Testimonials can really give your website a boost IF they are done the right way. If they aren’t, you could wind up driving traffic away in droves and shooting your business in the foot.

The key thing that must be remembered about testimonials is the fact they MUST be credible. Translation – don’t fake sincerity and gushiness, because people will know it’s fake.

We’ve all seen websites with testimonials on them that seemed too good to be true, had lots of sales trigger words, and were really completely unbelievable. No two ways about it, they came across as phony and completely misleading. Overall, a bad move for you and your website credibility.

Testimonials aren’t always forthcoming, so go ahead and ask your clients, customers and other people who’ve dealt with you for their comments and get permission to post these as testimonials. Always ask them to give feedback in writing and then include the best comments on your website either on a dedicated testimonials page or sprinkled throughout the content of your site.

DO NOT WRITE YOUR OWN TESTIMONIALS. Please, just don’t. And don’t have someone else write fake ones on your behalf. What do they know about your product/service other than what you tell them? If someone hasn’t experienced your product/service it’s highly unlikely they’ll be able to contribute anything that reads as being genuine.

You’ve probably seen website testimonials from so-called “satisfied customers” who only are identified by their initials. Well, I’m calling that out. If they really were all that satisfied with the product, why don’t they stand up and say so? And then there are the sites that say blah blah blah is tremendous, signed Business Woman or Expert. Expert in what? Do you smell something fishy with this too?

Each testimonial you use should ideally have your customer’s full name and if relevant their location. If they’re speaking on your behalf (behalf of your company) then they should include your name too. If they have any professional titles or certifications, try and use them, because this means their comments carry more authority. And if they have a website, include it. This will prove your testimonial is legitimate.

If you have the chance to be able to use pictures with your testimonials, do so. Use “real people” pictures not stock photos. In other words, a photo that makes them look picture-perfect won’t be perceived as believable. Don’t forget too, to check that you’ve got permission to use their testimonial publicly, it’s the polite and legally-watertight thing to do.

Are you hesitant to ask past clients for testimonials? Don’t be, as it needn’t be difficult especially if you have confidence in the quality service or product you provide. I’m always happy to help with an well-crafted professional email you could send to past clients to seek their feedback, just get in touch and ask.