When you are writing articles for the major content sites, you are given the opportunity to create a user name and more often than not, these names are official. They stick. There's no going back. It makes sense therefore to put a little thought into what your user name should be. And does that name cross borders with you? A name that you use at one site, should you use it at another?
Ask me and I'm going to say yes; you should create a user name that travels across the net with you. A name that people can follow wherever they go - from a content site, to your blog, to your website. It builds a reader/writer relationship and that's really important when you are marketing online, especially if you want repeat offenders...er...repeat customers.
Giving yourself a niche appropriate user name that is memorable is a great way to start that bonding process. Think about a brick and mortar business - one that you use repeatedly throughout the week. You begin to form a bond with the people that serve you. You can trust them because they have served you a hundred times before and more often than not, you've walked away happy.
Internet marketing poses a challenge. Potential customers can't see you and may never cross paths with you again so it's natural for them to feel cautious about you. Unless you can establish yourself as an authority on the matter, people will defer to a higher authority as is the case with the acne market - they'll go and see their Doctor.
By giving yourself a user name that relates to what you're promoting, you are telling people that this is your specialty.Having a website, a blog and being known in the forums or at content sites by a particular username...people will come to realize that you know your stuff.
On the other hand, if and when you decide to branch out and dip your toes into other niches, being known as PuppyLove just ain't gunna cut it when your decide to start marketing to the hair loss market...or the erectile dysfunction market...or the online business market.
We have two options then. Using our own name - which poses a security/privacy issue for some people - or using a pen name.
Consider this, you have your dog training name, your dog training site, your dog training blog and you write for ezine articles and squidoo under the user name PuppyLove. Then you find a great, high converting eBook at ClickBank about dating and you decide to start promoting that too. You go ahead and set up a blog, you write 20 articles and you spin them before submitting them to 10 different content sites. But when a savvy user decides to look you up online, they see that your name is associated with dog training and a big red light goes off - warning, warning, you're a fraud trying to cash in on somebody else's romantic misfortune.
This problem is solved by using a pen name. Having one pen name per niche is going to help your readers to connect with you and will establish as the authority within that niche without ever compromising your privacy.
Wherever possible, use keyword rich or relevant names that will boost your status with the search engines.
Make sure you are comfortable with your user name, they are unchanging...and you don't want to change them either. I must be able to rattle off around fifty different user names from one content site I use. Each name brings back memories of the last time our paths crossed; the last comment they made in the forum or at the bottom of my article. User names stick. Use that to your advantage.
So what are the rules?
Names that are slightly unusual trigger a curiosity among readers as well as being memorable.
Names should be niche (or even better, micro-niche) relevant
Names should cross borders and help establish you as the almighty authority on the niche.