There are plenty of good websites out there that do a great job of finding the best financially related stories in the world and distilling them all into a well ordered and easy to access website. But there are only a select few that reach the ranks of being outstanding – and www.ft.com is one of those few.
Ft.com comes from the British newspaper the Financial Times, but its familiar pink colored pages are renowned across the world for being one of the most reliable sources of financial news that you can get hold of. The website is used by people from many different countries, purely because it has a global view and reach which extends far beyond the country it is based in.
The site is also a large and useful one in many ways, which makes it one that you should bookmark at the earliest opportunity. Here is a more in depth look at what has made it so well known all over the world.
Starting with the home page
If you have ever seen a copy of the Financial Times then you will see that certain elements of the home page carry that style through to the website itself. The page is well planned and puts the main headlines front and center, catching your eye the moment you arrive.
As you scroll down you will see a red headline notifying you of each new section – including some on the markets, the world and editorial comments among others. You can click on any and all headlines to go into reading the story in more depth.
There is also a comprehensive menu running down the left hand side of the page, which is ever present and allows you to navigate easily between pages and sections as and when you want to. Included at the top of the menu are sections which allow you to see news items relevant to each area of the world in turn. This means that if you have a particular country you want to stay in tune with, you can do so.
There are also several other sections of interest near the bottom of the menu on the home page. Firstly you are given a selection of reputable blogs to explore – all of which are linked into the www.ft.com website – and secondly you will see an interactive section.
This is worth exploring if you are able to listen to podcasts, since monetary related podcasts are frequently available to listen to here. Once you hit this particular page you will also see a list of ways that you can stay in touch with the Financial Times online service, which are listed on the left hand side of the page. RSS feeds and email alerts and summaries are just some of the choices you have that make this website more accessible wherever you are. For more options like this and other additional services, check out the services and tools section in the menu.
Watch out also for the small box on the left hand side which features a close up of a keyboard with a pair of glasses on top of it. The two words next to it say ‘Most read’, and they tell you exactly what you will find when you click on the image. In short, it will take you to a list of the most read news headlines on the site at the moment – so if you need to know what people are interested in the most (perhaps you have a blog on financial matters and you need some inspiration) then this is the page to visit.
All in all the home page is full of promise and it is virtually impossible to leave the site without exploring at least a few other pages while you are there. It is an outstanding welcome to an outstanding site.
What sections are there to explore?
The markets section is of particular interest to anyone wanting to know about financial matters; it is broken down into several sub-sections including commodities and currencies, so there is plenty to explore and whatever your personal or business interests are, you are sure to find the information you need.
A look at the currencies section is a great way to see how in depth each section is. The main currency related headlines will be listed on this page, and these are relevant to both specific countries and the world as a whole, depending on the nature of the story.
Clicking on the headline will take you through to the story itself, and you will instantly notice that each one is of a considerable length. You don’t get two paragraph long snapshots of the world’s biggest stories on this site; you get the whole in depth event, with plenty of details, facts, figures and even quotations for each story.
The special reports section near the bottom of the main menu is another section worth taking a look at, as it concentrates on going into certain stories and news items in more depth. There is a real mix of reports to be found here – including some on video to watch on the site itself – but for those interested in all matters of a financial nature it is the corporate finance reports section that will probably hold the most interest.
But sometimes you need a useful counterpoint to the essential news that this site provides so well – and fortunately it can provide that too. There is an excellent section of commentary and analysis that gives you an alternative perspective on many of the financial stories that have hit the headlines and it is this extra depth which the website is so good at providing.
This section takes the facts from a situation and explores how it could affect (or is affecting) people right now. Much like the rest of the articles on this site you can expect long pieces to read here, peppered with facts and figures as well as insight and information.
Many people also like to keep up with what various companies are up to, since this can have an effect on share prices above all else. Once again the www.ft.com website has all the bases covered by including a separate sub-section on this very matter.
If you go into the In Depth part of the site (accessible from the menu column) you will gain access to the Hot Topics of the moment that everyone is talking about – written about in FT’s own inimitable way of course. There is also a selection of stories that are in the news at the moment, on all kinds of different but popular subjects such as house prices, equity and much more besides.
How user friendly is the website?
As with any large website of this nature, it is vital for it to be user friendly because it will lose visitors in droves if it isn’t. Fortunately it has taken the time to provide other tools as well as an efficient and easy to understand layout which immediately takes your eye to where it needs to be.
The first thing you will notice at the top of the page is a search facility. It doesn’t take up much room but it will lead you to the information you will need – sometimes more quickly than searching for it any other way. It will usually also lead you to information in areas you wouldn’t have checked otherwise, so it is extremely useful and good to check on many occasions. It also filters your results for you; if you check the left hand column when you get your search results you can click on any one of the entries listed there to narrow down your search even further. This alone makes it worth using as often as you can.
There is also the required currency converter – ideal and essential on a site such as www.ft.com. This can be reached from the top of the home page, and it takes you into the currencies section of the website. You just have to enter the amount you want to convert and then select the currencies you are converting from and to, and the result appears instantly. You will also see the exchange rate that is applicable to that calculation, along with the exact date and time you performed it. As you would expect from a site such as this, the data used is only a few minutes out of date at the very most.
This website also does very well in getting the right balance of information on the home page – and indeed on every other page of the site. There is clearly a lot to cram into a website of this size, but you don’t feel overwhelmed at any point and that’s one of the reasons why this site is so frequently visited by people from all over the world. It’s reliable and a joy to use and read, and you never feel lost among its myriad of pages and information.
What is the single best feature?
There are so many outstanding features on this website that it is hard to narrow it down to a single one. But if pushed we would have to say it is the simple click of a button that changes the home page to one that is relevant to your area of the world.
For example, if you live in the United States then you will see the US home page when you arrive on the site. This will be packed with information and news that is appropriate for that country. But if you wish to see what is going on in Asia, all you need to do is click on the Asia tab which appears under the red home bar on the left hand side of the page. You should be able to spot this easily as the red makes it stand out wonderfully.
That single click will then switch the home page to Asia oriented information, that everyone in the world can access. Some of the main features will stay the same but for the most part you will see brand new information that helps you to get a better idea of how another region of the world is doing. Whatever region of the world you are in, you will automatically see the version of the home page that is nearest to where you are when you arrive. After that you are free to explore as you wish.
In this sense the www.ft.com home page is four times bigger than you initially think it is. There is no way the site could put all that information on the same page, so they have divided it into bite sized portions that make sense to each visitor to the site. And if you want to see the whole thing you still can.
It comes as no surprise that one of the world’s most revered newspapers on financial matters should have such an outstanding website to attract the attention with as well.
It is quite possible to browse this site for hours, since there is so much here that is of interest to the financial world. But the task of doing such a thing is never at any point tiring. There is a comprehensive site map which guides you smoothly through each and every section in case you should ever get stuck, and the website stands head and shoulders above so many others when it comes to getting the top stories first.
The nature of this website ensures that you will always find plenty to read on it, since it is constantly updated to reflect the ever changing circumstances present in the world today. If you need to know the latest news headlines in financial circles then www.ft.com is the best place to go to get them.
Whatever you need to find when you arrive on the site, you can guarantee that as well as leaving with that information, you will leave with so much more as well.