A trading platform software program is a software program that you can use to place your orders for such financial products as bonds, shares, derivatives, and options over a network through a financial intermediary. The financial intermediary could be a broker, an investment bank, a stock exchange, or a market maker. So, how do you use the software program to buy stocks?
The first step is getting the right trading platform software program. There are several factors to consider if you are to get the best trading platform. Consider what the platform allows you to trade in vis-a-vis your particular needs. The best platform is one that allows you to trade in stocks, futures, currency, options, and other major financial instruments. There are free software programs in the market, but you expect to pay for a good one.
Consider the features that are in place vis-a-vis what you need. Today's software programs even have charting packages, mobile phone alerts and apps, access to different markets, real time market info from the likes of Bloomberg, eSignal, and Interactive Brokers, account management functions, and news feed. Consider the encryption, the transactions recording standard, synchronization capabilities with PDAs and mobile phones, the slippage and pricing standard, and the safety features that have been put in place (authentication)
You could join a discussion forum, a blog, or any other online community for tips on the best software. You could also go through customer testimonials, read independent reviews, and get recommendations from relatives, colleagues, or friends who might be using the software.
Once you have the software, learn how it works. The software will come with documentation. Go through this carefully. Do not shy away from calling the vendor if you are stuck.
Next, come up with a trading profile. The platform allows you to do this by connecting you to a market or a broker. Completing a trading profile allows you to have a personalized experience. Your account is where you deposit the money you will be using to trade. The profile you create will evolve with time and it will show such things as the balance in your account and all the transactions that you have made. You will be able to keep track of your trading portfolio. Play around with the trading platform software program. You could trade with "paper" money until you get the necessary skills and confidence to trade. "Paper" money refers to virtual money that you trade with just like you trade with real money. Charting tools are very important in analysis and you should play around with them to track different metrics. You could use line graphs to map performance levels and bar graphs to compare different stocks in a particular market.
Once you are ready to trade, start by reading background information, product news, CEO profiles, and such information to determine if the particular stock you are buying is worth buying. A good trading platform software program will have an info icon on screen. This takes you to information on such things as internal company changes and past trading.
The next step is determining your time delay from the floor of the stock market. A good software program will rightfully claim that it makes instant trades, but time delay is affected by browser and Internet connection speeds. Delays of up to five minutes are not uncommon. Do something about your browser and Internet connection speeds if you realize you have a problem.
When trading, set a maximum and minimum price so that you do not lose more than you can afford and you do not waste your time and effort respectively. You could use the same trading platform software for different stocks.