Whether you're using a free trading software or a paid platform for your first trades in the stock market, it can seem a bit overwhelming at first trying to decide which stocks to buy and sell. Since you're a beginner and haven't honed your trading skills yet, it's essential that you use a good platform that will help you avoid bad decisions. Here are a few features to look for in a platform that will give you the tools needed to more easily find the best trades and protect yourself from catastrophe. 

1. A trade simulator

If your trading platform doesn't include a trade simulator, you can always find one on another website, although it may be a paid service and end up costing you more money. Even if it does cost more, don't skip this step; you can learn a lot from a trade simulator, and it can help you determine the difference between a worthwhile trade, one that just breaks even, and one that ends up being a really bad idea. Because a good simulator is worth money and is convenient, it's best to find a trading platform that has a simulator built in.

2. Research options

The more research you do before each trade, the less likely you are to get sideswiped with a disaster you didn't see coming and the more expertise you'll gain. The research options available for a particular trade vary between platforms, but on the whole, the more informed you are the better off you'll be. Try comparing the research tools and options between platforms before you decide on one definitively.

3. Trailing stop losses

It's very common for a trading platform to allow you to set up trailing stop losses to protect yourself from crashing stock values. "Stop losses" mean that you set a value below which the stock would start losing money for you, and the platform will automatically sell at that point so you don't lose money. Trailing stop losses mean that you can set this value to adjust upwards as the value of the stock increases, ensuring that you don't lose your profits if the stock climbs and then falls again all in one day. If you use a free software for your trading, you may or may not have access to this crucial feature.

These are just a few of the issues to consider when you're looking for a good broker trading software platform. You'll also want to consider things like price, trading fees, and more, but these three features can help you have a more successful beginner trading experience and start making money in the stock market as you build your portfolio little by little.