Most home service business websites are full of jargon and stock photos.
Even when they have what their potential customers want to see most — great reviews — they opt for generic templates and boilerplate copy.
It’s a travesty.
When you’re about to buy something on Amazon, what do you look at before you buy?
When you’re about to use a new service, what do you do before you hire them?
If you’re like 90% of people, you look at the reviews first.
Businesses can say whatever they want about themselves. But you’ll often learn much more about the business by reading what their customers are saying.
Reviews are gold. As a buyer, I love them because they’re full of useful information. I read them to learn about the business or service I’m about to purchase.
I’m particularly drawn to reviews that tell stories.
(If you’re not getting enough reviews — make sure you’re using our Reviews product. You’ll have more reviews than you know what to do with.)
Short Reviews vs Long Reviews as Social Proof
Now, onto the debate!
What’s more persuasive — short reviews or long reviews?
Short reviews are punchy. To the point. Attention-grabbing.
Long reviews tell a story. They draw you in. They’re relatable.
I (Tsavo) prefer long reviews. Chloe, my fellow Convert team member, agrees.
(As her manager, I had no input on her decision — I swear.)
Our founder (Lars) prefers short reviews. His wife agrees.
We’ve been grappling over what customers prefer for months.
And now? We’re putting our ideas to battle.
Split-Testing The Review Block
We’ve put together a split test on one of our most popular sites.
The original page was full of reviews that were 3-4+ lines long.
In our split test, we’ve created a variant of the same page where we changed nothing but the reviews.
It works like this:
Half of people visit version A (long reviews), and the other half visits version B (short reviews).
The reviews on the variant page (version B) are 1 line max.
We’re testing which version results in more phone calls and form submissions.
My hypothesis is that the page with longer reviews will lead to a higher-converting site.
If the potential customer reads a review that they can identify with.
Check out this example:
“I’ve been ripped off by other electricians in the past, but Bob’s Electric treated me like family. When he came over, he gave me all the pricing upfront. I’ve never had that happen before. Other electricians come in, do a bunch of technical stuff, and then hand me a bill for a couple of hundred dollars. Bob looked at the problem, gave me a better price, fixed it, and explained exactly what he did.”
...then, I think, that’s all they need to read to click on that “CALL NOW” or “BOOK ONLINE” button.
I recognize that short reviews are punchy, tight, and concise. They can communicate important information with less scrolling and less reading. They leave room for other content, which may also result in a higher conversion rate.
Here’s an example of a short review:
“They were punctual, friendly, and affordable — the best electrician in town.”
The cool thing about split testing like this is that you can test your ideas. And that’s exactly what we’re doing here.
Will one test give us a definitive, universal answer? Probably not. There are many variables at play.
These tests give us more clarity on what works.
We love learning and testing what’s more persuasive to your customers. And these types of test will help you win more business from your website.
What Do You Think Will Win?
What type of reviews is more persuasive to you?
What type of review would you put on your website?
Leave a comment and tell us which page will win.
UPDATE: The results are now live! See which review type converted the highest in our first Convert Academy experiment.
Tired of a website that’s not doing anything for your business? Check out Convert.
We use these tests to build “smart” websites. And we guarantee it will win more sales than your current website.