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Thanks to the technological advances in the trading industry, more individuals now have access to online trading platforms. Placing your own trades, monitoring your positions, and managing your portfolio are just a few clicks (or swipes) away.

But trading is the easy part. Becoming profitable takes a bit more work. It takes more than an internet connection, computer, a quick read of the School of Pipsology, and a smile to achieve your financial dreams.

Just remember that the dangers of managing your own trades come from inexperience. This is why it’s important to be vigilant on where you get your information.

Unless you have a financial background or at least some familiarity with the financial markets, then you’ll likely acquire your bag of tricks from trading books or a trading mentor. For many amateur and veteran traders though, information is regularly picked up from the internet in the form of trading blogs.

So which blogs should you pick among the bajillions available on the subject? Here’s a checklist that can help you narrow down your list:

It has a solid track record

If you’re interested in entering the trading industry, then you should at least do your due diligence and learn from people who know what they’re talking about.
How long has the blogger been in the industry? The more helpful posts come from traders who have been long enough to see (and survive) several bull and bear markets as well as witness a couple of asset bubbles pop. Nothing like experience to give you the most honest and valuable information!

Is the blogger selling anything? Be careful of snake oil sellers who tend to talk more about “subscribing” or “buying” their strategies than what’s happening in the market. Also, check how the author is making his/her profits. Those who post small but profitable trades are usually more reliable than those who post their ideas AFTER they’ve made profits or those who favor big positions and unsustainable strategies.

It provides useful, actionable information

All the memes and viral videos in the world won’t be worth squat if the blog’s posts don’t bring anything relevant to the table. Whether it’s a new, well-explained trade idea or simple updates on the economy and financial assets, the blog should be able to give you something new to help you formulate your next set of trades.

Look out for sites that provide good technical analyses and actionable trading plans. Simply saying “buy this” or “sell that” hardly helps your trading process unless it’s a signal from a previously-explained trading system.

It helps you explore new ways of looking at markets

The really good blogs not only help you spot your next trades, but they also provide fresh ways of looking at economic and market issues. They expand your knowledge by showing you HOW the author processes information.

Believe it or not, there are legit traders and investors out there who share details of their profitable trading systems. Some also share high-quality insights, opinions on economic releases, and valuable industry trend observations. If you read them often enough, you might even pick up their processes and make it part of your trading edge.

It encourages discussion

Some profitable traders love interacting with their fellow market geeks for the simple reason that they also learn something new from them. Not all bloggers have the time to reply to every single comment or tweet, of course, but it’s a nice bonus if you find ones who you can ask questions and clarifications to and are open to opposing ideas when presented with them.

Since there’s no official Trading 101 course in most colleges (yet!), reading the thoughts and ideas of experienced traders is the closest we can get to having trading professors or trading mentors.

Maximize your time and effort by looking for the most helpful trading blogs out there. Of course, don’t hesitate to share if you’ve already found ones that you think are gold!