Effective website writing that immediately grabs and holds the reader is usually written in a style known as active. And once you know some simple tips about arranging subjects and verbs, cutting unnecessary words and using descriptive language, you can create content that is punchy, exciting and can reinvigorate your brand.
That type of writing brings readers back to your site again and again, no matter what the subject. Let’s imagine you run a pizza business. Which of these would you rather have on your website’s homepage?
- Our pizzas are created by award-winning chefs
- Award-winning chefs create our pizzas
Both have the same information. But one jumps out at you—the second. That’s active website writing.
In active writing, your subject (the chefs) performs an action (create pizzas). It is more direct, uses fewer words and is easier to read and understand. And when you have those elements, you have content that moves fast and with a purpose. Remember the last great book you read? Didn’t it feel like that?
Anyone can incorporate an active voice into his or her website writing. Let’s use our pizza joint to help illustrate three writing tips you can start doing right now:
Who’s In Charge?
Ask yourself, who’s in charge? The easiest way to identify a passive sentence is by asking yourself, who’s in charge? Take a look at this example of a passive sentence:
Large tables and comfortable chairs are enjoyed by the guests
Who’s in charge? The focus is on what the large tables and comfortable chairs do. But does furniture really do anything? In passive writing, the subject (the guest) is not in charge. The subject is the recipient of an action. Here it is in an active voice:
Guests can enjoy our large tables and comfortable chairs
See how easy that was?
Remove Unnecessary Words
People have a tendency to overwrite. We get excited about something—our product—and want to tell the world everything about it. The result? One hundred words to describe your pepperoni. Readers have a limited attention span these days, especially on the web. Your long descriptions are getting in the way of the goal of your content—to make a sale.
Active website writing uses only the words and sentences it must to make its point. Start by looking for common filler words such as “quite,” “rather” and “just.” Once you’ve identified these words, find sentences that meander or don’t support the sale, no matter how close they are to your heart (Those lines about how grandma liked to name the stars while creating her secret pizza sauce? Yup).
Show, don’t tell
Because you are using fewer words for the same impact, you want those words to count. They must be descriptive and enticing. You don’t need to have the vocabulary of Faulkner to accomplish this. All you need is a thesaurus:
We cook our pizza in a brick oven
We wood-fire our pizza in a brick oven
Our pizza sauce is delicious
Our pizza sauce is rich with fresh-ground herbs and spices
The best way to develop an active voice in your website writing is to write and rewrite. And there’s no better place to start than your own website.
How can we help?
Reworking your web copy to get more engagement? Or, do you need to tweak your landing pages to improve sales conversion?
We are the spectrum group, and we offer strategic and tactical consulting so you can monetize your online presence. Call us for a complimentary 30-minute consultation to discuss your website’s user experience and translate that into sales.