How much value is there in a testimonial? The answer to that depends entirely on your approach to testimonials. They can be a valuable tool in building trust with your site visitors and substantiating the claims you make about your business. A well-used testimonial will sway your customer towards your intended conversion. Get it wrong and you may never hear from the customer again. To maximise the success of your testimonials consider the following guidelines:


Testimonials aid perception of your products and services, but are no replacement for good content and an intuitive user experience. A positive testimonial supporting what you are saying will go a long way, but unless the testimonial matches the expectation of the customer, it’s not likely to be believed.


Honesty and transparency is crucial. Never make up a testimonial, or edit one to suit your needs. Providing names and positions to substantiate your testimonials can also go a long way to building trust with your customer. A photo to accompany the written endorsement helps to build even more trust if you have them available. Essentially, customers should be given every indication possible that they are seeing the words of an actual person, and the opportunity to verify any information they are presented with. Ascertaining the relevance of that opinion to their own situation is an added bonus.


People’s needs are different. Providing information about where the testimonial comes from allows a customer to ascertain how relevant that opinion is to their situation. Testimonials that give information about the context often have more weight. “Great service, highly recommended”, means very little on its own. Far more effective is to provide some information about the context of that customer’s experience.

As a small business owner trying to navigate my way through the mine fields, it was such a joy to find Eva & Dan at Arpastart. They have helped us navigate our way through the growth of our business with ease. With everything from website design, content management, blog layouts, and SEO: we have been supremely satisfied. I have and will continue to recommend them as a wonderful support to any emerging or growing business. You can be sure of their commitment to their clients and amazing knowledge base.

Peggy Knowles, Medically Sound and The Happy Shoe Shop


People are busy. No matter how impressed someone has been with your business, you may have to wait a while for them to provide a written recommendation. Ask as early as you can to be provided with one. Depending on the nature of your business it may be appropriate to get a video or audio recording as your testimonial instead. It is important to bear in mind that not many people are happy to talk to a camera or microphone and recordings can be difficult to play in some situations. Some of your site visitors are likely to be pretending to work or on public transport while browsing your site, and some people are conscious of using too much of their data allowance unnecessarily. Knowing your target market will help you enormously when deciding on the most appropriate format.

Don’t be afraid to ask for testimonials, or to be specific about the reason you want one. People are often quite happy to take the time to write something up for you if they know what you’re looking for. You can be specific about your intended purpose without scripting the testimonial yourself. As an example, we generally ask our clients to provide a testimonial about their experience with us to be placed on their portfolio page and in our community site.


Your testimonials should be placed in relevant locations through your site, and well selected to ensure that the best testimonial for the job is being used. While having all your testimonials available on one page can be helpful when you have built a large collection of them, they are far more useful where they can have the most direct impact. If a person is already thinking that your services are looking good to them, a testimonial might be just what they need to help them commit to making contact with you. It doesn’t hurt to have each testimonial linking to a testimonials page where your visitors can see other things said by happy customers either.


A review and a testimonial obviously share a lot in common. They are both about conveying an experience or opinion of a product or service to other potential consumers. Reviews can be a powerful selling tool – so much so, that next week’s article is dedicated to exploring their uses and benefits.

A testimonial is a valuable tool, and one worth considering adding to your repertoire. They won’t create results on their own, but if strategically used, can influence a site visitor’s decisions and perception of your business or products.