If you're looking for new ways to attract customers, readers, gamers or friends to your website, then adding relevant, high-value financial information to your site might be just the ticket. Before the Web, high quality financial information was hard to get. You either had to go through a financial advisor like a broker-dealer, or you had to get expensive direct feeds from financial data providers and news wire services. Now there are lots of general news and specialty financial sites that provide financial information on the Web. But, what you may not know is that the same professional quality data that the big portals use is also generally available and affordable to virtually any size Web publisher through financial Web services.
Financial Web services deliver market data directly to your website or software application over the Internet, so you don't have to manage anything in-house. Simply cut-and-paste a few lines of code and you instantly have direct access to real-time stock quotes, charts, interest rates, exchange rates, gold prices, company news and information or whatever makes sense for your audience. They are platform independent, so they can be used in any development environment for any website, Facebook page, iPhone application, e-commerce site or even enterprise software-as-a-service application. And, since the cost of the service is based on volume, just like your phone bill or iTunes account, the services are scalable and affordable from the lone blogger to the largest financial portal.
Here are 10 tips for spicing up your website with financial information:
Real-time Stock Quotes
The recent financial crisis has made everyone sensitive to the daily ups and downs of the stock market. Luckily, technology changes on Wall Street over the last ten years have made access to real-time stock quotes ultra-affordable. You can literally add a real-time quote widget or streaming ticker to your site with less than a day's work.
Portfolio Tracker Widget
Take real-time quotes one step further by allowing your users to create their own portfolio trackers. If you publish a financial-oriented social group, game or blog then you can even have users compete based on the performance of their stock picks.
If you are selling on the Web, then your potential audience is global. So, why not make it easier for them to buy from you by offering your products in the local currency? If you don't have real-time exchange rates, this can be a risky proposition. However, adding real-time exchange rates to your site is easy and affordable using Web services.
Company Profiles and Financials
If you publish a site that includes commentary and news on publicly traded companies, then it's easy to add a profile widget at the end of each article that provides readers with additional information on companies mentioned. Everything from the most recent stock price to most recent financial statements and earnings call transcripts are available.
Recent Financial News
RSS has made it easy to syndicate all sorts of information across the Web but you don't get much choice about what comes across the feed. Web services allow you to filter and select news in real-time. For example, if you publish an article on Microsoft, then you can select only Microsoft related articles for an accompanying news widget.
Two years ago, very few people outside of financial services had heard of LIBOR. Now everyone that owns a home is paying much closer attention to interest rates. Whether your business is real estate or bond trading, if visitors to your website are impacted by interest rate fluctuations, then you might want to think about adding an interest rate widget with the most recent rates or yield curves.
Economic Events and Statistics
With unemployment sitting at ten percent, everyone is staying tuned in to the latest economic events and statistics from retail sales to the federal deficit. If you're audience is interested in the state of the economy (and who isn't), then you can't miss by working in a few choice data points to pique their interest.
That's right, executive pay. Everyone knows that there are few topics hotter right now than runaway compensation. But, did you know that all of this information is publicly available? Companies are required to file it along with their financial statements. However, getting at this information off of a 10K can be difficult. A financial Web service provides database-like access to the information in real-time over the Internet, which can make life much easier and your stories more interesting if you are a financial reporter or you publish research on public companies.
Gold and Commodity Prices
In uncertain economic times, investors rush to gold and commodities. Or, so goes the conventional wisdom. If you are an online gold broker, real-time price information via Web services might save you lots of money by eliminating the need to maintain in-house databases. But, it can just as easily spice up your blog.
Mutual Fund Prices and Information
While most people have their money invested in mutual funds, the vast majority of news and reporting focuses on a few financial indices like the Dow Jones Industrial Average or the S&P 500. But, there is a surprising wealth of information available on mutual funds that might be much more relevant to your audience. In addition to the daily price or Net Asset Value (NAV), you can also easily access fund holdings and performance information.