doesn’t make up for it, I simply delete that comment.

    Another thing that’s important to check is their website URL. I usually take a look at that as well, and that usually helps to decide if a comment is spam or not.

    Maybe I’m a little to strict about comments on my blog.
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: How to Create a Web Design Portfolio Page in WordPress: Part 2 =-.

    • Eric B. » And for me, the comment text has to be really good to make up for it. On topic isn’t enough. It will have to be a good question or a paragraph or two of comment. A simple “Great post” won’t cut it.

  • Gordie says:

    I can’t agree more. This is also a pet peeve of mine. I’m surprised it happens as much as it does. Thankfully Akismet seems to do a pretty good of job of filtering these dudes out.
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: How To Turn Cooking Into Lifestyle Design Cuisine. =-.

  • Eric says:

    I have the same feelings here. If you comment and don’t leave your real name it makes you seem to be someone other than who you’re trying to be. You’re you. Show that. Be yourself and embrace it. Don’t try and pull yourself off as someone else because in the end it’s just not worth it.
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: Taking Action Is Something We All Do Yet We All Overlook Every Day =-.

  • I would have to agree! I have always used ‘Tom –’ which is passable, because I use it with my Gravatar to brand my blog – not for SEO. But I get countless comments with keywords as names and I just think – “Find someone with the KeywordLuv comment!”
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: Want To Access Over 190 Internet Marketing Resources FREE? =-.

    • Tom – » I think that same thing. If you were going to consider doing it for both branding and SEO you might consider something like Tom – The Stand Out Blogger but I do like the way that you do it also.

    • Derek Jensen says:

      It seems that putting your first name or nickname and then your blog seems to becoming popular now.

      I feel that you should say your full name in the comments because your blog is you. And from listening to Gary Vaynerchuk’s speeches, you will get farther if you brand yourself.

      For instance, Tom, what if you decide one day you want to leave ‘’?

      • Derek Jensen » I agree. The keyword at the end of the name is definitely the second best way to interact. Using a real name is the best way to go. And you’re question to Tom is the perfect question to make that point.

  • Agree! Credibility easier to be had if other know who we are (include our name here).
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: Adding Social Networking Links to Blog =-.

  • It’s the same reason why the gravatar or Twitter avatar you choose should be an accurate representation of yourself – use your real face!

    No matter if I know there’s someone real behind a graphic, it always feels less personal staring at someone’s logo when talking to them. You can always do both and put a small blog logo Twibbon-like on your avatars. This at least shows you’re looking to be a real human being.
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: The Greatest Advice You’ll Never Get =-.

    • Make NO Money Online » I agree that real pictures are definitely the most effective. If you talk to my wife, she’ll tell you that I hate talking on the phone. I always prefer face to face meetings. I like to be able to look the person in their eyes and tell them what I have to say. This even goes for getting yelled at at work. I want to see my boss face to face if I made a mistake. I feel the same online. I like to get as close to that face to face meeting as possible.

  • Deepika says:

    Leaving comments with real name shows our online presence and identity..

    In my blog, i use akismet this helps me to find spam comments and also i will see the blog of every person who comment on mine…
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: How To Setup Feedburner For Your Blog =-.

  • Ron Leyba says:

    I definitely can relate to this post Nick.

    What about those names with keyword on it such as:


    What’s your opinion about it? Its like half name and half keyword
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: Sikat Ang Pinoy =-.

  • That is kind of what I am doing on your blog, right?

    I am not professional and I admit it, but I realize that I should make people at least know my real name, so one day when I become a pro (and I hopefully will) a significant group of people would already know me right?

    I should definitely consider this gravatar option. Each of your posts makes me move, take action, there is some positive vibe for me on this blog, so I keep coming and consuming useful stuff.

    Thanks Nicholas
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: Niche/money making ebook #9 – Backyard Idead For Fun And Frolic =-.

    • Davor Gasparevic @ Cheap internet marketing ebooks blog » You’re welcome. It’s great that you’re considering getting an avatar. Either use a picture of yourself or something that is very unique and will be easy for us to associate with your name and brand.

      Someday you’ll be a pro…especially if you keep reading Site Sketch 101. 😉

  • Ryhen Satch says:

    “If you really want to get your keyword in the name link then I don’t mind if you use something like Nick Cardot from Site Sketch 101.”

    This is something that I’ve been planning to do lately. Usually, I just comment on blogs that I really like and one’s that are owned by friends and I never attempt to use a brand name or any keyword for that matter. So far, it enabled me to establish good blogging relationships. Since this time, I’m going to explore websites within my niche, I need a way to appear somewhat “credible” so as not to give the impression that I’m just after the link. This is definitely a nice approach.

    Have a great year ahead, Nick!
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: How To Reclaim Your Mind’s Power =-.

    • Ryhen Satch » You have a great year also. There is nothing wrong with not using a keyword at all. A name is great all by itself for branding. Some people just use keywords to build inbound links to build their page rank and their Google listings.

  • I always use my name… Why would you want to comment on something with some fake name anyway? Spam is about as sexy as a ton of trash which hasn’t been picked up in a month.

    If you are going to be part of a community than you should let them know who you are.
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: Social Media to Save the NHL (Last installment a bit late) =-.

    • Jamei Favreau » That’s a perfect analogy. And even if the comment itself is somewhat good then it’s like pouring some cologne in dumpster. That dumpster isn’t going to smell good. It’s just going to smell like trash coated in cologne.

  • People always thought that my first name was a pseudo or something like that, especially on French websites, that’s when I stopped using it. Sometimes its hard to have a name that’s difficult to pronounce, people also see it as spam as it sounds foreign.
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: Put a primer coat to your CSS. =-.

    • Sachin @ Web Design Mauritius » That’s true. Foreign names often do sound spammy but that’s because most spammers use names that look like words that native English speakers are unfamiliar with.

  • Hear, hear! I agree 100%, and I’m always using my own name and only the name, unless the blog comment policy spesifically asks for @keywords type of addition (e.g. KeywordLuv plugin in use). Otherwise, even adding the “@ whatever” after your name shows you’re not on the top of your game. I see many of them on this thread too, which goes on to prove the point.

    If you’re leaving comments for links, you wasting your time, and squeezing in that keyword doesn’t do you any good, so might as well leave it off. If you do use “@ something”, make it your URL, e.g. “@”, like Tom did above. And if comment policy in some blog says you shouldn’t do that, don’t. You’ll end up in the spam queue, reported to AKismet, and soon you’re a spammer in all the blogs.

    p.s. I couldn’t help but smile at Jordan’s “name” (= Make NO Money Online). I guess that’s an exception and special for this particular post 🙂
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: Getting Started with Writing and Marketing eBooks =-.

    • Antti Kokkonen » LOL. I liked that name too. You’re actually right. Although the links that we get from using keywords in our comments are good, the links that we get from creating content that is so valuable that others organically link to your stuff is actually much better. But then again, that’s seems to be the road less taken.

  • Keith says:

    I use my first name unless keyword love is installed then of course I throw in a couple for the link (that is why I installed it on my blog too, encourages a name then the keywords).

    I once read an article by Darren Rouse about using your name for Twitter too, I have my first initial and last name, but before that article I was “thefencepost” (was a fence contractor then) and I commented using that nickname. Darren convinced me it wasn’t personal…..
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: Are You Getting Things Done? =-.

  • scheng1 says:

    Probably the only thing worse than not leaving name is to use other people’s name.
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: What is blogging? =-.

  • I could understand why people might not necessarily want to use their real name, but they could at least come up with a pen name because you are right – it just makes people look spammy. I’ve been having a hard time with some comments lately just looking spammy but not sure. In the end I just deleted them. If they weren’t a spammer then they just lost out by having a spammy ‘name’.
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: 10 Ways to Measure Your Past and Future Success =-.

    • Ruth – Web Career Girl » I agree completely. It’s better to use a nice pen name than to use a spam sounding keyword. I feel like many people are missing out because they sound like they are just a spammer. You’re right.

  • Kyle says:

    I still can’t figure out why I get so many Spam comments on my blog when WordPress has nofollow links by default now. It seems like a big waste of time to me.

    I agree that Gravatar is an excellent way to increase your credibility and make your comments stand out.
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: Using Filters in Google Analytics to Ensure Accurate Data =-.

    • Kyle » Use Akismet. I’ve become convinced that Spammers don’t pay attention to nofollow because I’ve gotten the same amount of spam comments before and after my switch to dofollow links. I recommend that you switch to dofollow links and just let Akismet do it’s job. That’s what I do and I love the results. I highly recommend it.

  • Maria says:

    I deleted 5 spam comments for this very reason. You would think that spending so much time on the net, people would have realised by now that by not using your own name will get you nowhere. Great post, hope to read more soon.

    • Maria » I hope that you read more soon also. I’m glad you stopped by. You bring up a good point. You would think that people would know to use their real names. It just makes sense if you been on the internet for a while.

  • Glen says:

    I do use a real name on my comments.

    And I did try to change my gravatar to show my real face. For some reason it didn’t work..

    I do have a photo on my site. Not perfect but at least it is me.

    Having a real photo is better in the long run anyways. Especially if you ever plan to do videos on your site.
    Better to scare people with your face in your gravatar that have them terrified when they see you in a video on your site, ha,ha..

  • Well, I guess I’m guilty to the letter of law as described. 😉

    However, I do add my real name to the bottom of most of my comments. Hopefully by sharing my HelpfulAdvisor moniker as more of an alter-ego, it wouldn’t be seen as spammy.

    In any case, I don’t hide who I am, but rather, prefer to convey what I’m about via my moniker.

    Perhaps modifying a bit to Jay – HelpfulAdvisor may be the way to go. Thoughts?

    .-= My Latest Blog Post: A Holiday Message From the Heart =-.

  • I definitely agree with everyone that using your real name is incredibly important for a lot of reasons, especially as it relates to spammers, etc..

    But, we shouldn’t overlook one very valid reason for not using your real name – Avoiding problems with your employer.

    I use my real name, but I constantly consider changing it to something more anonymous. For many of us, blogging is is not our full time job, and our responsibilities to family, mortgages, etc., are far more important than our credibility on the tubes. If someone thinks their employer might frown on their activities, then obviously using an anonymous name is the way to go.

    Of course, than can be accomplished without a spammy name. 😉
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: 3 New Years Resolutions You And Your Computer Will Be Thankful For =-.

  • Great article Nick. I totally agree with you on all of the points. Also is a must:)(to anyone who doesn’t have it)
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: Space/Fantasy Wallpaper Set 18 =-.

    • Ben l Awesome Wallpapers » I completely agree. There are so many sites that now support gravatars that it is an absolutely must, as you say, to anyone trying to build a solid online presence.

  • Ed says:

    My real name is Ed but I’m not sure how to use the gravatars? Where do I begin?
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: Happy New Year! =-.

  • dewi says:

    Thank you for the information you provide through this article, interesting and good content makes me want to visit your other articles.
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: Online Day Trading For a Living – Making it Possible =-.

  • Will Fowler says:

    I rarely have trouble with spam comments because of akismet. Certainly its difficult to have meaningful dialogue with someone who won’t be honest enough to share their name. Thesis is the only theme worth considering if your serious about SEO on wordpress.

    • Will Fowler » I agree with you about spam but I have to disagree with you about Thesis. It is an excellent template but you certainly don’t need an SEO optimized template anymore now that we have HeadSpace 2. It’s the ultimate SEO plugin for WordPress.

      The downside to having Thesis is that by owning a very popular template your site will resemble many others. I highly recommend that you look around until you find a theme that really matches who you are and what you’re working to represent online. The SEO can come easy with the right plugin.

      • Will Fowler says:

        Thesis can be made to look like whatever you want its a very flexible design platform I used almost exclusively Joomla till the Thesis framework. For me its not just a theme but a framework. I have run side by side comparisons in the same niche and it consistently outperforms joomla in serps. My favorite part is its ability to separate extra “design” code and not show it to spiders.

        I’m intrigued in your plugin and will check it out, but as a full time SEO thesis is one of my deadliest weapons pound for pound. By the by what happened to baptist muse it was sending me some visitors.

      • Don Gilbert says:

        I am going to have to go with Will on this one Nicholas, just because you have Thesis does NOT mean that your site is going to look like everyone else that has it as well. Just Google and see what it looks like. Guess what – powered by Thesis. Also, Google and look at the Blog section – also powered by Thesis. (All sites that I designed BTW. 😛 )

        Now, I do agree with you that MANY people don’t bother to take the time to customize it as they should, and many Thesis users DO look the same. But there is NO template or framework that is as powerful for SEO as Thesis.
        .-= My Latest Blog Post: Why Your Small Business Can’t Ignore Social Media Any Longer =-.

        • Don Gilbert » I concede that it is a tremendous template and if you’re an advanced designer you really can customize it into something amazing. You are a perfect example of that. However, many new bloggers wanting to achieve great SEO results and get the experience of having a unique thing can do so through other means as well. I think that most people fail to fully customize their thesis themes because they’re not advanced enough or creative enough.

          One of my favorite upcoming blogs is blogussion. They use the Thesis theme and they do a terrific job but it’s also obvious that they use Photoshop to make it look amazing. Many users can’t do that.

          Thesis is an amazing theme. I’m certainly don’t mean to put it down. However, I think that many people can achieve solid results through other means…like Site Sketch 101. 😉

          • Don Gilbert says:

            Yeah – great point there – most people like results without work. (Classic American mindset) Thanks for the compliments *blush.*

            I am actually really impressed by Headspace2 – I am going to try it out in conjunction with Thesis and watch the PR roll in. 😛

            Anyways – back on post topic – I finally talked Will into getting his Gravatar today – so I think that he is well on his way to not being marked as spam. (I will also reprimand him for hijacking your comment thread. ha)
            .-= My Latest Blog Post: Why Your Small Business Can’t Ignore Social Media Any Longer =-.

            • Don Gilbert » Ahhh. I’m putting the picture together now. You an Will work together. I saw that on your website. I’m glad that we’ve connected together on here. I also noticed that you all use Joomla for your primary site. I used to use Joomla a lot. I like their framework.

              • Don Gilbert says:

                Cool. We used to use Joomla! exclusively, but then we had to put a blog site together for Reformers Unanimous. We ventured into WordPress and have been impressed with it ever since. I just can’t believe how much better/easier/faster it is than Joomla!.

                We have been working on the SEO for (which is Joomla!) for a while, and it is a PR 2. Pretty good I think. However, once we started the Blog, it jumped to a PR 3 in only 2 months!

                We use Thesis for the template framework on our blog – that’s why we are so convinced of its great capacity for SEO.

                One other thing – you never answered Will’s question – what ever happened to Baptist Muse? If you need/want some help reviving it or even moderating it, we are willing to help. It was a great resource.
                .-= My Latest Blog Post: Great Resource for New and Seasoned Bloggers =-.

  • sernan says:

    i totally agree here, why would you use a fake name when its so nice to see or hear your name when someone is calling/writing or talking to you… “like my mom used to say”… your name is the sweetest words you can hear..” 🙂 or something like that…
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: Darksiders – The Game =-.

  • I think many folks don’t realize the importance of creating their brand identity. It’s an uphill climb with no face or name behind your site/comments.
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: Get the most out of your time with The Value-Driven Commenting System =-.

  • Lee Ka Hoong says:

    I used keyword name in the past when I left my comment, I noticed that most of the time I got pissed off, no response from the blog owner or so. It was because I didn’t know about branding when I first started online.

    I’ve been using my real name and real gravatar to leave comment, that definitely helps to build our brand.

    Nick, I suggest you to use this plugin “Lucia’s Link Love”, it only follows commentator’s link who has dropped enough comment on your blog (says 10 comments and their link will be followed). So for those who lands your blog and leave a comment to get a backlink, they won’t be getting dofollow link. Also, people who uses long name in the comment (says more than 20 alphabets), their link won’t be followed too.

    Just my 2 cents about the plugin since I’ve been using it for quite some times and I found it useful.


    • Lee Ka Hoong » It’s good that you use your real name and a gravatar. It makes it much easier for us to respond to you. I don’t necessarily like the idea of that plugin because I want people to know that I appreciate their very first comment because I do.

  • I definitely agree that while many of these people aren’t trying to be spammers, they come off looking like ones. Remember that there’s a lot of old info on the ‘net still lingering, and you can find plenty of articles and posts that say, “Use a keyword for your comments!”

    So, many of these people think they’re doing the right thing. Some are just being jerks, of course, but let’s give the majority the benefit of the doubt. (Because we’re nice like that, eh?)

    I also email the people directly and say, “Hey, great comment, but here’s a better way to leave one that really works hard for you,” and I give them pointers. Makes me feel nicer.

    Oh, and here’s my rant/post on keyword commentators:

    • James Chartrand – Men with Pens » I agree. I think that a lot people do it to simply promote their brand not realizing that they are actually shooting themselves in the foot by doing it. I think it’s cool that you email them. That’s actually a cool idea.

  • Adrian Scott says:

    I agree 100%, How can you build personal brand loyalty when no one know who you are. Including your name is a great way to establish name recognition not only with to blog owners, but with other commentors as well.

  • Thank you Nicholas for your great advice. I took note of each point you mentioned here. Also add one more thing in this post – Dont add things like thank you, your post is good, etc as the bloggers will find these sort of comments as spam. Don’t consider my comment as spam.
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: Propane Gauge Guide =-.

  • Dave Doolin says:

    Great timing for an RT on this, Nick.

    At one point I had intention of building out my current brand with a business avatar with intent to sell the entire site, lock stock and barrel.

    Then I started having too much fun.

    Then a few other things started moving around in circles we frequent, and I decided perhaps I should retire the business avatar. Which turned out to be easy because I never attempted to hide behind it.
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: World Class Copywriting: Are there Bird droppings on your catapult? =-.

  • […] So please, join us, comment, and help build an SEO community. For more info on this, please see my friend Nicholas Cardot over at SiteSketch101 and his article on Real Names Build Credibility. […]

  • First of all thanks for the wonderful post. Next I just want to know if you have any more information about the topic because I really want to collaborate more with you. As another owner of a website/blog I do feel I have a lot of stuff to collaborate with. Please reply if you can. Thanks again!

  • Alex says:

    In my opinion, now you wouldn’t get any traffic from comments if you will use keywords. Better to provide cool comment and some interested people will definitely click on your link.

  • […] Use a Real Name: You’re going to begin building your credibility throughout the internet as you present yourself as a real person with legitimate value to add to conversations. For more on this see Comments with Real Names Build Credibility. […]

  • advance says:

    I get pleasure from, result in I found exactly what I used to be looking for. You have ended my 4 day lengthy hunt! God Bless you man. Have a great day. Bye

Leave a Reply