When a user arrives at a website they follow what should be a pre-defined path based on their demographic profile. While traveling the path they go through a series of pages until they reach the end of their journey where they either make a decision to buy, or they leave. The path they travel should be well planted with information that enables them to complete what are called micro actions all leading up to the actual sale or macro action.
In working with store owners/operators, I teach them to think in terms of each page on a website having one primary job, yet multiple sub jobs—these are the micro actions of the page itself. It’s a lot like building a house in that each element has a job to perform which is dependent on another for the completed project to work as it was intended (the macro action is completed).
In other words, you don’t start building a house by working on the roof first. You need supporting structure to hold that roof if it is to perform its job as expected. Likewise you don’t begin building the walls without some type of support to put them on first, i.e., the cement foundation. Each portion of the house has its individual role (job) and they all perform together to accomplish the primary objective. But without these items all performed in the proper order, the entire structure is in jeopardy of failing.
Using the metaphor above, if visitors are not making it beyond your online store’s home page (foundation), then they aren’t even getting to the checkout process (roof), so focusing your efforts there first isn’t going to strengthen the ultimate outcome.
Likewise, making alterations to the product level page without consideration given to the category page will do you no good. You must first concentrate your efforts to those areas of the funnel that are preventing your visitors from completing the micro actions required to ultimately achieve the macro action.
Here is where your analytics are key in determining where to focus efforts at any given moment.
Success does not come from making random changes and taking estimated shots in the dark. Success comes from making incremental changes based on measurable and objective results then having the ability to weight the impact those changes have in reaching your goal.