The three watchwords behind a great testimonials page

Have you ever looked at the testimonials page of a company’s website and thought:

“This page doesn’t make me want to buy from Honest Jim’s Used Cars … it actually makes me trust them less!”

I have. Obviously. So when I was making my own testimonials page a year ago, I had a good think about what should go on it. And since that page has worked pretty well for me, I thought I’d share my ideas with you.

What I came up with was three basic principles that underpin a good testimonials page.

They aren’t complicated. An persuasive testimonials page contains, by its very nature, just plain words from real customers. There’s no place for razzle dazzle here.

So it should be easy for you to make your own great testimonials page too. Just remember these watchwords.

No.1: Credibility

Have a look at this picture:

Oh, Sue and Amanda liked it? Well count me in too!

Oh, Sue and Amanda liked it? Well count me in too!

Who are Sue and Charles?

Did it cross your mind that business owner just made them up? Call me cynical, but it crossed mine.

These are the kinds of doubts you DON’T want to inspire in customers.

Use proper citations. Full names and hometowns for consumers. Full names, job titles and company names for business customers. Make sure people know your testimonials come from real people.

It’s easy to do, but thousands of businesses are getting it wrong. Don’t join them in failure.

No.2: Quality

Testimonials are like the staff at the post office. Some are really helpful, others are actually pretty useless.

So don’t feel you have to list ALL the testimonials you’ve received over the months and years. Your customers will probably have seen enough after six or seven anyway.

Choose the testimonials that show your business in the best light, obviously. Put the very best ones at the top of the page, where they’ll be seen by more people.

And don’t be afraid to tidy up the spelling and grammar a bit. A well-written testimonial makes a much better impression than one that looks like it was typed by a ten-year-old. (We’ve all had them.) Just make sure you don’t change what it says, because that’s dishonest.

No.3: Presentation

Your testimonials should be smartly presented. Otherwise customers are likely to turn their noses up at them. That’s true whether you put them on a web page or a printed page.

To make my own testimonials section, I borrowed from Nicolas Gallagher’s excellent tutorial on how to make speech bubbles using CSS – but there are lots of other good ideas out there.

Nice choice of film quotes Mr Gallagher. These are HTML blockquotes displayed with special CSS rules.

Nice choice of film quotes Mr Gallagher. These are HTML blockquotes displayed with special CSS rules.

Think creatively, make your page stand out and you’ll soon reap the rewards of having a lovely looking, informative and trustworthy testimonials page.

What did I miss?

So those were my three watchwords. Credibility, quality and presentation. They don’t exactly trip off the tongue, but I hope you find them useful in getting the basics right.

Of course, these are just my personal ideas. So what brilliant advice did I completely overlook? Let me know what you think makes a good testimonials page in the comments section. Or if you’ve made a great testimonials page yourself, I might be happy to link it.

Last modified on May 26th, 2013 by Neil Wheatley
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The undisputed world's tallest freelance copywriter, since 2008. Please don't write in if you're taller. Technology, software, games and property are some of my favourite markets to write for. My time is split between Manchester and Sheffield, UK and I work with clients all over the world.

  • Mike B

    Helpful guide. We dont always get the qyality of testimonials to follow the credibility part. But i can see what you mean about showing they’re from real people. Thanks.

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