It is important not to neglect the power of altcoins, or non-bitcoin cryptocurrencies. Altcoins are less prone to public speculation. Their smaller market caps are more prone to larger swings in pricing. Each altcoin has a purpose and an intent, catering to different niches. There are larger risks associated with investing in altcoins, but also larger rewards. Our personal favorites are DASH, ZCash and Monero.
Always pay attention to Bitcoin. Most altcoins (every cryptocurrency except Bitcoin) are pegged more closely to Bitcoin than Asian currencies were to the USD during the Asian Financial Crisis. If Bitcoin price pump drastically, altcoins price can go down as people try to exit altcoins to ride the BTC profits; inversely, if Bitcoin prices dump drastically, altcoin prices can go down, too, as people exit altcoins to exchange back into fiat. The best times for altcoin growth appear when Bitcoin shows organic growth or decline, or remains stagnant in price.