The name CNN automatically makes you think of news, and furthermore you tend to think of a reputable news station at that.
Which is why we should all be interested in the financial website which bears the same name. This site has a comprehensive outlook which is unmatched by many other sites. A lot of websites online tend to focus on a single aspect of finance – whether that is the foreign exchange market, the latest business news or the more personal side of things.
But http://money.cnn.com is a huge site that attempts to cover it all, and it does so in a very successful way. The site is split into broad sections that could almost be miniature websites in their own right, but it all flies under the banner that is CNN, so let’s take a closer look.
Starting with the home page
As it should be, the main news story is carried at the top of the page, but there is plenty more to this home page than a single story. What’s more, before you get to the main financial headlines you will see a tiny line of gray type which tells you how long ago those headlines were updated. This gives you an idea as to the current nature of the site.
The home page itself is well designed, as you would expect from a site with such a well known name; after all it has an image to protect and only the best web designers will do when it comes to this kind of website. The current and up to date nature of this page is indicated wherever you look, giving you the feeling that this is a page you should be revisiting often, to make sure you don’t miss out on anything. That is certainly the overriding feeling you get from this home page; that feeling of immediacy and urgency which comes with a site that is constantly updated and freshened up.
There are also some smaller sections on the page which deal with financially motivated stories in several different sectors, including small business, real estate and technology. This indicates the depth to which http://money.cnn.com goes in finding financially related stories of all types to share with their visitors. They are arguably one of the best websites around today when it comes to giving you the financial news on such a large scale.
If you scroll right down to the bottom of the page you will find a link to the site map – somewhat necessary on a site that is this big. This is split into four tabbed sections, each one concentrating on a different subject area and therefore giving you the easiest and most accessible way to find your way to what you want. You’ll also notice that at the foot of each section on the site map there is a clickable link to the archives, which allows you to look into that particular subject area to find articles, information and data that has been published in the past. This is a site map which has a lot more depth than almost any other one you will ever have seen.
But back on the home page there are other neat little additions which really round the page off in a nice way, making it stand out as a strong and confident force in the arena of financial websites. There are some quick links to some of the most popular stories other visitors to the site are currently reading, and right at the top of the page you will also see the latest data from the American markets.
This is a home page which packs a real punch, but it also promises much more to come once you start clicking into other areas of the site.
What sections are there to explore?
The personal finance section has all you could need to help you get your own finances in order – or at least get a better understanding of them. The most intriguing section here is the Money 101 bit. Where else have you ever found a basic guide on how to get organized with your money? If you have always wanted one your search stops here.
While some of the advice given is intended more for the American market, there is still a huge amount of information here that applies to everyone, regardless of which country you live in. All areas are covered, from budgeting to savings and stocks to assets. It is all covered in a series of lessons which can be tackled one at a time, and there is no doubt that if you went through each of these in turn you would come out the other side looking and feeling like a more financially sound person. It is an excellent addition to an already strong site.
Elsewhere the small business section is worth a look, since it covers many of the financial issues which are relevant to businesses today. Individual businesses of all kinds are examined in this part of the site, but there are financial lessons to be learned from virtually all of them. Watch out for the ultimate resource guide at the bottom of the page; it gives you sound financial advice in areas you may not have considered if you have your own business.
Another interesting area which gets something of a financial makeover is technology. There will always be money in new technology, but this website really does manage to cover a lot of stories in a lot of different areas of interest. There are also a number of special reports which shed light on other areas of interest as far as business finance is concerned.
Make sure you click on the newsletters link at the bottom of any page as well, to see how many opportunities there are to receive pertinent and useful information directly into your email inbox. The most interesting part of this offer is that you get to see an example of what you will receive before you give up your email address to receive them. Some of the best from the many newsletters which are listed are the daily breaking news option, the daily market briefing, and the thrice weekly top money tips, which is concentrated on the personal financial side of things.
There is also another sneaky little link in that bottom part of the page which you might miss if you’re not too careful to take a closer look. The single word ‘calculators’ takes you into a monster of a page which gives you virtually every calculator you could ever want – plus a lot more besides.
Depending on what country you live in you might find some of these to be of little use, but many of them will be good to use regardless of where you happen to be, and they are supremely easy to use.
All in all the amount of information, guidance, news and advice contained within the various sections of this site is quite amazing. It is all easy to find and very readable, which is probably one of the most important aspects for any financially led website. It is very easy to fall into the trap of being dull and boring, but neither of those words comes to mind when you visit http://money.cnn.com. In fact very much the opposite is true; there is a real dynamic edge to every section of this site. It is very pro-active and the whole look and feel of the site adds considerably to that image.
Finally you will notice that there is also a link for mobiles at the bottom of the page. There is a special URL which you can access by visiting this link, so you don’t need to be tied to your computer if you want to visit this website in future. You could be out and about or stuck on a train and you can still catch up with the latest financial news.
How user friendly is the website?
As mentioned before there is a comprehensive site map included, but the user friendly feel of this website goes far beyond including this for your use. And it is the smaller things which always seem to count for a lot in this respect.
For example, if you hover your mouse over the various different sections included in the menu bar at the top of the screen, you will see a drop down box appear telling you what else you can find in that section. There is also a handy part of the site which allows you to set up your own portfolio free of charge, and it’s very easy to sign up and use. Not all websites have this personalized feature included in their structure, and this puts http://money.cnn.com ahead of many of its rivals.
But in the end it isn’t the big features that make the difference. It is always the smaller aspects of the site – the things you don’t notice when they are there, but you certainly would if they were to disappear – that make this website an outstanding one in many respects. Once you have paid your first visit you are guaranteed to come back for more.
What is the single best feature?
There are many to choose from, but for us it is the podcasts that win the day. Firstly they are available free of charge, and secondly they cover a lot of ground. You can pick and choose which ones you want to subscribe to, and then you have the choice of where and when you want to listen to them.
What’s more you also have the opportunity to go for both video and audio options. One notable podcast that is well worth a look is the Biz Green option. This is certainly a forward thinking podcast that is delivered weekly, and it gives you plenty of food for thought – as do all the other podcasts offered.
If podcasts aren’t your thing then try the RSS feeds. We’ll include them here too since there are so many of them and it represents yet another chance to receive content from the site when you want it, rather than having to visit the site constantly to see what is going on.
The range of RSS feeds is very large, and there is every chance that you will end up subscribing to more than one. This is a very good selection of user friendly add-ons that you will almost certainly get hooked on.
There is no doubt that http://money.cnn.com is a huge site. What’s more, it is also one of the most in depth ones that you will find online today. The great thing about a site that is this big is that it means you can find information on several different topics at once, without having to go from website to website to find what you need.
The layout has also been extremely well done, and once you are in you tend to get sucked in further, going between sections and pages very easily despite the huge size of the overall site.
It is clear that the financial news is a key part of what makes this site worth visiting on a regular basis, but more than that there is a real depth of knowledge here on almost every aspect of finance. It doesn’t matter whether you are employed or you have your own business; neither does it matter whether you have a Forex trading account, own shares or simply have a straightforward savings account. You will find something here that will be relevant to you, and that is where this site scores highly.
It manages to appeal to almost everyone in its approach to the world of finance, regardless of how much or how little you might earn. It is a credit to this site that so many people come back to visit again and again, and while http://money.cnn.com might not be the most trafficked site in the world, it is certainly one of the most important as far as finance is concerned.