Your Questions Answered About Website Testimonials

Through the good and the bad of testimonials, endorsements, and reviews, we have all witnessed their power. So I am sure it is no surprise that website testimonials can be gold mines for boosting your business.

Today I thought I would answer some of the top questions I receive regarding websites testimonials from how to get them to how to use them strategically and effectively.

1. How do I get Testimonials?

My friend the answer is obvious. ASK! 

I realize you may not want to hear that, but it is the truth and I am all about delivering the truth.

I understand too that you probably feel awkward and uncomfortable about asking for those testimonials and reviews. Or perhaps you have the romantic idea that they will just show up automatically, without asking. And while that does happen on occasion, the best way to get testimonials that have a positive impact on your business is to ask.

How to ask for testimonials that boost your business…

I recommend a personal approach before sending out a generic form. This could be in conversation with a client that you follow up with an email, or it could be as simple as a personal email you send to the client. Either way, make it personal.

I also recommend you be clear about what you are looking for in a testimonial. Here is a sampling of questions to ask taken from a recent Hubspot blog: 25 Testimonial Questions to Ask Your Customers

  • What made you happiest about working with our company?
  • Was there anything we could have done differently?
  • What have you been able to achieve since using our product or service?
  • What has exceeded your expectations since working with us?

And if this is a struggle you aren’t ready to overcome and need a little help… 

Helping you get those testimonials is actually one of the things that I do, as part of my customer care monthly campaign with all of my maintenance clients. If you are interested in learning more click here to schedule a consultation.

2. What about sharing client names?

The uncomfortableness around sharing a client’s name is one of the reasons I find many business owners don’t ask for testimonials. But you don’t have to share full names.

Yes, you want to know and record who shared the testimonial with you, but that doesn’t mean you have to publish their name on your website.

Rather than using full names use…

  • First name and last name initial
  • First names only
  • Initials only

And always ask the client what feels comfortable to them. After all, they are the ones sharing a testimonial, and that can often be very personal.

3. How much can I edit a testimonial?

I understand that integrity is super important, and you don’t want to alter a testimonial in a way that is deceitful or manipulative. But you also have probably received testimonials that have minor mistakes that you feel would be best to correct.

The best rule of thumb is to make changes that ensure clarity and relevance, such as:

  • Correcting spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors (or any other accidental typos).
  • Minor adjustment to phrasing for clarity sake (be sure to add brackets around words you add)
  • Replacing pronouns with your name or the name of your business
  • Highlighting keywords or phrases with bold or italics

Again, I will encourage you to ask your clients if they are comfortable with the changes you have made.

4. Some of my testimonials are really long? Do I have to use the whole thing?

No, you don’t. Taking out juicy tidbits that highlight the message you want to convey and the feeling you want to inspire is totally acceptable. And sometimes those longer testimonials may have multiple snippets you can use throughout your marketing materials.

5. Where should I share testimonials on my website?

The easy answer is everywhere! But there should also be some strategy involved.

First, think about the message you are trying to convey or the feeling you want to inspire on each of the main pages within your website.

For example, my friend and client Nancy Ganzekaufer is incredible at helping people maximize their profitability and gain confidence in business. She has done this with me and many I have had the pleasure to get to know over the years.

As we work through the refresh of her website design, the message we are conveying and the feeling we are inspiring is this…


Part of conveying that message was strategically selecting the testimonials to be shared on that page.

Need a little more inspiration and guidance? Check out my blog Using Testimonials on Your Website.

6. Do I need to have a testimonial release or written consent?

Yes, you do. Testimonials, reviews, and endorsements are governed by truth-in-advertising laws, so by having written consent or a signed release from your client, you are covered in the case they decide to retract their testimonial at a later date.

The testimonial release or written consent doesn’t have to be anything fancy or complicated. A simple email of approval from your client is sufficient enough.

You may also include clauses in your Terms of Use or Privacy Policy that when a client testimonial is submitted on your website they are consenting to that testimonial being used for marketing purposes.

What do I do if a client retracts their testimonial? 

I recommend addressing the client as you see fit, but by all means removing their testimonial from your website. Not only will it allow you to move on more quickly but save you from potential issues down the road.

7. Can I use reviews from other sites?

While this is a common practice and one I have used myself in the past, many review sites actually have a clause in their Terms of Use that any user-generated content is owned by the user and licensed to the website.

What this means is that if someone leaves a review for you on Google, Facebook, or any other similar site, the testimonial may not actually be yours to share on your website.

This takes me back to the testimonial release.

If you receive a review on an external site that you would love to use as a website testimonial or in your other marketing materials, reach out personally to the client and get their written consent.

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