Enterprises are launching “corporate portals,” gateway sites that act as an entryway to both a company’s Web presence and its intranet. In this column, Web consultant Kelly McKnight gives his opinion on a corporate portal, highlighting strengths and weaknesses that may translate to your company’s Web presence. The following index provides an objective look at the site’s features.
Kelly’s thoughts on the Ameritrade Web site
At first blush, the Ameritrade site seems kind of bland. The home page is very basic, but don’t let the lack of content there fool you. The Ameritrade site is not just plain—it’s just plain focused. From the look and feel of the site, my guess is that it’s designed to cater to the experienced online investor.
This is the third in a series called “Playing the Market.” I have also reviewed the Charles Schwab Web site and the E*TRADE site.
While the Charles Schwab site is all things to all people, and the E*TRADE site is driven by educating the emerging investor, the Ameritrade site makes very little pretense of its purpose. This is why the home page gives you four simple options:

  • Signup with an $8 per trade promotion
  • Learn more
  • Open an account
  • Member login

That’s all she wrote.

Despite the simple organization, there’s lots of information here. The difference between this site and the other sites is the way this one is packaged. The information here is not glitzy, interactive, or particularly user-friendly.

In fact, it’s just a lot of text wrapped in a plain, blue wrapper.

There are a few bells and whistles, though. For example, if you sign up for member service, there are lots of cool options available, including:

  • Free real-time stock quotes.
  • Stock alerts through your cellular phone, pager, or e-mail account.
  • All the charts and graphs you’ll ever want or need.

But to play, you have to sign up.

Kelly’s verdict
All of the investment sites I visited are solid. The one you should choose depends on your taste and at what stage you are in your investment life.

If you’re a seasoned pro at the stock game, then Ameritrade might be just what you’re looking for.

Kelly McKnight is a principal of Via Internet Studio , a consulting firm that specializes in corporate Web site design, Internet marketing, and e-commerce.

Now it’s your turn to review the Ameritrade Web site. Just click on the Rate this Site! button and you can help separate the good from the bad from the ugly. It only takes a minute or two to complete your rating, so don’t waste any more time—rate this site now! For Kelly’s rating, scroll below.