Yahoo is a name that is first and foremost synonymous with being one of the world’s biggest search engines. But it has a lot to offer on the financial side as well, as can be seen on its website http://finance.yahoo.com.
Whatever you need to know you are bound to find it within the pages of this site. The amount of information included on here is quite impressive, and the global focus of this website is made abundantly clear on the very first page, as you will see in a moment.
There is a strong leaning towards the news stories that are currently hitting the headlines, but the site builds on this in many different ways, resulting in a site that hits every target it aims for.
Starting with the home page
The familiar red Yahoo logo is there to greet you as soon as you arrive on the site, along with calm blue tones and color pictures that continue throughout all the pages.
The main menu appears as a number of tabs at the top of the page, allowing you to see the main parts of the website at a glance. As mentioned above this site does have a global reach, and the first indication of this comes when you notice the market summary on the left hand side. This allows you to check what the markets are doing in the US, Asia and Europe, giving you an overall picture of how they compare against each other.
Furthermore if you scroll right down to the bottom of the page you will see links to the Yahoo Finance websites that exist all over the world – in twenty different countries to be exact. Clicking on any one of these will take you to that home page, so while your own country’s home page will automatically appear when you visit Yahoo, you can opt to see http://finance.yahoo.com or any other country’s site at the click of a mouse.
But let’s go back to the top of the page. The top news stories appear in the usual spot, right in the middle of the page at the top, and they are buffered on either side by the market summary and a box showing some of the videos available to view on the site. These are all financially motivated in some way, and cover a wide range of subjects that will be of interest.
Elsewhere on the home page you will see information on currencies and stocks, along with links to relevant articles here and there. One interesting feature on this page occurs some way down on the left hand side, and is indicated by a green up arrow and a red down arrow. These mark the top three bullish and bearish stocks that are currently being debated on the message boards, and clicking on any of the names mentioned will take you through to a page of information dedicated to that particular company.
You’ll also see a section offering expert opinions on various financial and monetary matters, along with special features that go into an area of financial interest in more depth.
There are a handful of text adverts near the bottom of the page but all in all the advertising is minimal and it does fit in nicely with the overall look and feel of the site. There are no wildly flashing banners here.
Finally you will see a darker blue box on the left hand side of the page which contains links to useful areas of the website that will come in handy. This is certainly a home page that has everything you could ask of it, and it bodes well for the site as a whole.
What sections are there to explore?
The news section starts with a comprehensive list of the stories that are currently making the news. The headlines are clickable and they are followed by a brief summary of the story which gives you more information before you read the whole thing. The news stories go into a lot of depth on the whole and contain all the facts and figures you need to understand the situation being reported.
There is also a link to the entire archive of news stories at the bottom of the current headlines, so if you need to find stories which are older than those included on the page (which are usually a few hours old at the very most) then you should click on this to go back further in time.
One other thing that stands out about this page is the huge menu that fills the entire left hand column. This allows you to access news items on specific subjects and makes the whole section much more user friendly than having to scroll through lots of stories you have no interest in to get to the ones you do want to read.
The personal finance section also has plenty to offer, with its own menu along the left hand side and links to various articles which you will find of interest on this subject. There are also several calculators for your use in the tools section of the left hand column, including one to help you work out your spending, another one to help you figure out what you are worth, and several concerning different types of loans. There are lots included in this section and you could certainly give your finances a good overhaul in every area with their help.
There is also a part of the website dedicated to investing, which hits you with graphs and data as soon as you arrive on that page. The menu section for this page is slightly lower down but it is just as easy to access, and there is plenty more to discover once you read through the links it provides you with.
For example, the currencies page gives you the latest cross rates for all the major currencies, which will be enormously useful if you are involved in the foreign exchange (Forex) markets. There is also a quick and easy currency converter – useful for a number of different purposes – and links to news stories which relate to currency in some way.
This pattern is continued in other pages in this section, offering you an overview of what is going on in that topic at the moment.
You will also notice a Portfolio section in the main menu bar running along the top of the page, and while you need a Yahoo ID to benefit from this it is well worth doing. There is also the option to sign up to receive real time quotes if you are at all interested in trying to make money on the stock market (or you already own shares of some kind). This offers a free trial which lasts for a month and then a small fee secures the service into the future.
Finally there is a tab which proclaims the feature Tech Ticker. This is actually a blog which goes into some depth on various money matters and news stories, and is good to read if you want to keep up with what is going on in the world of finance. You can subscribe to this if you wish via the RSS feed (look for the small symbol in the right hand top corner of the blog).
It’s clear to see that this is a website which has plenty to offer to everyone who visits it. The intriguing part is that regardless of why you arrive on the site and what you would like to find out, you will find many more reasons to stay and explore. That is the mark of a good website, and this one certainly does draw you in and hook you with plenty of information and advice on current matters of concern and interest.
How user friendly is the website?
Every effort is made to make this site easy to navigate and to this end Yahoo has put in place several features that do succeed in making that desire a reality. The site map can be found via a link at the bottom of the home page, and it is extremely detailed. The header of each section is written in black, with all the sub-sections below in blue and clickable to allow you to go directly there if you wish.
You will also notice a small help button at the top of every page, which takes you straight into a help section that is just as detailed as the site map. The most frequently asked questions are listed in a box on the top right hand side of the page, but if your question isn’t there it’s a simple matter of clicking on the relevant section and reading through all the questions that are included there. You will also see a Contact Us option at the top of this page, which allows you to do just that if you cannot find the answer to your question.
All in all, the site is very easy on the eye and a pleasure to read. There is plenty of in depth information included and it is generally very easy to go straight to where you need to be. This site certainly gets top marks for being user friendly.
It also doesn’t talk down to you. It can sometimes be hard to get the balance right between being too highbrow and ‘dumbing down’, but in this case http://finance.yahoo.com has got it just right, and everyone will find something to enjoy and learn from here.
What is the single best feature?
While this site doesn’t contain any less than perfect sections, the one we found of most interest will appeal to everyone. It can be found in the personal finance section of the site and it goes by the name of How to Guides.
If there is anything you want to know about on a personal finance level and you aren’t sure where to go to get the advice you need, you should definitely pay http://finance.yahoo.com a visit before going anywhere else. The guides are split into sections and right at the top of the page you will also see a box which reveals the most popular guides that visitors to the site are currently reading.
Some of the areas covered include budgeting, careers, loans, real estate and insurance, but there is plenty more to discover as well. It is the depth of this section that makes it a winner for us (and clearly for the visitors to the site as well).
Every guide is broken down into easy to read and digest steps to follow, and there is a checklist provided at the end as well, to enable you to make sure you complete all the steps the article contains. Other users also give their opinions of the guide at the bottom of the piece, so you can leave your own opinion too if you wish.
All in all this is an outstanding section which gives good, practical advice on virtually every subject that is of interest to the every day person.
As a search engine, Yahoo is one of the biggest there is, and it ranks very highly as a finance site as well. No matter whether you have a personal or professional interest in financial matters, there is a very good chance that you will be able to find what you are looking for on here. The support is outstanding and the coverage that is given to every subject is impressive, leaving many other competing sites wanting.
The familiarity of the Yahoo name will no doubt have a lot of people trying the site simply because they are already familiar with the search engine and the email services they offer, but those same people are likely to stay and bookmark the page because http://finance.yahoo.com is worth revisiting time and time again.
And that is the true mark of an efficient and trustworthy financial news and views website.