Create Dynamic Testimonials in WordPress
The value of Testimonials for a Business
Testimonials will build credibility for your product or service. Rather than giving a long winded sales pitch yourself, let your customers recommend what you offer. In this socially interconnected world, many buyers rely more on what others say about you than what you say about yourself. Testimonials definitely help your sale when the buyer is undecided or torn between different vendors. It can be that recommendation that makes the balance tip in your favor!
Looking for a full-depth tutorial video?
What makes a good testimonial?
The best testimonial is the one that attacks a pain point of your typical customer, one that shares an honest experience of how your product or service solved their problem or helped them be more productive. Besides being short it needs a title and shows the name, position, and company. Use a picture to put a face to the person who wrote the piece. If you can get them to record a short audio or video, it will make it so much better. Testimonials that include facts and figures will further support your marketing claims with hard evidence from third parties.
Let’s look at some examples of good testimonials and highlight the strong point each one makes:
Attacking the Pain Point
An IT Manager of Intuit (tax software) explains how Slack helps his teams to solve problems faster and feel more connected despite the physical distance between the staff. This will appeal to any IT manager in charge of remote teams whose pain point is inefficient teamwork through physical separation. This testimonial also offers a link at the bottom to read the full story, so people can read the complete case study.
Pain Point: physical separation of remote team members and inefficiencies this may bring
Solution: with Slack remote teams solve problems much faster, they feel like being in the same room
Short and honest
Dribble features a testimonial page that shows dozens of honest and straightforward user reviews. The vast majority of writers are grateful designers that found more work simply by being on the platform. It’s clear that these testimonials are not altered or edited which inspires trust. Since they are also short and to the point, the viewers will read several of them and may be encouraged to sign up for this service themselves.
Pain Point: Freelance designers not having enough work
Solution: Dribble offers designers a platform to showcase their work and find plenty of new contracts
BioClarity is a company that offers organic skin care products. On the Clear Skin System landing page, they feature 3 very personal testimonials with photo and video.
All three customers show their contact information below their testimonial which gives it a really strong support.
Pain Point: people with skin problems are skeptical due to many creams that make big promises and show little to no results.
Solution: 3 people who actually used the products, talk positively in a video about the results and put their name and contact information at the bottom.
Numbers don’t lie
HubSpot is an all-in-one marketing platform that makes the claim to support an increase in leads, conversion rates, and sales. Any business looking to improve their marketing efficiency will be interested to see actual testimonials supporting those claims with real numbers.
Pain Point: Having high marketing expenses with little results to show for
Solution: A platform that works for other customers and they have numbers to prove it.
How to add testimonials to your site
Now it’s time to choose a suitable method to implement testimonials on our website. There are two fundamentally different approaches: static vs. dynamic testimonial systems.
Ready-to-use testimonial blocks will insert a static testimonial section or slider on your website.
This is fine if you are just starting out or it needs to happen quickly. But if you want to do it right and add the same testimonials to different parts of your website, static testimonials can work against you. What if a client asks you to take down their testimonial? You will have to go through every page and slider on your site to find out if that testimonial is used there, then edit the page and replace the piece.
And as you collect newer and better testimonials, you will need to manually replace the same text and photos over and over. Does a system with dynamic testimonials sound more appealing now?
A dynamic testimonial system is much more flexible and versatile and offers many benefits:
- access a centralized place to create, edit and delete testimonials
- reuse testimonials on different parts of your website
- search and filter testimonial database from the front end
- add any additional fields you need, like title, website, category or tags
- create sliders or single testimonial sections
- randomize testimonials for every page visit
- allow users to submit testimonials on the front end of your website with Toolset Forms
- categorize testimonials and show them within the context where they have the most impact, eg. next to the product or service they mention
Building a dynamic testimonial system
Prefer to follow a written tutorial? Read on!
The following table shows the big picture of where these plugins are needed. We will not cover front-end submission in this tutorial, but for now, we will just create the testimonials through the back end.
Create a new Custom Post Type
Firstly we will build a new custom post type (CPT) called testimonials. Since these are Toolset basics, we won’t cover every detail here, but you can follow the CPT Training Course which is available for all Toolset clients and teaches the essentials.
For this step, we will use the Toolset Types Plugin. Go to Toolset → Post Type → Add New, fill in the fields as shown in the image below, then click Save Post Type.
The new Custom Post Type appears in the menu right away. How easy was that? It does not contain all the fields we need yet, so this will be our next task.
Add new Custom Fields
The following image shows the custom fields that need to be set up, so if you already know how to do that, you can skip ahead. Note that the Author’s name and the actual testimonial text will be stored in the post title and content respectively. These are standard WordPress fields available for every post type and there is no need to set them up with Toolset. We only need to remember this fact once we need to display these fields.
In the Toolset → Dashboard you will find the new custom post type. Click on Add Custom Fields. A new Field Group will automatically be created in the background, which is used to group the new fields together and not mix them up with other custom fields we might have in WordPress. For creating the first field, you will be presented with a screen to select one of 20 different field types available:
Let’s create the upload field for the author’s image first. Click on Field Type Image and fill in the Field name (1) and optionally the Description (2).
Use the + Add New Field button (3) to add all the other custom fields in their respective type (see field list above). You only need to set the field type and field name.
Once you are done, click on the blue Save Field Group button on the right. That’s it, your new custom post type, with all the fields that you need, is ready.
Create some testimonials
Now we are ready to add a few testimonials before we build the front end of the site (this will allow us to see how everything looks). Go to Testimonials → Add New. It’s the same process as adding a WordPress post, but you will see the new custom fields (2). The field group title which was automatically generated before is seen under (1). (You can edit this title under Toolset → Custom Fields). Once you’re done, click Publish (3).
Show the testimonials on the front end
Now need to edit the page where we want to add the dynamic testimonials. Let’s assume for a minute that ours is a landing page for a pink drone. Insert a Block and search for Toolset → View
Create a new View called Testimonials…
…and check the new post type Testimonials. For View Loop Style select Grid and set the layout to 3 columns.
In the View Loop we need to design the structure of one testimonial (1) which Toolset will repeat as many times as we want (2). We need to insert a block for each element in the loop:
- Author’s Image (3)
- Testimonial Content (4)
- Author’s Name, Position, and Company (5)
Let’s start by adding an image block for the author’s image. Select Yes for use a Dynamic Source, since we need the image to be displayed dynamically to match the author of the testimonial. Use the settings below and you will see the images fill in on the page.
Set the image size to Thumbnail 150 x 150 px and the border radius to 75 to make the image round:
Below the thumbnail, we insert a regular image block (non-Toolset) for the quotation mark and below that a Toolset Single Field Block to show the dynamic Post Content, which corresponds to the text of the testimonial:
The next block type will be Toolset Fields and Text. This is used to mix dynamic fields with static text inside the same block. In the WYSIWYG editor write any characters you need (like a comma and space to separate the position and company) and insert the dynamic fields by using the Add Field or View icon.
We are done with the content, now let’s make a grey background color for each testimonial by clicking the cogwheel on the top right → Style Settings → Background Color. Also in the same section set the padding to 25px all around.
You can tweak the appearance by switching an individual block to HTML edit mode or by using CSS. Note that once you edit the HTML you cannot switch back without losing your edits.
Dynamic Testimonials at your disposal
Check out the front end; the result looks beautiful! You have a sophisticated and completely customizable dynamic testimonials system that you can easily insert on any webpage or post.
Modify the results of the View Block
In order to control which results from the “testimonial database” are shown on this page, you can use the settings on the sidebar. These settings are managed in the top-level View block settings (2). For convenience, you can use the Block Navigator (1) to select the top-level View block.
- Content Selection: select post type (testimonials)
- Pagination: Set items per page with a Previous/Next Link
- Ordering Settings: set sorting field and direction (ascending/descending)
- Limit and offset: limit results, eg. show only 3 testimonials, offset: skip the first x records
- Custom Search: refresh method if we had a search field (n/a)
- Query Filter: Filter the results by a given criteria
Harvest the full potential of dynamic testimonials for your site
The real power of dynamic content lies in presenting it to the viewer in exactly the right context, where it will trigger the maximum emotional response. In our case, we want to show only testimonials about drones on the page where we sell our drone.
We must create a category field where we can categorize each testimonial. WordPress calls such a field taxonomy and Toolset offers the possibility to create custom taxonomies for each custom post type. This is perfect! Follow these simple steps to make this site really roaring!
- Create a Custom Taxonomy. Go to Toolset → Dashboard and click Add custom taxonomy:
You need to actually add some values to your category (taxonomy) before you can use it, this is easiest done through the backend:
- Assign each testimonial to a category. Go through each testimonial and assign it to a category. The following testimonial is undoubtedly related to drones:
- Add Query Filter from the sidebar: On the landing page edit the view and click on +Add a filter
- Set Filter Criteria for the query filter. We want to filter all testimonials (results) by the new taxonomy called Testimonial types.
- Set the taxonomy to be filtered. Check Drone (1) to only see testimonials that have a taxonomy of drone on the landing page. Of course in another scenario, you could also check multiple values. Then click Save (2) and Publish the page.
- Check results: They are stunning! We now only see testimonials related to drones at the bottom of our landing page for the pink drone. How awesome is that?
Thanks for sticking it out to the end! This concludes our tutorial on dynamic testimonials in WordPress. Why don’t you leave a comment if this was helpful and if you have any other ideas where you plan to use dynamic content over static information on your website projects? Your sites will start to rock!