Word of mouth marketing is everywhere. It includes recommendations from friends and family, influencer content, retweets, Facebook recommendations, star ratings, and customer reviews — basically, it’s any form of promotion that comes from customers and not directly from the brand itself.
One particularly effective form of customer reviews is the testimonial. In this post, we'll explain what testimonials are and why you should add them to your WordPress site. Then we'll take a look at some plugins that make it easy to add testimonials anywhere on your site.
Why add testimonials to your WordPress site?
To understand what a testimonial is exactly, let's define a customer review first.
Customer reviews are written reflections of a customer's experience with a brand's product or service, and 49% of consumers consider them as trustworthy as recommendations from family and friends.
Testimonials are a specific subset of customer reviews. They are honest endorsements of a product or service that provide information about a customer's overall experience with a company and how its product or service provided them value. Since consumers trust other consumers, these specific use cases help prospective customers feel confident about doing business with a brand.
Testimonials come in different forms. They can be quotes, images, or videos found in a website's sidebar, footer, or widget or embedded in a post or page.
Displaying this type of social proof is easy with WordPress plugins. Let's look at a selection of the top-rated options below.
Best Testimonial Plugins for WordPress
WordPress plugins simplify the process of adding testimonials to your WordPress site. Below is a collection of free and premium plugins so you can find the tool that works best for you and your budget.
Free Testimonial Plugins for WordPress
Free plugins might offer less functionality and flexibility than their premium counterparts, but many still provide the features and customization options you need to add testimonials to your site. Let's take a look at some of the most popular options below.
Easy Testimonials is a simple but effective plugin designed for users with varying levels of technical experience.
For beginners, Easy Testimonials adds custom blocks to the Gutenberg editor so you can place testimonials in the sidebar, as a widget, or embedded in a page or post by simply dragging and dropping the corresponding block. There’s also shortcode for putting testimonials anywhere else.
Users can then choose a template and customize it with a customer photo, star rating, and unique background color. Here’s an example of a template included with the plugin:
Advanced users can use filters to completely customize the HTML of the default templates or upload their own custom testimonial template. There's also a custom CSS box where they can add code to customize how their testimonials display on phones, tablets, and desktop screen sizes, respectively.
Additionally, Easy Testimonials offers a pro version with more font options, template styles, Google reCAPTCHA integration, and forms to collect testimonials and automatically populate your testimonial templates.
What we like: Easy Testimonials lives up to its name by being simple to use while offering enough flexibility to keep users happy. There’s plenty of features included for free so you can feel in control of your testimonial display.
Pricing: The core version of Easy Testimonials is free. The pro version is $99 per year for one website, $199 per year for three websites, or $599 per year for 10 websites.
With over 100,000 active installations, Strong Testimonials is the leading WordPress testimonial plugin on the market. In addition to displaying a clean testimonial module on the front end, Strong Testimonials allows users to manage submissions on the back end with categories.
As for visuals, this plugin inherits most styling from your active theme and only includes basic style options. Some will prefer this hands-off approach, while others may prefer more control over appearance. To further customize, you’ll have to use CSS.
Here’s what the default template looks like with few modifications:
Strong Testimonials includes a form with custom fields for users to submit testimonials on the front end that also adapts to your WordPress theme. Another notable feature is the native shortcode builder, which allows you to intuitively customize your form and testimonial displays in the dashboard and receive automatically generated shortcodes.
The paid version of Strong Testimonials allows for multiple collection forms, schema for Google rich snippets, anti-spam protection built into submission forms, and additional templates for more flexible testimonial displays.
For help getting started with this plugin, check out this video from the developers:
What we like: Strong Testimonials is one of the best freemium options available, best for those who prefer minimal customization on the front end. The plugin conveniently adapts to your theme and makes inserting testimonials and collection forms straightforward.
Pricing: Strong Testimonials offers a free version and three paid options: Basic ($39), Plus ($69), and Business ($99).
Real Testimonials is another freemium WordPress testimonial plugin that allows you to place mobile-friendly reviews and quotes in your pages with shortcode. Testimonial displays can include images, review content, titles, names, and star ratings.
The plugin was designed to be intuitive, allowing you to customize your testimonial displays in a shortcode builder alongside a live preview. In the free version, you’re only allowed to use a slider format, but you’re allowed to toggle some settings including colors, number of testimonials per slider, and whether the slider is automatic or user-controlled.
However, the free version of Real Testimonials is lacking compared to its paid version, Real Testimonials Pro. This version lets you add additional info like videos, company name, and dates to testimonials. You also get more template layouts including lists, grids, and masonry grids, plus professionally-designed themes for your display. We recommend
What we like: Real Testimonials offers a pretty bare-bones free version that ultimately tries to upsell you on its paid version. However, for simple testimonial sliders, there’s enough functionality to give you what you need. Plus, the paid version is one of the most powerful on this list.
Pricing: Real Testimonials has a free version and three paid tiers: Personal ($39 per year), Business ($99 per year), and Agency ($199 per year).
The last freemium offering on our list, Testimonial Slider is dedicated to the slider format, allowing users to place these kinds of sliders anywhere on your page. Users can also make testimonial grids — there are two layouts for sliders, and two layouts for grids in the free version.
Like other plugins we’ve mentioned, Testimonial Slider uses a shortcode generator to create shortcodes that you simply copy and paste. In this builder you can control how testimonials are ordered in your slider (for instance, by date or manually), filters to determine which testimonials are shown, and the colors of your slider sections.
Here’s what a slider display can look like with this tool:
If you enjoy using the free version of Testimonial Slider, you might consider upgrading to the pro version, which adds nine grid layouts and 11 slider layouts, as well as a masonry grid option, Ajax support, previews before publishing, and more control over margins and padding between sections.
What we like: Testimonial Slider produces clean, user friendly slides and a solid number of features for a free plugin alone.
Pricing: Testimonial Slider offers a free version and a paid version. The paid version starts at $17 per year for use on one website.
Premium Testimonial Plugins for WordPress
Most premium plugins will offer more features and flexibility than free plugins. If you have the budget, investing in a paid tool can help guarantee you get the functionality and customer support you need.
Testimonials Showcase is the best-selling testimonials plugin in the CodeCanyon marketplace, and enables you to display testimonials in a grid or slider. Testimonials include star ratings, as well as customer names and photos.
With the grid format, you can specify the number of columns, control the alignment of elements, and select the image shape, effects, and theme of the individual testimonials. With a slider, you can control the transition effect, how many entries are displayed in each slide, and what type of controls are used to switch between entries. Both displays are Google rich-snippet-friendly.
Here's an example of a grid layout:
This plugin also allows front-end submission of entries, which means you can display a form to customers so they can submit testimonials directly from a page on your website. Then, you can approve them in the admin dashboard and choose where and how you want to display them on your site.
What we like: For relatively cheap, Testimonials Showcase offers two different formats for displaying reviews and includes a handy front-end submission feature. In both formats, layouts are clean, customizable, and effective.
Pricing: Testimonials Showcase is $19.
The Testimonials Showcase WordPress Plugin is another well-rated plugin in the CodeCanyon marketplace. Like Testimonials Showcase, this plugin allows you to showcase testimonials in a grid or slider layout and to accept front-end submissions from your customers.
What sets it apart from the similarly named Testimonials Showcase plugin is its customization options. Testimonials Showcase WordPress Plugin offers 10 predesigned templates, 10 color schemes, and 10 slider features, including navigation buttons and lazy load.
Here's an example of a predesigned template for showcasing entries in a four-column, two-row grid:
This plugin also has a front-end submission form for collecting customer testimonials, which you can customize to include certain fields and exclude others. Testimonials are coded for compatibility with Google rich snippets to help drive organic search traffic to your site.
What we like: Testimonials Showcase WordPress Plugin is another premium (but affordable) plugin. It provides enough features to support an effective testimonial section on your website, with more out-of-the-box customization options than its competitor, Testimonials Showcase.
Pricing: Testimonials Showcase is $18.
Convert Your Visitors with Social Proof
Using any of the plugins above, you can easily and quickly showcase your testimonials on the front end of your site. This social proof can help foster trust between your visitors and brand and effectively promote your products or services.
Editor's note: This post was originally published in August 2020 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.