TRUST. TRUST. TRUST.
Build trust with each exchange you decide to work on. There are lots of exchanges you can choose from, and it all comes down to trust since you are send you money to them.
#1: Location: Know where your exchange is based. What country?
#2: Customer Support: Do some research on customer complaints/reviews of the exchange? I would always use crypto twitter to find out what folks are talking/complaining about.
#3: Response Time: This is the most important after trusting that you are sending you money to this exchange. When something happens how long before you get a response? I would open simple request to customer support see how long before you get a response. Avoid the issue of sending 2 BTC to an exchange and then it disappears – and no customer support responses for 2 weeks.
#4: Baby Steps: I got back to building trust, send a small portion of bitcoin to any exchange or wallet first, the transaction fee will be high but start small and get used to how things work. Baby steps. See how long it takes for your btc to travel from your coinbase wallet to the exchange – once confirmed and released – how long did it take? Get to know these details.
Below is a list of crypto-currency exchanges by volume worldwide.
My recommendations for the average trader (approx. $1 to $10,000)
Advanced Trader ($10k+) If you are trading larger volumes, you need the liquidity so you need an exchange to handle that.