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How to Trade Stocks Online

3 minute read

Joshua Williams

By Joshua Williams

Many people watch stock market reports and wonder what trading is all about. Modern technology has made it possible for anyone with a computer, enough funds, and a positive financial history to invest in the stock market. Trading no longer requires the services of a broker or huge amounts of disposable income. The world of online trading is open to almost anyone.

However, investing isn’t a computer game – there’s real money on the line. As such, online trading should be taken very seriously.

How Stocks Operate

It’s important to know how stocks work before attempting any type of investing. In its most basic form, a share of stock is ownership of a small piece of a company. When you purchase shares of a company’s stock, you’re investing in the future success of the company.

The value of a company’s stock shares will be based on a variety of things. This includes investors’ attitudes, economic conditions, and company performance. When a company offers its stock to the public for the first time, it is called an initial public offering.

Companies have the option of sharing their profits with their stockholders. This is called a dividend. Not all stocks provide dividends, but many do. A stock that frequently issues dividends is called an income stock. When a company doesn’t issue dividends and re-invests its profits, they are called growth stocks.

Brokerage Account

If you’re going to do online investing, you’ll need a brokerage account. There are several different types of brokerage firms and accounts available for investors.

A full-service brokerage account will enable you to get important advice on investments and much more. A full-service brokerage also charges higher fees for their services.

Most online brokers only provide investors with a secure interface to place trade orders. This is why an online broker is able to charge low fees to investors.

The type of brokerage account needed can also be determined by the speed of order execution, tradable assets offered, and the extent to which it enables investors to trade on margin.

Online Investing

The first step you need to take toward online investing is to choose a reputable online brokerage firm. These are often referred to as discount brokers, since they cost less than using a traditional brokerage firm. It’s important to verify a brokerage firm has all the licensing necessary to trade in a specified territory.

When orders are placed online, they are routed through an online brokerage to an exchange. It is possible with online investing to buy or sell stocks, securities, mutual funds, forex, options and more. An online brokerage will provide the tools necessary for you to track the performance of your investments.

Day Trading

Day trading is very different from online investing. These traders only hold onto their stocks and securities for a single day. At the end of the day, a day trader will close out their position in the market. They begin buying new securities on the next trading day. This decreases the risk of something happening when the market is closed that could cause a huge loss. The real challenge with day trading is making trades that produce a profit by the end of the day or the opportunity is lost.

A day trader must be able to make fast decisions. Making a lot of money day trading requires the ability to successfully perform large numbers of trades for a small profit on each.

Rules of Trading

There is no guaranteed formula for online investing success. There are trading rules that a person may want to follow. Doing this may put the odds for success in an investor’s favor.

Before doing any type of investing, it’s important to know the basics of trading. Understand trading languages such as acronyms, reports, and lingo.

Develop an investing strategy. This could be based on speaking with someone who has had investing success or developing a personal strategy.

Invest in knowledge before investing in the market. It’s important to have access to investing information when it’s needed. Stay current with all the important investing stories in the news. Investing success also requires self-discipline, patience, and self-control.

Many experts recommend new investors try their investing strategy with a stock simulator. This will provide an opportunity to practice and not experience a loss. It will take away the pressure and enable a new investor to gain valuable experience.

Stock Trading Graphicsideyweb / Shutterstock
Joshua Williams


Joshua is a freelance writer with years of experience blogging about business and finance, and a whole host of other things too. When he's not writing, he enjoys camping with his dog, a golden retriever named Oakley.


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