A Modern Story of Web Performance From RebelMouse Founder + CEO Andrea Breanna

In the first months of 2020, we've focused at RebelMouse on page speed and performance. We worked very hard and found ways to take 90% of the sites we power to 90+ performance scores via Google's PageSpeed Insights tool — even with sites that are loaded with ads, embeds, third-party analytics, and other typical slow-loading elements. You can read more about our victories here.

A few months after we started this process, COVID-19 hit the world very hard. Suddenly, every media company was faced with a huge problem: Advertising fell off a cliff in what seemed like seconds. The only way to survive this unprecedented downturn is to grow traffic and control costs at the same time. So we started to shave our code and made our websites faster. We dropped costs just as dramatically as we were increasing scores.

Here are some surprises we found when doing this: If you want truly exceptional performance, none of the JavaScript and CSS frameworks that developers love so much make the cut. We thought the React version of RebelMouse was going to be the huge page speed breakthrough, until we realized the only way to achieve this goal was to write the code carefully and refactor it endlessly until it was as short as possible. As any author will tell you, like editing a book or a blog post, the revision process is never really done. By stepping away from frameworks, and methodically shaving vanilla code, our customers continue to see major improvements in performance.

As we announced this to our site network and rolled it out publicly, many of our clients asked me personally, "How did you do it?" The answer is easy to understand regardless of how technical you may be. It's perfectly summarized in this wonderful quote attributed to Mark Twain:

"If I had more time, I would have written a shorter letter."
—Blaise Pascal, 1657 (and later, more famously Mark Twain)

The universe is sometimes very beautiful, and especially when you keep it simple. If you would like to start publishing on a site optimized for both speed and sustainability, request a proposal and let's start working together.

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  • Developers can work on different post layouts at the same time.
  • If you only want to process one B test, our servers will load all of them at the same time. Using shared elements prevents this from happening.
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Task & Purpose is a military and veteran-focused media company that delivers authentic reporting and perspectives enjoyed by millions of readers every month. They came to RebelMouse with their own tech team and grew immediately after making the switch. The beauty of our CMS is that you can be either a publisher with existing teams and strategies already in place, or just starting from scratch — we adapt to meet the level of support you need.

Task & Purpose is a wonderful example of a low-cost engagement that has resulted in awesome growth year over year. Their current year-to-date stats shown below, compared to the previous period, demonstrate the levels of success you can experience on RebelMouse when you focus on taking advantage of everything our platform offers. Huge tech budgets are not required to succeed.

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