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Effective landing pages can play a pivotal role in the success of your school’s enrollment efforts. As the digital gateway through which prospective students embark on their academic journey with your school, landing pages have the potential to be the driving force behind a thriving enrollment season. However, if you need to follow landing page best practices, they could be why your school falls short of your admissions targets.

At HEM, we commonly get asked, “What are the biggest landing page mistakes?” Common landing page pitfalls include unclear calls-to-action (CTAs), excessive distractions, slow loading, and inadequate mobile optimization, each undermining conversion potential in various ways. Knowing the primary landing page dos and don’ts is crucial for ensuring your visitors are engaged, guided, and motivated to take the desired action. In this blog post, we introduce you to some of the most common landing page mistakes and guide you through effective landing page strategies.

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The Importance of Knowing the Basic Landing Page Dos and Don’Ts

Landing pages are more than just web pages; they are strategic tools for engagement and conversion. They act like online billboards that invite visitors and viewers to take a particular action. When optimized, these pages can be vital to your school’s enrollment efforts, as in today’s digital world, students and parents often make decisions based on the information they obtain online. 

Knowing the most important landing page dos and don’ts can help you craft pages that captivate your audience and effectively guide potential students and parents through their enrollment journey. For instance, through this landing page, the University of Toronto encourages visitors to download the brochure for its Sustainability Leadership program. Though all the prospects who download the brochure won’t necessarily turn into students, the university can keep nurturing these leads and helping them go down the enrollment funnel.

Is your school struggling with your lead-generation initiatives? At HEM, we can help gear the traffic towards your site and ensure students are landing on the correct pages. Get in touch with us today!

To harness the power of effective landing pages, schools must recognize their significance and proactively address common pitfalls to optimize their performance. A helpful starting point is to inquire: “What should you not do on a landing page?” Though there is no simple answer to this question, we suggest you refrain from overloading it with too much information, unnecessary graphics, or unrelated content that can confuse visitors. This will help you minimize clutter and distractions for optimal performance. Continue reading to learn more about common mistakes and discover what should be included on a landing page.

1. Consistency and Conciseness Are Key

Consistency and conciseness are top landing page must-haves. Why? A clear and concise landing page efficiently conveys information, generating quality leads and making prospect conversion smoother. Furthermore, a well-branded design consistent with your school’s branding instills trust in visitors, as a visually inconsistent and unbranded page may lead them to perceive it as spam or question its credibility.


If you want to improve your landing page design, consider the elements that can make your page visually appealing. Think about colours, images, and messages that resonate with your audience and align with your school’s branding. Following this approach will help visitors immediately recognize and connect with your institution and enhance their overall browsing experience. 

For example, the landing page for the Master of International Business offered by Queen’s University Smith School of Business uses a similar branding and tone as the one used on the Smith School of Business’s website.

Pro tip: Make sure your forms and CTA buttons are visible by using contrasting colours. When these essential elements stand out, capturing your visitors’ attention is easier, guiding them toward the key elements and prompting them to take action. 


As mentioned, we advise maintaining brevity and clarity on your landing page. Aim for conciseness to convey your message effectively instead of inundating your landing page with excessive content and text. Think about your target audience when you are writing the content of your page, and ask yourself what type of content they would like to see the most. If you don’t know how to keep your page concise while informative, you can keep the steps elements in mind:

  • Include an attention-grabbing headline that conveys the main message of your page in a few words.
  • List your school’s or program’s key features or benefits.
  • Make sure every word serves a purpose by eliminating unnecessary words or phrases.
  • Avoid jargon and make sure your message is easy to understand.
  • Place the most important information at the top of the page.
  • Use images, videos, or icons to complement your message and balance your text and visual elements. 
  • Finally, don’t forget that it’s essential for your visitors to grasp the page’s purpose and the desired action swiftly. To achieve this, you should incorporate a compelling and captivating CTA.

2. Don’t Forget About Mobile Optimization

Did you know over 50% of landing pages are opened on mobile devices? In today’s digital world, mobile landing page optimization is necessary for schools looking to stay competitive. This practice improves user experience, increases conversions, boosts search engine rankings, and keeps you competitive in today’s mobile-centric digital landscape.

At HEM, mobile optimization should consistently rank among the top five landing page dos and don’ts. This is because, regardless of how exceptional your landing pages may be, their effectiveness diminishes significantly when they lack mobile optimization. If your pages aren’t mobile-friendly, you’ll miss out on a substantial portion of your potential audience.

Example: Moreland University’s Master’s Degrees in Education landing page has been optimized for mobile use. While all the visual and written elements remain the same when the page is viewed from a mobile device, the layout gets readjusted to provide a seamless experience.

Optimized landing pages are more likely to generate conversions, as visitors are likelier to take the desired action. Why? Because pages remove obstacles, ensuring a smooth and compelling user experience. Usually, mobile-optimized landing pages have a responsive design, meaning that the page layout and content adjust automatically to fit various screen sizes and orientations. 

In addition, mobile-friendly pages use legible fonts and text sizes that are easy to read on smaller screens without having to zoom in and include compressed images and videos that load quickly. Thus, ensuring that your landing pages load quickly, fit smaller screens, and offer smoother navigation can reduce bounce rates and increase engagement.

Finally, you should know that search engines like Google prioritize mobile-friendly websites in their rankings, which means that if your pages are mobile-optimized, they are more likely to rank higher in mobile search results. Thus, in addition to catering to user preferences, mobile optimization also plays a pivotal role in your website’s search engine performance and, ultimately, your digital success.

3. Testing for Success

When it comes to landing pages and school websites, testing will always be a must. Typically, when asked about “What makes a bad landing page?” our response often centers around the importance of testing. If you don’t follow landing page best practices and forget to test your landing pages, there’s a high probability that your page may not perform optimally. You might be thinking that you got the design right. Still, if you don’t test your page’s functionality and effectiveness, you risk lower conversion rates and the potential waste of valuable resources.

There are many different elements your school should be testing before you launch your page to ensure visitors get a smooth experience: 


Ensure your form submissions are working well and visitors are redirected to a thank you page. You can use the thank you page to provide further information about your school’s communications process or to encourage visitors to download brochures, course syllabi or ebooks. 

Cross-Browser Compatibility: 

Test your landing page on different browsers. This will ensure that your visitors get a friendly experience no matter their device and browser. 

A/B Testing: 

Compare two versions of your landing page to see which one performs better. You can test headlines, images, layouts, and CTAs to determine what resonates most with your audience.

Usability Testing: 

Evaluate the user-friendliness of your landing page by observing how users navigate it. Identify any usability issues or points of confusion and address those issues if needed. 

Load Time Testing: 

Ensure your landing page loads quickly on various devices and internet connections, as slow load times can lead to high bounce rates.

Short vs. Long-form Landing Pages:

Testing short vs. long-form pages will help determine what works best for your school. Short-form pages can capture attention quickly and are effective for straightforward offers, while long-form pages provide more detailed information.

4. Don’t Include Links That Can Distract Visitors  

The fourth element of our list of landing page dos and don’ts tends to be overlooked but can be vital to ensuring that visitors fill out your forms or respond to your call to action. The objective of a landing page is to encourage visitors to take the desired action, so if you include links to your website or other pages, your visitors will likely get distracted and forget to return to the initial landing page.

You should remember that once visitors click on an external link, you lose control over their browsing experience. They might need help with issues or distractions on the linked website, which might drive them away from enrolling in your program or filling out the form to obtain more information. Thus, a key objective for your team should be to design pages that are self-contained and that don’t have any distracting elements.

Compare, for example, the following landing pages. While the page for The Ivy Academy’s Executive program (left) is attractive, it gives visitors access to too many links, which means that once you land on this page, you can continue to explore the school’s website without following the original CTA. On the contrary, Columbia University’s Executive MPA landing page doesn’t offer visitors any option other than filling up the form. Simple yet compelling, it is easy to see how Columbia’s page might be more successful at getting leads than The Ivy Academy’s page.

Another reason you won’t want to include distracting links is that visitors leaving your landing page prematurely can increase your bounce rate. And, as you might know, a high bounce rate can negatively impact your page’s search engine rankings and overall effectiveness.

5. Include Analytics Tool

Including analytic tools on your landing page can help your school track performance, make data-driven improvements, optimize ROI, and create the perfect landing page for your school. Once you’ve chosen the analytics platform (GA4, Hotjar, etc.) you want to use, all you have to do is generate reports and compare your results with your objectives.

Analytics can also help you monitor user behavior, track conversions, and refine your page for better results. If you don’t know where to begin, we recommend that you monitor key metrics like traffic, conversion rates, bounce rates, and user behavior. Knowing this information can allow you to assess the effectiveness of your landing page in achieving its goals.

6. Don’t Forget to Track Where Your Visitors Come From

Tracking where your visitors are coming from can help you determine the most effective marketing strategies. This can be easily done using analytics tools, as recommended in the previous point. Tracking where your visitors come from allows you to measure each marketing channel’s return on investment (ROI), ​​allocate resources wisely, and refine your approach for better results. Additionally, it helps you understand your audience’s preferences and behaviors, enabling you to tailor your marketing efforts to their needs and interests. 

7. Optimize Your Landing Page For International Recruitment

Although this form of landing page optimization might not apply to all institutions, we thought it would be essential to include it in our list of landing page dos and don’ts because, in a globalized world, most schools are interested in recruiting international students. Optimizing your landing page for international students can be the element that determines the success of your global outreach efforts. When done effectively, international optimization tailors your content, language, and user experience to resonate with diverse cultures and regions. This increases the chances of attracting international students and ensures that they feel welcomed and informed.

To do this optimization, you should begin by outlining your international student persona and determining their needs and preferences. Consider language translation, currency conversion, culturally relevant imagery, and streamlined international application processes. Even if you have limited resources, you must translate the key sections of your landing page, including headlines, subheadings, and essential information.

If you promote a specific program, provide comprehensive details, including degree options, majors, specializations, and course offerings. Don’t forget to highlight the advantages of choosing your institution over others, as well as the benefits of studying in the country in which you are located. Additionally, emphasize the support services available to international students, such as orientation programs, cultural integration activities, and on-campus resources.

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