“You absolutely need ID theft insurance,” I told a friend the other day as we were discussing the topic. I have owned a policy for several years now. He believes it is a waste of money while I believe it is a necessity.
My argument for the insurance is simple. If you buy stuff online, you need to protect yourself.
As a society, we are becoming more and more accustomed to buying things online. We do this now to the tune of over $200 billion dollars a year. Amazon.com would not exist if this were not true.
From a psychological standpoint, with each successful purchase, we make, our guard drops a little more which results in more purchases. We find ourselves researching offline stuff via on online platform such as Amazon and at some point convenience overrides any concerns we may have and before we know it we are buying more and more online.
With each purchase, we leave a little more data behind. Then something happens like Target getting hacked and we remember that we should be concerned yet we still don’t go buy ID theft insurance.
If you buy products or services online, you need ID theft insurance.
As my friend and I continued debating the pros and cons of this topic it occurred to me that ID theft insurance is exactly the same as having your own website. Both protect your identity. Both protect your brand.
That is why I believe that everyone must have their own website.
THE TALE OF FOUR RYANS
When I started this site a few years back, my goal was simple, document my life via video and posts for my children. You see my father had recently passed and I realized that we had very little outside of pictures and our memories to remember him.
There were no voice recordings, no videos. That just seems weird these days. I did not want my children to be in the same boat. What does this have to do with ID theft insurance? Everything. I’ll explain.
When I decided to purchase my domain, ryanrhoten.com, I was surprised to find that it was already taken. How could that be? Who would want a website in my name?
I typed in ryanrhoten.com and nothing came up. Puzzled I did what we all do these days, I went to Google for answers. Turns out there are four Ryan Rhoten’s in the world. All of us live in the United States. One had purchased “my” domain.
This meant I couldn’t buy the domain I wanted so I moved on and started ryanlrhoten.com but never forgot that another Ryan Rhoten had my domain.
Again turning to Google, I researched the other Ryan Rhoten’s. The one who owned my domain had very little information that I could find other than he had purchased the domain. Another Ryan has a career in supply chain and logistics in Texas and the fourth Ryan, well it is the fourth Ryan that got me worried.
Turns out he is a drug dealer from Missouri.
He had been recently arrested for possession and dealing. Sadly it was easy to find information about him online. He was on the first two pages of Google when I searched my name. That’s when the thought occurred to me and I began to completely rethink the use of my website.
What if someone other than me Googled my name? This is what they would find.
USE A WEBSITE TO PROTECT YOUR BRAND
I immediately changed my site from what was becoming an open memoir into a one-stop shop for me, the only Ryan Rhoten I wanted to appear on Google. At least the first two pages anyway.
I began blogging and learning about keyword research, SEO, and internet marketing. My goal was simple. When someone searched for Ryan Rhoten on Google, they would find me first. The other Ryan’s would have to fend for themselves.
Now a couple of years later, I now hold the top returns on Google.
Along the way, I learned a very valuable lesson. Having your own website makes it possible for you to “control” what people find when they search for you. It gives you a way to protect your brand.
If you don’t have a website, you leave want comes up in a search to chance. Worse you leave your identity out there for others to “steal”. By proactively creating your own website, you are in a sense giving yourself the gift of ID insurance.
Owning your online real estate prevents others from borrowing or even “stealing” your identity online. Think about if the “bad” Ryan had been savvy enough to create a website using his name.
If this would have happened anyone searching for me would have found him first. Not a great first impression I think you’ll agree.
Taking charge of your online identity and really your reputation allows you to control what gets posted, liked, viewed and shared. It also demonstrates your ability to learn new things, interact with technology and unleashes a creative side you may never have realized you have but I’ll save those details for another post.
Most importantly it allows those who want to find you, such as a recruiter or potential employer, to find the RIGHT you. In a world that is constantly “on” and full of ever growing noise, making sure that the people who want to find you can, just be the most important ID insurance you can buy.
GET STARTED CREATING YOUR WEBSITE TODAY
Have you ever thought about having your own website but were concerned it would be too technical? Let me assure you that it is far easier than you think.
In less than 5 minutes and for less than $100 you can own your domain and start protecting your online identity. Even if you never “activate” your website, just owning your domain prevents others from using it for themselves.
Still concerned? Watch this step-by-step video on how to get started today. After you’ve secured your domain you might wonder what to put on your website. No worries there, I’ve got you covered.
Sign up for the Personal Branding Blueprint and learn not only about your brand but how you can best leverage it to ensure you are making the best first impression you can, even while you sleep.
In addition, because I feel that owning your own website is so critical to protecting your brand I am building a complete step-by-step video course on how to build your website using WordPress.
When you sign up not only will get access to the Personal Branding Blueprint but you will get access to the build your own website course as well.
Oh, did I mention that I offer all of this for free. Sign up below and get started today.
QUESTION: So what do think? Is having your own website the same as ID insurance? I’d love to hear your thoughts on the topic below.