Blog

Sitecore to WordPress CMS Migration

Seattle Foundation WordPress website

Committed to Accessible WordPress Websites for Nonprofits

This project involved cloning the existing Seattle Foundation visual layout and design from a website powered by Sitecore into a new more accessible, performance-optimized site powered by a WordPress Content Management System.

Foundation staff wanted a CMS that was simpler and easier to maintain. Project challenges included poorly structured Sitecore-exported XML data files, a low contrast color palette, and a short timeline. Content management was the primary dependency for the new website launch, since hundreds of posts needed to be migrated.

The site is working great! We love it and you did a fantastic job.
Jason Jystad, IT Operations Director

Scope of Work

  • Accessibility Consulting
  • Database Content Migration
  • Performance Optimization
  • WordPress Theme Development

Performance

Mobile speed index improved 69%, from ~9.5 to 2.5 seconds [source: WebPageTest]. This was achieved by reducing overall homepage size 89% – from 5.7 Mb to 639 Kb, and significantly reducing Javascript 95% – from 2.2 Mb to 112 Kb. Overall, web server requests, the primary contributor to slow page loads, decreased 49%. Finally, DNS management was moved to a Cloudflare CDN for better performance, redundancy and security.

Accessibility

Improvements include higher contrast colors to better adhere to Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG); increased font sizes; a navigation skip link; and removal of auto-rotating content sliders.

Before & After Performance Comparison

Performance Metricformer Sitecore CMS homepage (Nov 2022)
New WordPress homepage (December 2022)
Google Lighthouse: Accessibility87/100100/100
Google Lighthouse: Best Practices75/10092/100
Google Lighthouse: Mobile Speed46/10079/100
Google Lighthouse: Desktop Speed60/10099/100
Google Lighthouse: Search Engine Optimization83/10093/100
WebPageTest Speed Index9.4682.473
Total Homepage File Size5.733 Mb (3.01 Mb Images + 2.2 Mb Scripts + 398Kb CSS + 162 Kb Fonts + 67 Kb HTML)639 Kb (302 Kb Images + 112 Kb Scripts + 69 Kb CSS + 150 Kb Fonts + 21 Kb HTML)
Total Web Server Requests59 (24 Images + 19 Scripts + 8 CSS + 7 Other + 1 HTML)30 (8 Images + 3 Scripts + 9 CSS + 3 Other + 1 HTML)
Approximate Homepage Load Time (mobile)~9.5 seconds~2.5 seconds

WebPage Test Speed Index: median = ~3.591; top 10% = <1.388
In 2021, the average page size = ~2.4 Mb and median page size = ~2.1 Mb.
Database-driven websites, like WordPress, are more performance optimized when server requests are < 40 – 60.

Seattle Foundation manages over $1 billion in philanthropic investments. 2022 marks the 1-year anniversary of the Foundation’s REPAIR initiative (Racially Equitable Philanthropy Aimed at Initiating Relationships), with a minimum investment of $25 million to Black-led organizations around Seattle; and its Center for Community Partnerships striving to achieve greater racial and economic equity in the region. The Foundation also incubated SkillUp Washington – a workforce funders collaborative connecting employers, post-secondary training and low-income adults.

WordPress Theme Development: Scott Marlow

WordPress Consulting for Private Companies and Nonprofit Organizations

Environmental Services firm website screenshot

A website conversion from Joomla into WordPress for SoundEarth Strategies, a professional services firm that provides environmental and engineering consulting services in the Pacific Northwest. The marcom staff wanted to clone the existing Joomla website into a more intuitive, user-friendly WordPress CMS, already in use by a subsidiary.

Like WordPress, Joomla is a PHP-based open source Content Management System. With an estimated 2.5% share of market – it is estimated to be the fifth most popular CMS after WordPress (65% market share), Shopify (6.5%), Wix (3.4%) and Squarespace (3%). There are approximately 6,000 extensions available for Joomla vs. over 60,000 for WordPress.

Scope of Work

  • Accessibility Consulting
  • Database Content Migration
  • Performance Optimization
  • WordPress Theme Development

WebPageTest Speed Index shows a 62% improvement in mobile page load speed by reducing web server requests almost 20% and reducing page size from 3 Mb to 2 Mb.

Google Lighthouse accessibility benchmarks also improved markedly from 79 to 98/100. This is important for federal contractors who
must legally follow Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) level AA under the American Disabilities Act. Improvements included accessible form fields, increased font sizes, and higher color contrast ratios.

Before & After Performance Comparison

Performance MetricOld Joomla Homepage
New WordPress Homepage
Google Lighthouse: Accessibility79/10098/100
Google Lighthouse: Best Practices92/10092/100
Google Lighthouse: Mobile Speed62/10087/100
Google Lighthouse: Desktop Speed89/10087/100
Google Lighthouse: Search Engine Optimization84/10093/100
WebPageTest Speed Index6.7672.588
Total Homepage File Size2.99 Mb (2.5 Mb Images + 295 Kb Scripts + 119 Kb CSS + 117 Kb Fonts + HTML)1.98 Mb (1.05 Mb Images + 776 Kb Scripts + 86 Kb CSS + 39 Kb Fonts + 31 Kb Other + 34 Kb HTML)
Total Web Server Requests50 (9 Images + 19 Scripts + 17 CSS + 4 Other + 1 HTML)41 (7 Images + 12 Scripts + 8 CSS + 8 Other + 1 Font +5 HTML)
Estimated Mobile Homepage Load Time~6.8 seconds~2.6 seconds

WebPage Test Speed Index: median = ~3.591; top 10% = <1.388
In 2021, the average page size = ~2.4 Mb and median page size = ~2.1 Mb.
Database-driven websites, like WordPress, are more performance optimized when server requests are < 40 – 60.

WordPress Theme Development: Scott Marlow

Developing Outstanding WordPress Websites for 12 years

Presenting my latest website overhaul for Early Music Seattle, a nonprofit presenting classic concerts at venues around the city – including Benaroya Hall, Bastyr University Chapel, Federal Way Community Performing Arts Center, Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute, and Town Hall.

Early Music Seattle screenshot

This project involved converting a custom-built WordPress Theme and migrating content into a new performance-optimized Theme (_Underscores). The Block Editor was integrated for more robust layout and styling. Accessibility improvements included higher contrast colors, navigation skip links, keyboard accessible menus, and mobile-clickable phone numbers. A new branded event calendar was also integrated, with the ability for community organizations to submit third-party events. By reducing server requests 45% and reducing page size 85%, page load speed now ranks in the upper 10th percentile of sites.

Scope of Work

  • Accessibility consulting
  • Content migration
  • Performance optimization
  • Security hardening
  • WordPress training & consulting

Site Statistics

Performance MetricOld WebsiteNew Website (September 2022)
Google Lighthouse: Accessibility79/100100/100
Google Lighthouse: Best Practices67/10092/100
Google Lighthouse: Mobile Speed62/10090/100
Google Lighthouse: Desktop Speed89/10095/100
Google Lighthouse: Search Engine Optimization83/100100/100
WebPageTest Speed Index4.4262.804
Total Homepage File Size2.1 Mb ( 1.36 Mb Images + 574 Kb Scripts + 156 Kb CSS + Kb HTML)323 Kb (169 Kb Images + 57 Kb Scripts + 45 Kb CSS + 43 Kb Fonts + 18 Kb HTML)
Total Web Server Requests64 (22 Images + 29 Scripts + 11 CSS + 5 Other + 2 HTML)35 (7 Images + 11 Scripts + 13 CSS + 3 Font + 1 HTML)
Total Homepage Load Time~4.4 seconds~2.8 seconds

WebPage Test Speed Index: median = ~3.591; top 10% = <1.388
In 2021, the average page size = ~2.4 Mb and median page size = ~2.1 Mb.
Database-driven websites, like WordPress, are more performance optimized when server requests are < 40 – 60.

Photography: EMS staff, volunteers and Scribe Music
Videography: Markdavin Obenza: Scribe Music
Visual Design
: Amy Tullis
WordPress Theme Development: Scott Marlow