At its core, successful online trading is the application of a winning strategy within a robust technological infrastructure. Let’s take a closer look at how selecting the best day trading platform for the job can help you trade futures from a position of strength.
Online Trading Is Not One-Size-Fits-All
When it comes to the trading platform, traders can choose among many readily available alternatives. Simply put, there’s no shortage of options—but they’re not all equal.
The first step in finding the best day trading platform for your situation is to conduct a thorough self-inventory. By answering a few basic questions, you can identify your platform requirements:
Am I a technical or a fundamental trader?
The answer to this question will largely determine which day trading platform is the best for you. If you’re a technically inclined trader, charting and indicators are must-haves. For market fundamentalists, a software suite that includes a live news feed and intuitive order-entry options is ideal. Although user needs vary, your best day trading platform will depend on whether you are a practitioner of technical or fundamental analysis.
How do I place orders on the market?
The execution of basic market and limit orders is very different from stop market and stop limit orders. Also, certain strategies may require more complex order types, such as brackets, OCOs, and trailing stops. It’s critical to understand which order types you’re going to rely on and make sure that your software supports them.
How many trades per day do I execute?
The discussion of which day trading platform is the best typically involves price. As a general rule, heavier volumes are given pricing discounts. So knowing your strategy’s projected volume ahead of time is a great way to find a platform that can save you money.
Which products will I be trading?
When comparing platforms, it’s important to factor in the behavior of markets you will be trading. Rapidly moving contracts—such as the Euro FX, gold, or crude oil—are best traded using low-latency platforms.
After answering these questions, you’ll have a good idea of which platform is best suited for your needs. Then, you can easily whittle down the array of online alternatives to a few strong candidates.
What to Look for in a Day Trading Platform
In contrast to other forms of capital investment, day trading is an active method of engaging the financial markets. With day trading strategies, timelines are compressed, open positions are managed aggressively, and confident decision-making is at a premium.
To day trade successfully, it helps to have the best day trading platform possible at your disposal. Here are three areas where elite futures trading software suites excel:
- Customizable: Strategies, markets, and traders evolve over time. Being able to update the platform to better address the ever-changing trading environment is a must.
- Latency: Day trading is a short-term discipline, where speed is a valuable commodity. Streaming live market data in a timely fashion and having orders filled promptly are vital to long-term success. Accordingly, the best day trading platform eliminates any undue latency.
- Advanced technicals: When it comes to day trading, technical analysis is king! A solid platform needs to be armed with an extensive collection of technical indicators and analytical tools.
In addition to these attributes, affordability also plays a role in deciding which day trading platform is the best for you. The costs of trading software can be a significant part of your overhead—be sure that they are in line with your account size and profitability matrix.
Selecting the Best Day Trading Platform
The last step in selecting the best day trading platform is to physically try out the software. Most platforms offer a free trial or demo period to give traders an idea of the supported features and functionality. Taking advantage of a free trial is a great way to explore the capabilities of each platform under live market conditions, risk-free.
*This blog was originally published September 11th, 2018 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.