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
Below are screenshots during development. Do you notice significant changes in the look & feel?
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.
|Metric||ThemeForest (Anima) Theme||WordPress _Underscores Theme|
|Google Lighthouse: Accessibility||88/100||96/100|
|Google Lighthouse: Best Practices||80/100||92/100|
|Google Lighthouse: Mobile Speed||31/100||85/100|
|Google Lighthouse: Desktop Speed||64/100||99/100|
|Google Lighthouse: Search Engine Optimization||70/100||86/100|
|WebPageTest Speed Index||7.523||3.267|
|Homepage File Size||3.6 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 Requests||89 (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|
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.
WordPress Theme Development by Scott Marlow