Transforming A Dull Business Testimonial Into Something Special…

As a switched on business owner, you know that testimonials help build trust and credibility with your prospects… and that’s why you ask for them routinely… (you do, don’t you??). However, you can really improve the quality of a testimonial with a few simple design adjustments on your website, and I’m going to show you how these adjustment can make a testimonial look super-impressive!

If you want some ideas for getting GREAT testimonials from your clients, then see my suggestions at the end of the article. For now, let’s focus on how a testimonial is presented.

Step 1 – Our Testimonial

First of all, let’s start with a bog-standard testimonial that includes someone’s name, their company name, and the testimonial itself. Now I’ve used “Lorem Ipsum” here (what is Lorem Ipsum?) so that we can focus on how to improve the appearance of the testimonial.

"Working with the WordPress Doctors was a fun, interesting and completely worthwhile experience..."

"Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Morbi et maximus ex. Praesent fringilla ac sem vitae semper. Integer sit amet sem ante. In at convallis nisi, a consequat quam. Phasellus nec pharetra ipsum. In vehicula vestibulum purus id malesuada. Suspendisse euismod vulputate cursus. Nam eu tempus lorem, interdum dapibus massa. Ut tellus mi, suscipit non nisl id, consequat lobortis leo.;

Vestibulum vel urna in ex dictum maximus. Sed sit amet iaculis elit. Nullam nec blandit enim, in accumsan odio. Vestibulum quis mi vel ex porttitor euismod. Sed quis laoreet nibh. Praesent accumsan tortor fringilla euismod lacinia. Vestibulum quis nisl at metus sagittis rutrum."

- Dave Smith, XYX Company Ltd

It’s clear and easy to read, but it’s not exciting is it? Well, this is what most businesses have on their website when showing a testimonial! So let’s start making some improvements.

Step 2 – Let’s add a photo of our client

"Working with the WordPress Doctors was a fun, interesting and completely worthwhile experience..."

"Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Morbi et maximus ex. Praesent fringilla ac sem vitae semper. Integer sit amet sem ante. In at convallis nisi, a consequat quam. Phasellus nec pharetra ipsum. In vehicula vestibulum purus id malesuada. Suspendisse euismod vulputate cursus. Nam eu tempus lorem, interdum dapibus massa. Ut tellus mi, suscipit non nisl id, consequat lobortis leo.;

Vestibulum vel urna in ex dictum maximus. Sed sit amet iaculis elit. Nullam nec blandit enim, in accumsan odio. Vestibulum quis mi vel ex porttitor euismod. Sed quis laoreet nibh. Praesent accumsan tortor fringilla euismod lacinia. Vestibulum quis nisl at metus sagittis rutrum."

- Dave Smith, XYX Company Ltd

Now that we’ve added a photo to the testimonial, the testimonial looks significantly more interesting… partly because you have a photo to look at, and partly due to adding a splash of colour. Given that my photo is looking right at you, I suspect you would have subconsciously looked directly at the eye-level of the photo.

Step 3 – Let’s add a headline

"Working with the WordPress Doctors was a fun, interesting and completely worthwhile experience..."

"Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Morbi et maximus ex. Praesent fringilla ac sem vitae semper. Integer sit amet sem ante. In at convallis nisi, a consequat quam. Phasellus nec pharetra ipsum. In vehicula vestibulum purus id malesuada. Suspendisse euismod vulputate cursus. Nam eu tempus lorem, interdum dapibus massa. Ut tellus mi, suscipit non nisl id, consequat lobortis leo.;

Vestibulum vel urna in ex dictum maximus. Sed sit amet iaculis elit. Nullam nec blandit enim, in accumsan odio. Vestibulum quis mi vel ex porttitor euismod. Sed quis laoreet nibh. Praesent accumsan tortor fringilla euismod lacinia. Vestibulum quis nisl at metus sagittis rutrum."

- Dave Smith, XYX Company Ltd

The idea of a headline for a testimonial is to pick out the best part of the testimonial, so that if your website visitors do not read the body of the testimonial, it’s likely they’ll skim-read the titles of your testimonials to get a feel of what the testimonials all say (about you and your business).

If you look away and then look at this testimonial, you’ll probably find your eyes are drawn to the headline and photo interchangeably.

Step 4 – Let’s highlight the text in the copy

"Working with the WordPress Doctors was a fun, interesting and completely worthwhile experience..."

"Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Morbi et maximus ex. Praesent fringilla ac sem vitae semper. Integer sit amet sem ante. In at convallis nisi, a consequat quam. Phasellus nec pharetra ipsum. In vehicula vestibulum purus id malesuada. Suspendisse euismod vulputate cursus. Nam eu tempus lorem, interdum dapibus massa. Ut tellus mi, suscipit non nisl id, consequat lobortis leo.;

Vestibulum vel urna in ex dictum maximus. Sed sit amet iaculis elit. Nullam nec blandit enim, in accumsan odio. Vestibulum quis mi vel ex porttitor euismod. Sed quis laoreet nibh. Praesent accumsan tortor fringilla euismod lacinia. Vestibulum quis nisl at metus sagittis rutrum."

- Dave Smith, XYX Company Ltd

I used a headline in the testimonial block to catch the eye of the reader. We can do something similar with the testimonial body, by choose 1 to 3 parts of the text to make bold too. To ensure that you’re picking something worth reading, only pick out the interesting phrases to make them bold. And only select 1, 2 or 3 phrases, otherwise if there’s too much bold text, the text stops being as readable again.

Step 5 – Let’s use some colour (rather than grey)

"Working with the WordPress Doctors was a fun, interesting and completely worthwhile experience..."

"Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Morbi et maximus ex. Praesent fringilla ac sem vitae semper. Integer sit amet sem ante. In at convallis nisi, a consequat quam. Phasellus nec pharetra ipsum. In vehicula vestibulum purus id malesuada. Suspendisse euismod vulputate cursus. Nam eu tempus lorem, interdum dapibus massa. Ut tellus mi, suscipit non nisl id, consequat lobortis leo.;

Vestibulum vel urna in ex dictum maximus. Sed sit amet iaculis elit. Nullam nec blandit enim, in accumsan odio. Vestibulum quis mi vel ex porttitor euismod. Sed quis laoreet nibh. Praesent accumsan tortor fringilla euismod lacinia. Vestibulum quis nisl at metus sagittis rutrum."

- Dave Smith, XYX Company Ltd

Finally, let’s add some colour. I’ve switched the colours to use one of my website’s colours. Whilst for some people, reading white text on green might be difficult, the testimonial does suddenly become more interesting by choosing a very striking colour. I’m using a simple design trick here that uses colour to add emphasis, and now the original testimonial (below) looks completely dull by contrast!

"Working with the WordPress Doctors was a fun, interesting and completely worthwhile experience..."

"Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Morbi et maximus ex. Praesent fringilla ac sem vitae semper. Integer sit amet sem ante. In at convallis nisi, a consequat quam. Phasellus nec pharetra ipsum. In vehicula vestibulum purus id malesuada. Suspendisse euismod vulputate cursus. Nam eu tempus lorem, interdum dapibus massa. Ut tellus mi, suscipit non nisl id, consequat lobortis leo.;

Vestibulum vel urna in ex dictum maximus. Sed sit amet iaculis elit. Nullam nec blandit enim, in accumsan odio. Vestibulum quis mi vel ex porttitor euismod. Sed quis laoreet nibh. Praesent accumsan tortor fringilla euismod lacinia. Vestibulum quis nisl at metus sagittis rutrum."

- Dave Smith, XYX Company Ltd

Let’s Play! Use the slider to see how the testimonial is transformed…

Move the slider to change the testimonial design:

"Working with the WordPress Doctors was a fun, interesting and completely worthwhile experience..."

"Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Morbi et maximus ex. Praesent fringilla ac sem vitae semper. Integer sit amet sem ante. In at convallis nisi, a consequat quam. Phasellus nec pharetra ipsum. In vehicula vestibulum purus id malesuada. Suspendisse euismod vulputate cursus. Nam eu tempus lorem, interdum dapibus massa. Ut tellus mi, suscipit non nisl id, consequat lobortis leo.;

Vestibulum vel urna in ex dictum maximus. Sed sit amet iaculis elit. Nullam nec blandit enim, in accumsan odio. Vestibulum quis mi vel ex porttitor euismod. Sed quis laoreet nibh. Praesent accumsan tortor fringilla euismod lacinia. Vestibulum quis nisl at metus sagittis rutrum."

- Dave Smith, XYX Company Ltd

Testimonial Tricks – How to get GREAT testimonials…

Asking a client or customer for a testimonial can feel awkward, as it feels as if you’re hassling them for something when you’d much prefer they just offered to give you a great testimonial. Sometimes, your customers will lack confidence in their ability to write (or write well), and may avoid offering to write you a testimonial to avoid feeling self-conscious.

So how do you solve this?

Option 1 – Write the testimonial for them (and have them check it)…

The easiest way to do this is chatting to your client or customer just after you’ve done something for them… and ideally at a point where they’re really chuffed with what you’ve done for them. Ask them questions:

  • what they liked from working with you…
  • what results they got…
  • what expectations they had and how you exceeded them…
  • their favourite part of working with you
  • what surprised them

Make lots of notes, and then use those notes and write a well-worded testimonial that conveys the message that you want to convey.

Email the testimonial to them, and ask them to check it and make any edits that they want. Often they’ll say “yeah, that’s perfect” or they’ll make some small adjustments.

Option 2 – Send them a list of questions to answer…

If you have a client or customer who wants to use their own words, you can help them along a bit by giving them some questions to answer (such as those above in Option 1). You can then made any edits to the testimonial (if needed) and then ask them to approve the changes.

At the end of the day, if your client or customer approves the testimonials and it’s truthful, then it’s completely legitimate and legal to use that testimonial in your marketing.

Want help creating great-looking testimonials for your website?

If you’d like to have great-looking testimonials like ours, then please just get in touch via our contact page.

Dan Harrison

About Dan Harrison

Dan Harrison is a WordPress specialist and the lead developer at Customers On Tap. Dan started working with WordPress all the way back in 2005 (when WordPress was only 2 years old!). Known as the WordPress Doctor, Dan often consults for other WordPress web developers when they get stuck.

As a techie, Dan writes themes and plugins from scratch, as well as writing all kinds of integrations between different systems (and WordPress).

If you'd like a chat with a Dan to see if he can help you with your project, then pop over to the contact page to either send an email or to schedule a 1:1 call with Dan.