Proven WordPress Websites that Nonprofits Love!

Sound Generations’ Project Enhance provides licensing, training and assistance for two nationally recognized evidence-based programs: Enhance®Fitness and Enhance®Wellness.

The new Project Enhance WordPress site features an integrated members-only content area for fitness instructors and affiliates across 43 states. Benchmarks across all measurable areas have improved significantly. Overall page size has reduced 93% from 6.5 Mb to < 500 Kb; web server requests have reduced 69% from 59 to 18. These improvements result in page load speeds less than 3 seconds.

Enhance Fitness and Wellness website

Site Statistics

Performance MetricOld (Divi) WordPress Theme
New Custom-Branded WordPress Theme
Google Lighthouse: Accessibility88/100100/100
Google Lighthouse: Best Practices75/10092/100
Google Lighthouse: Mobile Speed47/10096/100
Google Lighthouse: Desktop Speed64/10099/100
Google Lighthouse: Search Engine Optimization82/10090/100
WebPageTest Speed Index6.1212.008
Homepage File Size6.46 Mb (6.06 Mb Images + 205 Kb Scripts + 239 Kb CSS +100 Kb Fonts + Kb HTML)484 Kb (302 Kb Images + 3 Kb Scripts + 33 Kb CSS + 149 Kb Fonts + 8 Kb HTML)
Web Server Requests59 (16 Images + 17 Scripts + 19 CSS + 5 Fonts + 2 HTML)18 (7 Images + 2 Scripts + 6 CSS + 2 Fonts + 1 HTML)
Homepage Load Time~6.1 seconds~2 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.

Other site updates and improvements include:

More readable content with font sizes > 16 pixels and reduced line widths; keyboard-navigable menu with skip to content link for screen readers;  custom-branded browser favicon; improved security, including bruteforce protection.

Project Enhance is a collaboration between Sound Generations, University of Washington and Group Health Cooperative (now Kaiser Permanente).

Accelerated Rebranding for Nonprofit Consulting Firm

A visual design refresh for Alford Group, a minority & woman owned firm that provides fundraising and strategy consulting to nonprofits.

Scope of work for the website refresh included:
a new logo, new typography, updated color palette with a bright orange accent; as well as other layout and style updates to coordinate with the updated brand identity (created by Advocate Creative).

Before (top) compared to After (bottom)

Despite a homepage content slider, Google Lighthouse performance benchmarks remain impressive:

Accessibility: 96/100
Best Practices: 92/100
Mobile Optimization: 78/100
Desktop Optimization: 99/100
SEO: 83/100

Total Page Size: 948 Kb (In 2021, the average page size was ~ 2.4 Mb; median = ~2.1 Mb)

Empowering Nonprofit Clients. Strengthening Nonprofit Communities.

The latest custom-branded, mobile responsive WordPress redesign for Refugee Women’s Alliance. ReWA provides refugees and immigrants in the Puget Sound area with services to help them become independent.

Primary project objectives included:

  1. To improve ease of use: content management, information architecture, and site maintenance
  2. To improve page load performance

One of our first tasks was optimizing 10.5 Mb of full size images to load faster. Other performance optimization tasks included:
replacing homepage content sliders/carousels with more effective user interface elements – such as sitewide calls-to-action to drive conversions; reducing Javascript features; consolidating and removing Theme features; replacing theme-integrated features, such as  custom event Post Types, with more appropriate Plugins to improve modular integration, long-term stability and maintenance.

screenshot of website redesign for nonprofit serving refugees and immigrants

Web Design + Development Team

Visual Design Consulting: Erik Fadiman
WordPress Theme Development: Scott Marlow

ThemeForest vs. WordPress: Theme Comparison

Seattle Animal Shelter Foundation contacted me in fall 2021 about a website rebuild.

The organization was satisfied with their overall brand identity, as well as the look and feel of their existing site. However, the board of directors wanted to address concerns of very poor mobile page load speeds, often in excess of 12 seconds.

Scope of Work

My goal was to clone the site content and mimic the existing visual look and feel – while optimizing accessibility, performance, and search engine optimization.

  • accessibility testing
  • front-end web development
  • performance optimization
  • security hardening
  • search engine optimization
  • WordPress training and consulting

It was easy to identify the root cause of the performance issues: a template ThemeForest Theme, with too many Plugins. Overall page size was 3.6 Mb, well above the industry average of 2.4 Mb. However, the main contributor to page load latency is usually ‘web server file requests.’ Together, the Theme and Plugins generated 89 server requests – including 36 Javascript files. In addition to a rotating content carousel, the Visual Composer Plugin was generating significant code bloat. These poor development practices impacted usability, site engagement and conversions.

Below are screenshots during development. Do you notice significant changes in the look & feel?

Before (left) & After (right) optimization screenshots

Performance Analysis

By switching to a WordPress.org-approved Theme, _Underscores, and consolidating and removing Plugins – web server requests were reduced 64%, from 89 to 32; overall page size also decreased 71%, from 3.6 Mb to 1 Mb. Replacing the Visual Composer Plugin with WordPress’ native Gutenberg Block Editor significantly improved performance. These efforts improved page load speed to reasonable sub 3 seconds on mobile devices.

MetricThemeForest (Anima) ThemeWordPress _Underscores Theme
Google Lighthouse: Accessibility88/10096/100
Google Lighthouse: Best Practices80/10092/100
Google Lighthouse: Mobile Speed31/10085/100
Google Lighthouse: Desktop Speed64/10099/100
Google Lighthouse: Search Engine Optimization70/10086/100
WebPageTest Speed Index7.5233.267
Homepage File Size3.6 Mb (1.9 Mb Images + 1.3 Mb Scripts + 199 Kb CSS + 305 Kb Fonts + 70 Kb HTML)1.05 Mb (720 Kb Images + 125 Kb Scripts + 68 Kb CSS + 120 Kb Fonts + 28 Kb HTML)
Web Server Requests89 (21 Images + 36 Scripts +15 CSS + 7 Font + 9 Other + 5 HTML)32 (9 Images + 11 Scripts + 7 CSS +3 Fonts + 2 Other + 1 HTML)
Homepage Load Time~7.5 seconds~3.3 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.

The final result is a simpler, faster, yet on-brand, website that is easier to maintain.

Site Credits

WordPress Theme Development by Scott Marlow