How to Protect Your Privacy as a Blogger

How to Protect Your Privacy as a Blogger

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Written by Casey Botticello

October 21, 2020

For most bloggers, a blog is a place where they can express themselves freely and openly, connect with like-minded individuals, and share their experiences or expertise.

However, in an ever-connected digital world, maintaining your online privacy can be very difficult. It is especially difficult to protect your privacy as a blogger.

The first step in protecting your privacy as a blogger, is to assess the level of privacy you want to maintain. It’s important to remember that there is no single optimal strategy. Guarding your privacy will vary based on the type of content you write, the focus of your blog, and the people in your life.

At one extreme is choosing to blog completely anonymously. You can set up your blog so that there is little or no trace of your website ownership. You can write under a pen-name and never post your real photo. You can even mask your IP address so that nobody can track your location.

At the other extreme, there are bloggers who share every minute detail with their readers. In many cases, these readers know more about a blogger than the people who have actually met the blogger in person. They post photos of their family, write under their real names, and may even share personal details such as their income, faith, or deeply personal experiences.

As with most things, the answer for your blog probably lies somewhere in the middle of these two extremes. But it’s important to consider what level of privacy you want. Because once you make something public online, it is virtually impossible to make it private again.

Some of the things you should consider in assessing the level of privacy that you want to achieve as a blogger:

  • Whether you are trying to build a personal brand;
  • If you feel comfortable sharing your personal and professional life;
  • Whether your friends and family may be comfortable being mentioned in your blog;
  • How transparent you want to be sharing earnings data from your blog or the topics you document;
  • Whether you want to create a publicly and likely permanently) viewable record of your thought, ideas, and experiences; and
  • How frequently you plan to post.

The most important thing is to anticipate and plan for your level of needed privacy. If you are unsure, err on the side of caution, and initially guard your privacy, using the tools described in this article.

“In an ever-connected digital world, maintaining your online privacy can be very difficult. It is especially difficult to protect your privacy as a blogger”.

Steps Bloggers Can Take to Protect Their Privacy

1. Domain Privacy

The domain name governing body ICANN requires all website owners to make their personal information publicly available. When you give your contact information to a domain registrar, it’s added to the public database; WHOIS. Anyone can look up your contact details if they search the WHOIS records using your domain name alone.

Domain registrars offer domain privacy through a service called WHOIS privacy protection. WHOIS privacy protection is a service to protect you from people finding your personal information in the WHOIS records. Buying into this will hide a domain registrant’s personal information from public view to keep it private.

Domain privacy offers:

  • Protection from endless spam and phishing attempts
  • Anonymity from rival websites, stalkers, and prying eyes
  • Increased security from cyber-attacks

If you already have a domain, you should be able to buy domain privacy from your domain registration company. If you are looking to set up your blog or add domain privacy, I would recommend Namecheap. One of the great features of Namecheap is that they include lifetime domain privacy for free with any domain. Normally this would cost $7-$12 per year with a registrar like GoDaddy.

2. Use a VPN

 A virtual private network (VPN) gives you online privacy and anonymity by creating a private network from a public internet connection. VPNs mask your internet protocol (IP) address so your online actions are virtually untraceable. Most important, VPN services establish secure and encrypted connections to provide greater privacy than even a secured Wi-Fi hotspot.

I’ve used ExpressVPN for years and have never had an issue with their service, so it’s my go to recommendation for bloggers. However, there are many options.Whatever you do, do not rely upon a free VPN.

Free VPN providers need to cover costs and turn a profit. Instead, they generate revenue from their customers using hidden tools and tricks. Using a free VPN could actually make you less safe online, cost you more than you know, and ruin your entire internet experience.

3. Limit Revealing Personal Information

If you choose to reveal any of your personal information online, make sure that you keep it to the absolute minimum.

This caution should extend to you sharing information about others, such as your children, spouse, partner, employees, or coworkers.

If you share personal accounts or stories, you can always alter the details slightly (or carefully omit them), so that someone reading your blog cannot use this information to harass you.

One of the most common ways that bloggers leak personal information is by linking their personal social media accounts to their blogs. While sharing your life on social media can help establish trust with readers, it can also put you in danger.

Even the smallest of details about your life can compromise your privacy.

4. Use a P.O. Box

If you use email marketing, then it’s smart to have a mailing address that’s separate from where you live. You don’t want your home address being broadcast to each and every person who subscribes to your newsletter. Check with your local post office about opening a PO box there, or use a service like VirtualPostMail to scan your mail for you.

5. Create a New Email Address

There are many uses for a second email address, but ensuring personal online privacy is perhaps one of the best applications.

If you are a blogger, you will likely want to allow readers, journalists, or potential business partners to contact you. However, if you post your personal email on your blog, you will likely be inundated with spam messages and in some cases, unwanted messages.

Creating a second email account is very easy, and can be done for free using Gmail, Yahoo, and other email providers.

6. Use a Burner Phone or Second Phone Number

Using a “burner phone” or establishing a second phone number can be a great way to protect your privacy as a blogger.

As a blogger, you will likely need to use your phone for two-factor authentication for your blog, email address, and various apps and digital tools.

7. Moderate Comments

When blogs get popular, the main issue becomes grappling with feedback. Most blogs have a comment section where visitors are free to leave their opinions. Unfortunately, the comment section can also be misused by people with malicious intent. Since it is possible to leave links in this section, a number of fraudulent links might be left in your pages and thus pose a risk for you and your readers. You should always moderate the comment section so that you can protect yourself and your audience.

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7 Useful Tips to Help Remote Workers Cope

7 Useful Tips to Help Remote Workers Cope

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Written by Casey Botticello

September 23, 2020

Remote work is not a new concept. Data from the US Census Bureau and the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that, in 2019, about 3.4% of the U.S. workforce was already taking part in fulltime or partial remote work.

Since the COVID-19 breakout, however, a whopping 88% of organizations around the world made it mandatory or optional for employees to work from home (WFH), according to a survey by Gartner, Inc. This means millions of people who usually traveled to their employers’ workspaces have had to quickly adjust their professional lives in order to work from home. If you are among those who have had to ditch the company cubicle for a home office or cozy corner in your home, it is possible you may feel out of sorts.

If there are kids or other family members around, it can be even more difficult to keep focused and maintain creativity. Yes, remote work does come with its challenges, but there are obvious benefits to look forward to. Not sure how to make the most of it? In this article, you will learn seven remote working tips to help you make a seamless transition from the corporate office to a fruitful WFH experience.

1. Pick a suitable workspace

Whether you are confined to your small apartment or have several rooms at your disposal, the spot you pick for remote work can affect how well you do. You need a cool spot in your home where you feel comfortable and that is not cluttered. Try not to work from your bed or sofa. Have a suitable work desk and chair in place that you can set up to feel like a small home office if you don’t already have one. Also, ensure there is adequate ventilation and that the lighting is suitable for reading and virtual meetings.

2. Keep the communication going with the team

Now that you are working from home, you won’t have the opportunity to sit in a staff meeting and hash out ideas for a new campaign or discuss strategies with staff. But this is not the time to slack off on communication. Instead, you need to communicate with the team even more. Check in with team leaders and managers to go over tasks assigned to you. If you are in charge of a project, provide regular status updates on the progress being made. Provide additional information to team members when and where necessary. Take time out to say “Hi” to co-workers over Skype, Zoom, etc. Share new ideas with the team and ask for feedback. The more you communicate with your team, the more seamless it will be working from home.

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3. Invest in suitable WFH tech

Working from home can be frustrating at times when the technology fails. From the internet signal being low to having a slow computer, remote work can easily be plagued by tech problems that make it impossible to get work done. There are quite a few apps and websites that can test your internet speed to see if you need to upgrade to a faster service. You should also audit your devices’ capabilities in terms of processor speed, RAM size, and storage. Does your laptop have a high-quality HD webcam suitable for video calls? Would having a second screen make it easier for you to carry out certain tasks? Is your keyboard and mouse comfortable enough for daily work? These are all important considerations that can affect your ability to work remotely. Another good investment for remote work is a noise-cancelling headphone, which helps to block out background noises when you are on important calls or need to listen intently to work-related aucommunication work from home, stay in touch, work from home technology, blogging guide, medium writing

4. Take regular breaks

It is easy to get caught up in a task that has you stuck to one spot in front of the computer for hours. This can have negative effects on your physical health. In addition, 37% of remote workers responding to a survey said taking regular breaks helped to boost productivity. It is a good idea to take breaks once per hour to stretch the legs, get fresh hair, and redirect focus. Setting an alarm on your phone or clock will help to remind you every hour to take a break.

taking breaks at work

5. Set boundaries

Because you are now at home, friends and family members may feel they can now pop up anytime they please. People living with you might also think you can give them attention whenever they need it. If you allow either scenario to play out every day, it will certainly affect your ability to be productive and do your work properly. It is important to let the people in your life know that you are still at work even though you are at home, so your time and space still need to be observed and respected. If you have kids, talk to them about why you can’t be available all the time and why they need to keep things down. Hire a babysitter to help you out if you have to. Let friends know when are suitable times to come see you. Setting these boundaries will enable you to do your job just as well as you would in the office, or maybe even better.

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6. Take care of yourself

Working from home can quickly blur the line between working time and leisure time. The way to combat this is to maintain your usual leisure and self-care activities that you practiced before you started working from home. If you used to meditate/do Yoga in the mornings, go to the gym after work, relax in front of the TV after dinner, etc., when you used to go out to work, you can set aside the corresponding periods of time for the same activities. In addition, you should make time for social interaction, which is also important to your mental wellbeing. The point is, self-care should not be compromised now that you are working from home. Schedule your work day to ensure you are also paying attention to your body and mind.

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7. Focus on the benefits

Remote work can feel strange, especially for the first month or so. Moreover, it is easy to feel isolated if you are used to being around plenty of people in an office environment, but now have to be cooped up at home, alone, or with people who can’t relate to your work activities. However, there are many positives to working from home that you can focus on. These include the huge savings from not having to take public transportation or purchase fuel for your car, or buying your daily dose of coffee from Starbucks. Not having to prepare professional attire for daily wear can also save money and time. If you have a spouse and/or family, remote work also allows you to spend more time with them. By focusing on these perks of remote work, it will become easier to cope with the change.

Conclusion

Remaining productive in a home environment where there are distractions such as Netflix – and no supervisor looking over your shoulder – can seem unlikely. However, putting the tips above into practice can lead to a successful experience when working remotely.

And who knows? You may even find new opportunities to make money online and generate new sources of passive income.

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