Making the most of website testimonials

Monday, September 14, 2015 by Richard Howe

Making the most of website testimonialsClient testimonials are a great way of making your company appear reputable, professional and trustworthy. If a visitor to your site is in any doubt about ordering a product or buying a service, a well-phrased and positioned review from a real-life client can be just what they need to make that decision.

But what are the best ways to use testimonials on your site? Let’s take a closer look.

Which types of client testimonials are best?

Put simply, the type of testimonial you should use depends on four areas:

  • The industry you are in
  • The types of clients you have
  • Your target audience
  • The technology available to you

Think especially about who your audience is. Do they have the time to sit down and read length case studies or would short one-liners be better? Are they a very visual demographic (e.g. visitors to a photography site)? If so, then including testimonials within your images might work better than within straight text.

Whilst keeping in mind the four areas above, you might wish to consider some of the following types of testimonial:

Short one-liners

Sometimes less is more. If you have testimonials that simply say, ‘Amazing service’, ‘Delivered a perfect product ahead of schedule’ or ‘Wow! Exactly what I needed!’, then these one-liners can say it all.

Case studies

Sometimes you might choose to use fewer, longer-form recommendations, perhaps in the form of case studies. If relevant, you could link this to an online portfolio of work where each project is explained in more detail, with images or videos, and the client gives a more lengthy testimonial. This type of approach works well where you are hoping to attract larger clients with bigger projects.

Video testimonials

Seeing a client’s face and hearing their voice speaking makes any testimonial immediately more personal and believable, building more trust and making your business and your offerings more reliable. It also serves to add a touch of storytelling, drawing people in and encouraging them to emotionally ‘buy in’ to your company. Although clients might be reluctant to be videoed, encouraging them to do so can pay off hugely.

Where on your site is best for testimonials?

Every website is different and only you can decide what will work within your design and to suit your purposes. However, here are some ideas to get you thinking:

Homepage

Including one or two client recommendations on your homepage can add a sense of trustworthiness to your site in those first few seconds and therefore encourage visitors to explore your site further. Just be careful not to go overboard with testimonials here – after all, that’s not what your homepage is really about and shouldn’t be the main focus.

Header, footer or side pane

You might decide to include a limited number of testimonials in your header or footer, so that they appear on every page of your site. In this case, it may be best to code a function that randomly selects one of your recommendations to display, so that visitors don’t see the same testimonial all the time. Try refreshing our web design page for example, and you will see the right column review update on each re-load.

Similarly, you could use a scrolling, feed-like style so that your testimonials are cycled through, one after another.

Separate page

If you decide to include a larger number of testimonials (be careful not to include too many), you might want to design a separate testimonial page. This has the advantage of pointing visitors straight to what they’re looking for and grouping all recommendations together in one place for easy reading.

Within images

As briefly mentioned, another idea is to create images that contain short testimonials within them. The images might be a photograph of the client themselves, their company logo, or an entirely different image related to the service you’re providing or to portray the ethos of your company. People look at images more than they read text, so including testimonials within a well-positioned, beautiful picture, will make your visitors more likely to read them.

Some final tips

Finally, don’t forget the following:

  • Make sure that there are no spelling or punctuation mistakes in your testimonials. If there were errors in the original quote, correct them. The client you were quoting doesn’t want to look like a fool either!
  • Get permission for each of the testimonials you use and never, ever make up or edit testimonials to make them sound better.
  • Ensure that your testimonials are not repetitious and genuinely reflect the range of services you provide.
  • Don’t include too many testimonials – an overabundance can make your site look amateurish. Better to have a few great recommendations than lots of mediocre ones.
  • If you have big name clients, use them! Testimonials from large, blue chip companies are like gold dust.
  • Whether you choose to use simple, one-line references, lengthier recommendations or opt for video testimonials, adding the voice of your previous and existing clients is something that your prospective clients will be grateful for and might just tip the balance to bringing you some fresh, new business.

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