I’m sometimes asked by clients why I’m not recommending doing something new they’ve read about on the Internet.

It’s usually because we haven’t yet exhausted all the things I know have good odds to make a profit.

What sounds new and shiny may promise a great return, but no one really knows. And I don’t like gambling with my clients’ budgets.

So I thought I’d give you a few tried-and-trusted ideas and strategies that you should consider before striking out into virgin territory.

Search engines are still a great source of traffic

Let’s take a big mistake many people make. I met someone at a networking meeting who said ‘It must be tough for you now that SEO has been overtaken by social media’.

I guess it would be if everyone had been reading the same blogs as she had!

The fact of the matter is that search – and especially Organic search – generally brings much better conversion rates than most other sources. Your mileage may vary, but until proved otherwise, you should not discount search.

Brush up on your SEO Copy skills.

What works in one medium could just work on the Internet

People sometimes question me when I say this, but that’s their loss!

One great lesson from direct mail: ask for the sale. And making it crystal clear to your readers what you want them to do works just as well online as offline.

Do you have clear calls to action on your site?

Never rely on one source of revenue

If you do very well from Twitter leads, say, it’s very tempting to focus almost exclusively on Twitter.

But what happens if Twitter starts charging for commercial use? Or the Fail Whale reappears and cuts down on access to the system to only 12 hours a day?

Or you rely on a Google AdWords campaign, but find the bids on the keywords you target creep ever-higher until you can no longer make a profit?

You need to hedge against such potential disasters by making sure that you have customers coming from a number of sources, so that if one gives problems, you won’t be wiped out.

Build an e-mail list

This is a related point. Most sales channels online are owned by someone else, so they’re out of your control.

But, by building an e-mail list, the names and e-mail addresses are yours. You have control over who, when and how you contact them.

That’s a great way of minimising risk.

Am I being too conservative? What do you think?

Thanks to Erich Ferdinand for allowing me to use his picture of shiny things.