Testimonial Basics allows the user to select a number of options for the input forms, and for displaying testimonials.
Start by clicking on Testimonial Basics=>Options. The Testimonial Basics Options panel will appear. The screen shot below shows the panel.
The options panel is divided up into four tabbed sections.
- General Setup Options
- Input Form Options
- Content Display Options
- Widget Display Options
Click the “Help” button in the upper right hand corner. This help panel provides a summary of the options in each section, and also includes a FAQ.
The options for this section are :
- User role to edit testimonials – You can select Administrator or Editor. This is only for accessing the Edit Testimonial panel. You must still be an Administrator to use the Options panel.
- Testimonial notify email address – Enter an email address for the person who will be contacted by e-mail to let them know that a testimonial has been submitted. If this is left blank the E-mail Address in Settings=>General is used.
- Use Ratings – Select this option and a 5 star rating system is added to all input forms and testimonials displayed.
- Use CSS Rating System – Select this option and a CSS system is used for the 5 star rating system. The input form rating will switch to a drop-down list, and the ratings on the testimonials will be displayed using font icons. You will also have control of the color of the stars and the color of the drop shadow. The best thing about the system is that there is no jQuery. If you are having problems with the jQuery system or just want more control on how the stars are displayed, check this box.
- Star color for css stars – Pick the color you want. Only for the CSS System.
- Shadow color for css stars – Pick the color you want. Only for the CSS System.
- Enable the testimonial rotator script – This is the jQuery script that allows the testimonials to be rotated. Un-checking this box disables the script, good for troubleshooting website problems with potential jQuery conflicts. If disabled only the first testimonial loaded will display.
- Use schema markup – Select to use schema markup. If you choose to use schema mark-up fill out the information below. Even if you choose not to display some items, fill out the Company Name, and Company Website. The reason is that the information is still included in meta tags to help Google.
- Schema Company Name – Your company name will appear at the top of the page if you choose to display it.
- Schema Company Website Reference – Your company website address will appear at the top of the page if you choose to display it.
- Schema Display Company – Display your company name and website at the top of the page.
- Schema Display Aggregate – If you choose to display a group of testimonials then that group is summarized. Otherwise the summary is for all the testimonials on your site.
- Schema Display Reviews – You can choose to only display the summary if you want.
- Group Aggregate Review Name – If you have grouped the testimonials you can use the Group name you have set up for a summary title.
- Custom Aggregate Review Name – You can specify a custom name if you do not want to use the Group name.
- Group Individual Review Name – Check and the Group name you have set up for the testimonial will be used for the title.
- Custom Individual Review Name – You can specify a custom name if you do not want to use the Group name. This custom name will also be use for testimonials that do not have a Group name.
Schema or Google Snippets provides a markup that search engines can identify and use to provide richer content in search results. You can find more information at schema.org and at Rich Snippets and Structured Data.
This is my first venture into the structured data world, and although I spent a lot of time figuring out how to incorporate it into Testimonial Basics, I still have a lot to learn. A couple of comments about how it is incorporated into the plugin:
- Testimonials or reviews as they are called in schema markup, need to be presented in the wrap of a specific product or service. To achieve this Testimonial basics uses a company wrapper. Please ensure the Company name and website are filled out.
- The product/service must be supplied as well. If you are going to use schema markup, then set up your testimonials with a Group name, and include that group in your shortcode.
- Reviews should contain a rating, Structured Data mark-up loves ratings.
- You don’t have to use Schema. Structured mark up will help you site in searches, but how significant it is in raising the importance of your content is debatable. Google uses many criterion to rank your content. If using ratings, and schema markup is not the way you want to present your testimonials, then don’t use them.
- If you use schema markup, check using Google to see how the markup is presented. Don’t just set it up and walk away from it. Make sure you are happy with how Google is presenting your mark-up.
- If you choose to hide the company info and aggregate summary, remember that it will still be visible when Google looks at the page. If you choose to use schema the aggregate summary will be available to search engines, even if you choose not to display it on your site. I recommend you initially display it and see what the aggregate is, before you hide it.
- If you use the ratings, be true to the reviewer and yourself and use the ratings they supply. There are plenty of public review systems out there that reviewers can use if they want to continue to pursue it. Deal with the review by resolving any issues and then add a comment to the bottom of the testimonials.