Trading Journal: What It Is & How to Maximize Profits With It
Whether you’re just getting started as a crypto investor or have been investing for years, using a trading journal to track your trading performance and progress can help you maximize profits and avoid making poor investment decisions. You'll also be able to record all of your losing trades, which makes it easier to learn from your mistakes. If you want to be an effective and successful crypto investor, having a trading journal in hand can help you achieve your goals. Here's a more detailed analysis of trading journals, and some reasons why you should use one.
What Is a Trading Journal?
A trading journal is a type of record that details any of the trades you make, as well as the reasons why you made them. These journals help crypto investors track the logic and performance of each trade.
Trading journals are essentially diaries that give crypto investors the opportunity to write down important information about their trades and trading decisions, as well as keep track of your trading habits. Along with analysis of the trade, you can record what factors caused you to make your final investment decision.
These journals add a certain amount of planning and reflection to crypto investing. By having access to every piece of information about your trades and why you made them, you can go back to a trade, after it’s occurred, to identify why it may have succeeded or failed.
How Does a Trading Journal Work?
Writing a trading journal is a lengthy process that takes time to perfect. However, writing in this trading journal on a regular basis will help you become more attuned to these journals and how they work. In general, trading journals allow investors to enhance their crypto trading skills. For instance, you can learn how to improve your trading strategies by maintaining this journal and analyzing your trading activity.
Not every trade accommodates the same trading strategy, which is why it's highly recommended that you have several trading strategies that you can use, depending on what the situation calls for. Writing these strategies down in a journal gives you the opportunity to reference them in the future and more effectively track your progress. If you forget the strategies you use, you won't grow as a crypto investor.
This type of journal can also keep you from over-trading. If you have numerous positions open at the same time, it may prove to be more difficult to focus on specific trades — which could result in losing money. Knowing how many open positions you have, in addition to the number of trades you've performed during the day, should make it easier for you to avoid over-trading.
Track Your Trading
Having your own trading journal helps you gradually learn how to assess your account and trading history. Tracking your trading performance also means recording the size of each trade, what time the trade was made, and how the overall market was performing at the time. These pieces of information allow you to learn about who you are as a trader. The information surrounding your most successful trades may allow you to identify factors that caused the trades to succeed even when the crypto market is volatile.
Along with the standard pieces of information like entry price, exit price, position size and trading fees, you can also jot things down that can position you ahead of other traders. The notes you take should allow you to better understand why you made a trading decision — and if this decision was the right one. Being able to reference each trading situation you've been in, along with additional notes that you took at the time, should allow you to improve your crypto trading skills and help you become better at making quick decisions in a trading environment.
Pros of Using a Trading Journal
There are many benefits that come with using a trading journal, the primary of which include:
Using the journal to identify patterns and develop trading strategies that can help you become a more successful trader
Anchoring your growth as a crypto investor on your past trading performance and the records of it that you’ve kept
Properly displaying and delineating your strengths and weaknesses
Helping you to avoid making unplanned or impulsive trades
Cons of Using a Trading Journal
While trading journals are highly recommended for nearly every crypto investor, there are a couple of potential downsides to using them:
The most effective trading journals cost money to use
A trading journal is useless if one doesn’t know how to analyze it
How to Create a Trading Journal
Creating trading journals is a relatively simple and straightforward process. The best trading journal templates provide you with all the structure you need. In the meantime, however, it’s instructive to know what needs to be included in a trading journal. If you don't want to pay for one of these ready-to-use journals, you can create one with pen and paper. Remember that these journals can be customized in many different formats in order to match your trading style.
The first thing to do is to make a trading journal spreadsheet, via programs like Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets. As well, a written document can also be created in Microsoft Word or Google Docs. The written document and spreadsheet will be used together to create an effective trading journal. Once you've created these documents, you'll need to add columns to your spreadsheet, each of which must be filled out with every trade you make. These columns include:
Direction (long or short)
Additional notes and musings
While the above sections should be included in every spreadsheet and document you use for your trading journal, certain traders will add extra pieces of information, such as screenshots of their trades as well as time frame. The goal is to add any information that can help you grow as an investor.
When creating your written document, make sure that you include a separate section for every day which will allow you to write down your ideas and thoughts about each trade in an organized manner. This document is where you will essentially measure and analyze your trading performance.
Now that you've filled out all of this information, you should have everything you need to maintain a trading journal for your crypto trades. By understanding how to properly use one of these journals, you might already be able to select your preferred trading journal template.
Best Trading Journal Templates
If you're interested in keeping a trading journal but don't know where to start, the following offers a comprehensive overview of nine of the best trading journal templates and tools that crypto investors can use.
Coin Market Manager
Coin Market Manager is likely the most popular trading journal in this guide because of its active marketing approach. You can choose to import all of your trades from various crypto exchanges (including Bybit). Keep in mind that Coin Market Manager is far more robust than you might expect from a simple trading journal.
As one of the platforms offering the best trading journal templates, Coin Market Manager allows users to track a wide range of stats with live price tickers while also providing performance grades. When looking at the activity of a specific cryptocurrency, you can identify which ones are highly active. This feature can make it easier for you to analyze your performance.
While you can use Coin Market Manager for free, their Pro plan is available for $49.99 per month with some additional features. You can also get the Enterprise plan, which costs $59.99 per month. Keep in mind that the Enterprise plan is available for free if you're registered on Bybit, Deribit or FTX. Simply use the referral link these platforms provide. Coin Market Manager is a great tool to use because it provides you with a comprehensive analysis of your trading performance. The only issue here is that the best features are locked behind a subscription.
MyCryptoJournal is a reputable automated trading journal platform that provides users with a built-in API manager, which facilitates manual or automatic trades. The journal can be connected with your preferred exchange and updated when you make your next trades. While this specific journal might not be as feature-rich as Coin Market Manager, it does provide users with useful features that are completely free to use, such as:
Size of positions
Average price needed to make an entry
Profit/loss ratio calculation
Risk/reward ratio calculation
The tool also includes a section that allows you to write additional notes for every trade — which is necessary if you want to analyze your trading performance and improve as a crypto investor.
Trading Journal Spreadsheet
Trading Journal Spreadsheet is based off of Microsoft Excel and is designed with predefined column headings and formulas. The headings describe the entries that each column should include, and the spreadsheet table is separated into sections of entry, exit, identifiers, tracking codes, results and more. If you select the Identifiers section, you'll see column headings for the cryptocurrency symbol, account name, entry date and trade position.
Along with allowing you to record trades, this spreadsheet also gives you the tools you need to analyze the trades you make, which will help you identify any recent trends and establish a performance baseline. This sheet comprises tables that detail different facets of crypto investing and trading, which include categories such as:
Trades you completed successfully or lost
Performance of every cryptocurrency
Your trading performance when looking at specific days of the week
Entry and exit strategies
A summary of the mistakes you've made, how often they occur, and what they've cost
This trading journal can be obtained for a single fee that costs anywhere from $120–$180, depending on the total number of markets for which you'd like to use the journal. The only downside to this template is that it isn't as user-friendly as some of the other options in this guide.
TraderSync is designed specifically to help crypto investors record and track the trades they make. It's possible to add trades to this tool manually or through the importing of a CSV file. Make sure that you specify the trading platform or broker you're using to conduct these trades when you import the files in question.
This particular platform is very easy to use and has a sleek interface. You can track your trading performance on the TraderSync website or via a smartphone app, the latter of which allows you to record trade details wherever you are. The primary features that TraderSync offers include:
Performance manager and evaluator
Dashboard that shows your open and completed trades
Section for notes and analysis
The main issue with TraderSync is that the statements you import can be somewhat incomplete in terms of commissions and account balance. Therefore, you may need to make corrections and adjustments after importing these statements. If you're interested in TraderSync and all that it has to offer, you can access the tool through one of three plans, which include Basic, Premium and Elite. These plans are priced at $29.95, $49.95 and $79.95 respectively. Each plan comes with a seven-day free trial for your consideration.
TraderVue is among the oldest crypto trading journals around. Even though it isn't as advanced as some of the other trading journals in this guide, it offers some great features and analytical tools to help you analyze your past trades.
TraderVue is one of the best trading journal templates around due to the inclusion of a sharing feature, which allows you to share your past trading performance history with your peers and fellow community members. The other primary features that come with TraderVue include:
Trade notes, tagging and filtering
Comprehensive reports and statistics
Automatic price charts
Sharing features alongside privacy settings
TraderVue can be used for free. However, it won't give you access to the analytics and charting features. You'll also have a limit of 100 trades each month. Full functionality on the TraderVue platform comes with the Silver and Gold plans, priced at $29 and $49 per month, respectively.
EdgeSheet is among the best trading journal templates which focus entirely on crypto trades. You can automatically import every trade via an API from crypto exchanges including Bybit. The platform's UI is simple and easy to understand, which gives you the ability to track numerous accounts, open charts with precise entries and exits, and view each trade you've made.
Even though EdgeSheet doesn't have as many features as Coin Market Manager, it's still feature-rich despite its focus on simplicity. Its cost is $199.99 per month.
Edgewonk is another highly reputable trading journal that's gone through several iterations. It offers crypto investors a wide range of beneficial features. For instance, you can track dozens of statistics and use multiple journals. The Journal section lets you write down your entire trading plan, which can then be referenced before future trading sessions.
Another great feature available with Edgewonk is the inclusion of “cheat sheets” and PDFs that focus on psychology and crypto trading. Over time, these features can help you improve as a trader. Imports are currently allowed from places like NinjaTrader, Sierra Chart and cTrader. In the event that you're using another trading platform, you’ll need to manually import your trades.
The free version of Edgewonk offers limited features. You can unlock full functionality with the Pro plan for $169 per year, which makes this one of the more affordable options in this guide. The main issue with Edgewonk is that the automated API isn't supported. However, Edgewonk has made the manual trade entry process easy so that you can start tracking your trades once they’ve been added. You can also import statements and trade exports from specific brokers and platforms.
Journalytix is a popular trading journal that accommodates a wide range of different investments, including cryptocurrencies. It’s outfitted with a robust performance tracker, alongside an audio news feed and built-in calendar. You can use Journalytix for $47 per month if you're an independent trader.
Proprietary trading firms can select the Enterprise subscription, which is available for groups and offers functionality that’s unavailable with other trading journals in this guide. For example, along with a management dashboard, you'll gain access to group analytics, group chats and leaderboards. As far as the Enterprise plan’s price, it’s only available upon request.
Excel Trading Journal
If you don't want to pay money for a trading journal, and are already familiar with Microsoft 365 products, Excel is a great tool to use if you like to work with data analytics. Having previous knowledge of Excel means that it should be relatively easy for you to maintain a journal without needing to spend additional money.
Should You Use a Trading Journal?
Whether you're a beginner or experienced investor, it's highly recommended that you opt for a trading journal when investing in the crypto market. Even if you aren't spending a considerable amount of assets at the moment, you may eventually make larger investments — which would be the perfect opportunity to reference notes or details from your previous trades, as well any mistakes or successes you’ve had along the way. Trying to keep track of all of the details surrounding your crypto trades without a trading journal is practically impossible, which is why you should consider using one of these journals.
Trading journals allow users to write down every detail of the trades they make, alongside notes about why they’ve made the decisions they did. If the trade was unsuccessful, you can return to write down notes about why the trade failed — and if it’s successful, you’ll also glean valuable information for future trades. By analyzing previous entries, you’ll start to improve as an investor and make even more informed investment decisions. Taken together, the journals mentioned above should provide you with all of the potential features you're looking for in a trading journal.