Overcome boring writing: Use Active Voice

Writing your content in active voice (rather than passive) helps your content to be more engaging to readers. Here’s how you can use active voice when writing.
The Thoughts and Designs Blog

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What do I mean by Active Voice and Passive Voice?

Writing in the active voice emphasizes the person (or subject) who performs an action. For example, “Kim designs websites.” The subject, Kim, performs the action, designs.

Passive voice writing emphasizes the recipient of the action. Here, the same sentence would say, “Websites are designed by Kim”. I’m correct in writing this, technically, but the sentence feels weaker.

Why you should avoid the Passive Voice

Writing in the passive voice comes across as wishy-washy and wordy. The sentence may be correct, but I could word it better.

Studies have shown many people struggle to understand passive voice sentences. You should communicate with clarity when writing, especially for your business. Readers will leave your website or scroll past your post if they can’t understand it quickly and easily.

In this information age, words bombard our readers all day long. Content creators must make their content clear and attention grabbing, or risk being ignored.

When you write in active voice instead of passive, you’re helping your readers.

When you write in active voice, you bring clarity and directness to your writing

Active voice is like a clear path through a beautiful garden.

When you use active voice, the subject of the sentence performs the action. It’s straightforward and direct.

Your visitors won’t have to play detective to figure out who’s doing what. For example, “Our team creates stunning designs” is more direct than “Stunning designs are created by our team.”

Write for better engagement and connection

Active voice writing is like having a conversation with a friend. It’s personal and engaging.

When you write in active voice, you’re speaking directly to your audience.

It’s like saying, “We make delicious coffee” instead of “Delicious coffee is made by us.” It creates a connection, making your content more relatable.

With Active Voice, you say more with less, for great impact

Writing with active voice is concise and packs a punch. It trims the unnecessary fat from your sentences, making your message more impactful.

Visitors are more likely to stay engaged when your content is to the point. Consider “We offer exclusive deals” versus “Exclusive deals are offered by us.”

The active version is snappier and more attention-grabbing.

Deploy responsibility and accountability through writing

Active voice content takes responsibility for actions.

When your website communicates in active voice, it owns up to what it does. This builds trust.

For instance, “We handle customer queries promptly” sounds more accountable than “Customer queries are handled promptly by us.”

It shows you’re hands-on and committed.

Easier is better, and active voice writing is easier to understand

Writing in the active voice is like a well-lit path in the dark. It helps your visitors navigate your content effortlessly.

Passive voice can sometimes be confusing, especially when the subject is unclear.

Using active voice ensures your audience easily follows your narrative, enhancing their overall experience on your website.

How can a website owner incorporate a more active voice into their writing?

When writing, start with the doer

Identify who is performing the action. Begin your sentences with the doer to make your writing inherently more active. Instead of saying “Improvements were made to our services,” say “We made improvements to our services.”

For strong writing, use strong verbs

Strong verbs are the superheroes of active voice. They carry the weight of your message.

Instead of saying “A decision was made by the team,” say “The team decided.”

Download free: 300 Strong Verbs for Stronger Writing

Check your writing by reading aloud

Reading your content aloud can help you identify passive constructions. If a sentence sounds awkward or convoluted, it might be a cue to switch to active voice. 

Your website content should flow naturally, like a friendly conversation.

When in doubt, think like your audience

Imagine you’re a visitor to your own website. What would resonate with you?

What feels more personal and engaging? 

Thinking from your audience’s perspective can guide you toward naturally incorporating more active voice.

Are you ready to improve your writing?

I struggled for years to write clearly. I wrote in passive voice, mostly in fact. Sometimes I find old posts and cringe. Yikes.

An app called ProWritingAid helped me improve my writing. Not only does ProWritingAid spell check my work, it also checks grammar, usage and style. ProWritingAid suggests ways to tighten up my writing and helps me write better.

I consider ProWritingAid to be an essential tool for any entrepreneur. Communicating online is an essential business skill today. This handy app helps you communicate better, even if you’re not a natural born writer.

Check it out and let me know what you think.

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Kimberly Eddy

Kimberly Eddy is a website designer and author in Thomasville GA (originally from Michigan), with over 30 years of experience in design and marketing including 18 years of experience in web design.