Rapid, Data-Driven, Layout Development on RebelMouse

One of the most important things that made us successful at Huffington Post was the ability to rapidly iterate through front-end changes. The success of your website can lie in a number of factors, such as a change in ad configurations, the placement of a newsletter sign-up form, a Facebook share, how well your infinite scroll works, and the order of your stories in feeds and related posts. All of these details add up quickly, and most media companies live with a horribly daunting backlog shackled to a small team of overworked developers who find themselves a week further behind every day.


When we set out to build RebelMouse, solving this in a really beautiful, next-generation way was a core part of our mission. It wasn't an easy problem to solve. That's why I'm so delighted about how our solution makes it simple for even non-coders to create A/B tests to get feedback from stakeholders. From there, we test a percentage of traffic and collect data on bounce rates, share rates, time on site, and total page views. The information is returned automatically with every test run.

This process would have been a dream for us to have at HuffPost. But back then, we had to hack together views of data that were incomplete and cost us dev cycles. I'm so proud that even small companies can now have access to an environment that is completely state of the art, and helps you keep up with changes even in a world where history is accelerating and the changes come faster every day.

Create Staged Environments and Custom Layouts

Using the RebelMouse CMS, you can stage and A/B test different media layouts to figure out how to truly captivate readers and bring in repeat visitors.

Everything inside RebelMouse is component based, so you can assemble pages like Lego blocks. Each component is simple to style, so you can have gorgeous pages that pop, are clean, and reflect your aesthetic. Content is meta tagged through multiple rules that make it simple to decide how you want to highlight your video content, add sponsored or native posts, include outside widgets where you need them, completely control your ad stack, and do custom layouts.

Here's a look at it in action:

A staged environment allows you to build and test functionality without changing what your visitors see live on your site. Staged environments are useful for two main reasons:

  1. You can create multiple post layouts to test performance or customize the layout for a specific channel.
  2. They can be used to stage and test layout variations internally without bringing the changes live till you're ready.

Why Test Multiple Versions

There's more that goes into a website's success than aesthetics. It has to be perfectly optimized for usability, or users will bounce away and find another site that suits their needs instead. That's the way it works in our fast-paced society. User experience is key. You have to make sure your site is easy to use, navigable, consistent, authentic, and stripped of all intrusive ads.

Even as experts in our craft, it's hard to predict which minute changes will make visitors convert best. It's imperative to have a tool that lets you test real-time data and make better-informed decisions that will drive the success of your site. Being able to make data-driven updates and improvements will step up your content's engagement, and help grow your organic loyalty and reach long-term.

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Why RebelMouse Is the Best Content Marketing Platform

RebelMouse is a unique platform and company. The company was founded on the vision that media companies would need an always-modern solution to thrive in the new connected internet, and that brands would have to behave like new media companies and use the same platforms.

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Making Sense of PageSpeed Insights and Core Web Vitals

Page speed and Core Web Vitals are an important piece of the SEO puzzle. Having a quick load time and passing Core Web Vitals are important factors in Google's search ranking and results. But there are multiple ways of testing your speed and vitals, and it can get very confusing to try and understand the results since different measuring tools can result in different scores.

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New Feature: Stacking Sticky Elements

We always love to introduce new features to the RebelMouse platform, and today we're announcing a Double Sticky Bar. This will allow you to have two sticky elements at the top of your page, with the option to have one of the sticky elements disappear after a select amount of time. This can be very useful for an ad or banner you want to display briefly, and then be able to have the space back.

How Does It Look?

It's entirely up to how you want it to look, but here's an example screencast where we have an ad for our new book at the top, followed by a breaking news banner right beneath. You can see that as the page scrolls down, the behavior is set to have the ad removed after a couple of seconds of scrolling, and that it will reappear as the page scrolls back to the top:

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RebelMouse Q2 2021 Platform Performance Updates

Q2 of 2021 was a big quarter for the open web. Google delayed their release of SEO ranking by CrUX report, and they changed their method for Lighthouse scoring drastically. Our team was a few steps ahead of these changes, and we were able to update our platform so sites in our network had little, if any, performance interruptions.

We invested over 1,592 hours into our platform in Q2 2021 alone, and all of the sites on our platform received the benefits of these updates. To break it down into large buckets, we invested in the following key areas:

  • 538 hours dedicated to new features
  • 725 hours dedicated to improving existing features
  • 329 hours dedicated to performance and infrastructure updates

Here are the major updates that we've added to the RebelMouse platform in Q2.

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How to Use the Pagination Element

You can add pagination to section, tag, and archive pages using RebelMouse's Layout & Design Tool. This can be done through our Pagination element:

Using the Properties card, there are three options that you can configure on the Pagination element:

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New: Add Media Bar Now Supports More File Types

The Add Media Bar in our Entry Editor allows you to add rich media integrations to every post with just a few clicks.

Today, we're pleased to announce that Add Media Bar supports even more file types than before. Using the paperclip icon, you can now choose to upload Excel, PowerPoint, Word, PDF, and/or CSV files.

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Google’s June 2021 Lighthouse Update Changes PageSpeed Insights Performance

Google updated how their PageSpeed Insights scores are calculated by releasing a new version of Lighthouse on June 1, 2021. Lighthouse is a tool built into Google Chrome that lets you know how well your site is performing against Google's standards for a better open web. At RebelMouse, our team keeps up with updates from Google closely, and reads all of their release notes and GitHub updates.

This latest upgrade to Lighthouse had a negative impact on one of our previous methods for loading JavaScript in the JavaScript element of our Layout & Design Tool. Performance scores dropped as much as 20–60 points for sites that were using the JavaScript element in its previous state. However, our team kept on top of Google's changes, and developed a new approach that we call the post Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) method. LCP is a metric in Google's Core Web Vitals that measures the time it takes to load the main content on a page. Our post-LCP method loads JavaScript immediately after the LCP event has completed. Thanks to this new approach, scores in our site network have largely stayed intact, and many of them significantly outperform the open web.

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How to A/B Test Mailchimp Campaigns With RebelMouse

Mailchimp has a tool to A/B test campaigns on their platform. You can also use this feature through RebelMouse's native Mailchimp integration. Here's how it works.

First, you need to create a test audience in Mailchimp. We suggest creating one that consists of just your own email or internal team emails. Click here to learn more about how to create an audience in Mailchimp.

Once you have created your test audience, send the newsletter you wish to A/B test from RebelMouse to your newly created test audience. That way the newsletter will be saved to your Mailchimp campaigns on the RebelMouse platform. Click here to learn how to send a newsletter through RebelMouse.

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