One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple.

-Jack Kerouac, The Dharma Bums


One Second

Say it in one second.

This is the secret to writing for the web: grab your audience in one second flat. That’s it. One second. Not three, not two. Five, as they say, is right out.

Your audience’s attention comes at a premium. It doesn’t matter how eloquent you are, how graceful your prose, if you lose their interest. Don’t mince words.

Why? Just look around you.

Go on … right now. Look at your screen. What do you see?

Words. You see thousands of words. Your screen is saturated with words from advertisers, from your friends, from this and the other ten articles you’re reading while you email your brother and G-chat your college suitemate. (No, really — that’s what I’m doing right this second. Sound familiar?)

We’re all minnows in the great river of the Internet, and it moves quickly. So if you want your audience swimming in your particular current, catch them fast or lost them forever. Then, once you’ve caught them — keep them.

So what should you say?

That’s the more interesting question. You have this new blog, this new product to sell, this new business to get underway. You want to be successful. You’re excited about connecting with your audience. You know you have great ideas — you just have to figure out how to get people to read them. So what should you say?

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