I am focusing on initial goals of performance and light pages using ASP.NET Core MVC with Dapper for data access. I am using no JS framework or CSS library, as they are complete overkill. This will be fast and simple, and simple is fast. With Orchard the average page load was at least 250ms, and now it is under 70ms. In the basic scenario where minified JS (445B) and CSS (1KB) are cached, page weight is less than 5KB.
As of now content is manually entered into the MS SQL Server backend and uploaded via FTP. I will eventually build administration pages, likely utilizing the major OIDC identity providers for authentication/authorization. Local authentication is a larger endeavor than most realize and is unnecessary more often than not.
I'm enthused about the progress so far and have a few ideas how things can advance further.