"the input to keep pages simple/fast-loading will be a huge help to some conversations we have been having-- that has always been my aim and will remain so: Many of the folks who use our site have old equipment or poor internet service, and/or are new to surfworld and want it all very simple but not DUMB."
Looks like you're on the right track. Simple is great. Look at Mudcat - it is stone-age, but it is FULL of information that Google can index easily. Search for any folk related stuff and Mudcat comes up.
That "the medium is the message" approach that seem to be the template for most new websites built now is crap. Websites should be designed to get information to those who want it, not to indulge the egos of web designers who just finished working through Teach Yourself Flash for Wankers.