What It Means to Grow: A Rare Look Into Our Clients’ Massive Success

Take a glimpse at what it means to be powered by RebelMouse.

Publishers large and small will be faced with an important question this year: Build or buy? To generate reach and revenue in the current digital landscape, every web property needs to be focused on content and hyper personalized. This leaves very little room for creativity when opting to host your site via high-maintenance, costly, and cookie-cutter solutions like WordPress and Drupal. This drives publishers to seriously consider the next option: Build.


Building custom tech not only requires more resources, but it distracts precious time and money away from what truly builds audiences: Content and, its best friend, distribution.

This new media company is a case study in how to turn a website that is severely underperforming into a massive growth engine.

Despite the rocky road that was 2018, new media and brands have plenty of opportunity to grow alongside the ever-fickle industry giants, Google and Facebook. At RebelMouse, we've perfected a full-stack platform that brings together the best of both "buy" and "build" to create something that we call lean tech.

After two years on our platform, this client continues to grow significantly, made up of enterprise B2B paywall content and free, high-traffic media.

What Is Lean Tech?

Lean tech means investing less money in an all-encompassing solution that fuels more growth. Our platform was born during the age of social back in 2012, and since then our developers, strategists, and traffic experts from all over the globe have become exceedingly good at anticipating industry changes and algorithm updates to help our clients flourish alongside each one.

This site is a tiny non-profit that has the budget to pay for our platform and use it in a very savvy way, with only light touches from us. Their growth over the past year has been impressive.

There are three pillars of lean tech that we abide by:

1. Full-Service, Enterprise Tech: With developers all around the world, RebelMouse provides Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). Our cloud-based CMS operates on a centralized model, meaning every update and security patch is pushed live to all of our clients at once without interruption.

A massive year for this client with huge organic reach for an entrenched brand. Contests and content expansion led to organic growth on all platforms and deeper engagement with customers.

All of our application services are stateless and covered by Amazon Web Services (AWS) Auto Scaling groups, and we monitor our services' performance and capacity on all levels. We highly prioritize all the pivotal elements of site success such as security, ad configuration, how we code CSS and JavaScript, configure CDNs, and scale servers. It's why we're a high-performing platform that's more than just a CMS. These kinds of processes typically require massive monetary investments in third-party, managed hosting companies — often a prerequisite when you're on WordPress. They would cost even more if created and managed internally.

This client is an SEO and e-commerce case study in using our tools to effectively capture key phrases that drive purchases from users. They have had a phenomenal year.

2. Content-Focused: RebelMouse's platform and its team never rush to keep up with the industry giants. Instead, we've grown up right alongside them. We blend product and strategy before and following the launch of any site to ensure our clients' content is set up for success across search and social in the current digital ecosystem. Our product will acclimate to every algorithm change or update within days, even if it's something as simple as the new character count recommendation from Google around SEO meta descriptions. Before you even realize a change has taken place, our product has usually already adapted.

It has taken this site less than 30 days on RebelMouse to see the growth numbers you see here. They had been in significant decline before us, and the growth now isn't stopping.

Our clients enjoy a comprehensive content suite full of proprietary technology that fuels search engine optimization and influencer outreach with every publish. We also double as a creative agency with full strategy services available. Any custom feature you desire is not out of reach, and there's no product tweak that's too small for us to make if it means more organic growth and engagement.

The move from WordPress to RebelMouse has caused IMMEDIATE, mind-boggling growth in reach and loyalty for this client.

3. High Performance: It would be a little too easy if every site's success revolved only around content, however. This is why we prioritize high-performing page speed above all else. Google recently changed its rules for how it measures site performance through its PageSpeed Insights tool, and many leading sites are now failing to achieve a passing score on simple things such as server response time. We make sure every site we power is scoring high on both desktop and mobile, often outperforming other leading new media sites.

These insights are from less than a year after launch. This news property is experiencing high-depth engagement and growth behind a successful subscription model.

This is important because as digital publishing ages, so does its users. Today's users want a site experience that's unobtrusive and seamless. To us, this is the true path to securing and growing audience loyalty. We strive to create site experiences that are high-performing because it spurs audiences to consume more content more quickly. Being able to deliver this sort of experience across platforms opens up more opportunities for readers, which in turn, creates a diverse distribution strategy. And it's this strategy that fuels loyal followers who generate meaningful revenue. This has always been, and always will be, our goal.

This client is a case study for moving from a bad CMS (that was "good enough") over to RebelMouse. For more than a year they were stuck with either no growth or declining. Since moving to RebelMouse, the growth has been incredible.

The Data Does Not Lie

Our formula for growth briefly outlined above is why media powerhouses like Axios and The Dodo launched on our platform. New media properties like Motherly and The Odyssey Online trust RebelMouse to power their messages, right alongside legacy brands like PAPER Magazine and United Airlines.

This site has been on our platform for five years, and saw another record year again. In one single day, they did 21M page views alone. Although that day dwarfs other aspects of the charts shown, they also had continuous organic growth and worked on premium campaigns with notable brands.

As you can see from the screen shots above, this is what RebelMouse-driven success looks like. The images consist of raw, anonymized data showcasing just some of our clients' increased performance. You won't see this kind of information paired with this kind of traffic growth this fast anywhere else.

Request a proposal today and let's start working together.

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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We started RebelMouse seven years ago knowing that there was a fundamental design flaw in the world of traditional CMSs: Every instance, on every platform, had to be updated independently. It's similar to an era when users had to manage their own Microsoft Exchange Server for email. The costs of managing, maintaining, and iterating on a CMS to keep it awesome and world class is typically a $10 million-a-year endeavor. But even then, these cost-prohibitive CMSs are still behind the times.

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What Differentiates Our Approach

There are many popular tools that allow you to perform experiments and A/B tests on your users — primarily Google Chrome Experiments and Optimizely. But all of these solutions are JavaScript additions to your web page that sidestep the problem of old, outdated, and clumsy CMSs. These solutions work by calling on a third-party JavaScript library that rewrites a page after it's rendered. This approach adds extra page weight and creates strange user experiences due to having to wait for everything to load and be rewritten on the fly.

At RebelMouse, we've solved this in a very elegant way. At the core level of our platform, we can natively render different layouts and track the exact differences in performance when comparing a test to your other layouts.

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Modern E-Commerce: Blur the Line Between Content and Design

Create Modular + Reusable Design Patterns on RebelMouse

Content saturation is an industry-wide problem, and the e-commerce space is no exception given that it's filled with big brands, small Etsy stores, and everyone in between all fighting for similar audiences. The best way to fight this symptom is to understand your audience and provide them with what they want.

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Instagram-style E-commerce Features on RebelMouse

Revolutionizing E-commerce on RebelMouse

Whether you're a brand with a blog or a media company with a site, driving purchasing behavior and building an audience that uses your content to find things they love to buy is vital. We're very proud to have built out the same functionality that everyone is now used to on Instagram, with layovers on images that lead to products with attribution.

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Building Premium Communities and User Journeys on RebelMouse

RebelMouse is much more than just a replacement for a traditional CMS. Our platform is a tremendous community-building experience. Today's social ecosystem has given us a seemingly limitless number of premium creators who understand how to create gorgeous and relevant content that drives the growth of their own audiences. These creators and influencers are either experts in certain topics, or heavily engaged in targeted content that drives their interests. They're not only consuming the content they're passionate about, but they're contributing to the conversation, too. The new role of the editor is not just to cover the most important topics and people around their expertise, but also to invite those preferred influencers into their community and get them to participate in creating premium content.

Read our deck here...

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Dynamic Voting: Grow Traffic and Engagement Organically

Help your audience find its voice.

Creating quality content is no longer on marketers alone. We live in a universe of creators who are willing to not only consume content that resonates, but play a role in the creation, promotion, and conversations surrounding it.

Since the start of RebelMouse, we've been on a journey to create dynamic media that is easier for content creators to curate and amplify on social. It's why we've built an online engagement platform centered around the power of communities that thrive naturally in the digital ecosystem.

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How to Monetize Your Website in Today’s Publishing Environment

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Trigger New Pageviews With “Keep Reading” Feature

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RebelMouse Outperforms Every Other CMS. Here’s the Data to Prove It.

Our Core Web Vitals drastically outpace every competitor, and we have the receipts

In an effort to build user retention and increase conversions, publishers are making a common mistake. They're adding more features to their websites, including ad placements, but losing sight of the main revenue driver: user experience.

The key to unlocking user retention lies completely in site performance. Currently, publishers are trying to build optimized websites that translate easily across devices and platforms, but fail to deliver an experience that checks all their boxes and prioritizes their readers. It takes less than a second of delayed load time to turn away a user. This is why Google has made page speed a top ranking factor on search, and shepherded the entire open web's newfound prioritization on site performance.

Game Changer: Google's Core Web Vitals Announcement

Google cemented its seriousness about page experience with the announcement of its Core Web Vitals measurements in Google Search Console. Core Web Vitals are three specific metrics that Google uses to determine a site's overall usability. While these data points will evolve over time, the 2020 version of vitals consists of three specific metrics:

Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): A website's LCP is the time it takes to load the main content on a page. Google wants LCP to happen within 2.5 seconds of when a page first starts loading.

First Input Delay (FID): This metric quantifies a user's experience when trying to interact with unresponsive pages. This usually occurs between First Meaningful Paint (FMP) and Time to Interactive (TTI) (more on what these two mean below). You want your FID score to be low to prove the usability of your site. According to Google, pages should haven an FID of less than 100 milliseconds.

Cumulative Layout Shift Score (CLS): CLS determines how often your users experience unexpected layout shifts or changes on a page. To ensure visual stability, you want your CLS score to be low. Google wants pages to maintain a CLS score of less than 0.1.

From Google.

Google says Core Web Vitals scores will be considered across every page, and will be a ranking factor in its Top Stories feature. While relevant quality content will always be the most important, the page experience ranking is now a make-or-break metric for your site's survival.

"A good page experience doesn't override having great, relevant content. However, in cases where there are multiple pages that have similar content, page experience becomes much more important for visibility in Search." —From Google's page experience announcement, May 2020

Core Web Vitals will determine every site's performance score. You can see your site's Core Web Vitals specifically via Google Search Console, but your website's overall page performance is measured using Google's PageSpeed Insights and Lighthouse tools.

At RebelMouse, we guarantee a performance score of 90 or higher via PageSpeed Insights. To do this, we've built out a platform infrastructure that exceeds industry standards on Google's key metrics, particularly its Core Web Vitals, outperforming most industry leaders.

You can read more about how we've mastered Google's KPIs here. But the truth is in the data. Below is table that provides a snapshot into how RebelMouse-powered sites score:

And here's what the scores look like for some of the biggest sites on the open web:

As you can see, there's a lot of data Google takes into account even outside of Core Web Vitals. Here's a quick summary of the other important metrics that Google trusts to measure page performance:

First Contentful Paint (FCP): This metric measures the time from click to the time when a user's browser renders the first bit of content from the Document Object Model (DOM), which is your site's HTML structure. According to Google, this is an important milestone for your readers because it provides signals that your page is loading.

First Meaningful Paint (FMP): This is the amount of time it takes the most important content, what Google calls "hero elements," to load on site. Hero elements are different for every site, but should be intuitive based on your content. This metric helps determine your site's usability.

Time to Interactive (TTI): This is the most important metric to keep an eye on. This is when the site is fully rendered and ready for user action. This is a critical point when slow load time can occur, usually because JavaScript or other complex content hasn't fully rendered. So, in short, think of TTI as how long it takes for your site to load in its entirety.

Total Blocking Time (TBT): TBT measures a page's load responsiveness to quantify how long a page is non-interactive prior to becoming interactive. You want your site to have a low TBT to maintain its usability.

Speed Index (SI): SI is the measurement of how quickly the contents of a page are populated. You want your speed index score to be as low as possible.

Creating quality content is only half the battle in 2020, and publishers are already burdened with the around-the-clock task of creating content that resonates. This is why quality content must be supported by modern technology that can keep up with the speed of the web. RebelMouse provides publishers with a CMS that supports the new content lifecycle with an editorial suite designed for reach on site, search, and social.

Click here to read more about our modern approach to web performance. If you want to make performance a priority, request a proposal today. We can easily transform your site into one of the fastest on the web, giving you increased user retention and better conversion rates than ever before.

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