The Reasons Why Indie Publishers Flourish on RebelMouse

We care about you. We care about you having a sustainable business.

And that means we care about everything — from revenue to traffic to how you can be sustainable long term. By using data across all our publishers, we can help you understand what's happening in the media world, how to leverage Facebook's algorithm changes, where your audience lives, and more. The digital landscape is constantly changing, and we are always studying its changes to help indie publishers break through the barriers of bureaucracy. Our goal is to give you an unfair advantage through badass tech that helps you understand how traffic distribution works. So you can get your voice heard. Loudly.

One of the best parts of living in the age of new media, and more importantly living within the social ecosystem, is that everyone has a chance to go viral. The chains surrounding public content that were once monopolized by corporations and agencies have now been put back into the hands of the users.


It's a thrill that helps new media darlings like Axios take off quickly and start competing in a space dominated by legacy giants like The Washington Post. It's why indie publishers have an actual chance to make a difference. An indie publisher is a website born without major backing from a larger publication or media group. At RebelMouse, we call them web properties instead of websites. It's a more encompassing way to define the many strategies publishers must master in 2017 — from social to search and back again.

An indie publisher doesn't always have to be born on the internet either. One of our favorite indie publishers is PAPER magazine, a leading name in the print publication industry that used RebelMouse to launch its web property. Since then, they've successfully traversed boundaries that once plagued print publications trying to find their way into the new media landscape.

The RebelMouse CMS is the #1 choice for indie publishers like PAPER because of our similar spirits. We're a team of traffic junkies that don't like to get bogged down by constricting roles and processes that hinder quick growth before and after launch.

Oftentimes when passionate teams are approaching a launch or re-platform, they are smothered by chains of command that can slow down the process and distract from product design and strategy.

We build fast websites that are secure and optimized for user experience. We're also a creative agency that works closely with our clients on content and social strategy, monetization, and audience development. We monitor your data closely — usually on a daily basis — to make sure your insights are pushing you forward on a path of growth and meaningful revenue.

Think of it as getting all the benefits of a traditional CMS and a creative agency without the unneeded hierarchy and corporate jargon. Here's how we do it.

Launch Faster and Better

At RebelMouse, we operate off of a lean tech methodology that launches sites in weeks, not months. And this speed doesn't compromise quality. The sites we launch are also super fast and intuitive for users. Our CMS fuels lightning-fast content, so you never have to worry about speed impacting its distribution — ever. It's how we helped create the two biggest new media companies to date: Axios and The Dodo.

There are a lot of factors that go into why we're so fast. Here are just some of them:

  • Page Speed: We prioritize every feature to help with page speed, so users are never waiting for your site to load.
  • Stability and Monitoring: From DevOps to SysOps teams, there's always a pair of eyeballs on your site watching graphs, charts, and trends, and applying optimizations to your site simultaneously.
  • Editorial Efficiency: We care about more than just page speed. We want your editorial + social teams to have the right tools in place for a seamless and enjoyable content creation experience.
  • Super-Fast Product Iterations: The acceleration of history is a real trend and it is very hard to keep up with. RebelMouse gives you the power of a $10-million-a-year team for a fraction of the cost to keep up with all the changes in the industry.
  • Data-Driven Product Cycle: Everything we release at RebelMouse is A/B tested for performance impact and how each version impacts page speed and user experience.
Access to a Massive Data Set: We power experiences across nearly every topic, industry, and company type. We then bring these insights back into the product to make your workflow and processes faster + more strategic.

Reduce Tech Debt

Even in 2017, new media companies still think they need to invest in an expensive tech team to launch a successful website. But websites aren't what they used to be. Now sites have to be dynamic and put content at the forefront in order to build sticky audiences and generate sustainable revenue.

We're able to provide the necessary lean tech for our clients, freeing them from expensive UX designers and heavy developer support. Our CMS gives you all the necessary tools to succeed in the digital world, without hiring a massive tech team to keep you abreast of constant updates and changes. We are iterative and change with the times. Plus, everyone who works at RebelMouse is as fast and fluid as our CMS. The result is an amazing team of people who have fallen in love with particular aspects of the media and content business. And we live all over the world, so someone is available to help 24/7, with anything from monetization practices to backend issues.

Leverage Our Expertise

Here's the catch. We're not just a CMS, but a creative agency that combines technical skills with artistic creativity. We offer various creative services to make sure your website is set up for social success, with content distribution tools built right into our platform. These include:

  • Facebook Instant Articles Configuration and Strategy
  • Newsletter Design and Customization
  • Ads Setup and Review
  • Content Design and Strategy
  • SEO Strategy

We are inspired by intuition and gut, but we check everything against data and are able to see what is working across a huge set of categories and verticals. It's a unique approach, and it works for the awesome brands and media companies we power.

If you're an indie publisher looking for a home, let's start working together and create something awesome today.

Browse some of our current indie properties:

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How Axios Built on RebelMouse

The Axios founding team is composed of the industry veterans who built Politico and shaped The New York Times. They had a vision for building a next-generation media site that would not only win in the world of social, but would also build real loyalty and a subscriber base.

Industry: News Media
Headquarters: Washington, DC
Website: Axios.com

Axios is a new media company delivering vital, trustworthy news and analysis in the most efficient, illuminating, and shareable ways possible. They offer a mix of original and smartly narrated coverage of media trends, tech, business, and politics with expertise, voice, and smart brevity — on a new and innovative mobile platform.



With some of the best writers in the world, Axios knew that, to be successful, they would need to provide next-generation authoring tools as well as a next-generation front-end experience for their readers.

Project Requirements:

  • Get to launch quickly while still having tremendous depth in technology
  • Build a next-generation media property
  • Empower editors with technology for breaking news
  • Build a CMS that manages and elegantly assembles content into articles
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Important: Mandatory Facebook Upgrade Arrives in 2018

The media world is ever-evolving, but one thing is abundantly clear: Facebook and Google, the almighty duopoly, have a firm grip on digital ad revenue. While successful media companies and brands struggle to meet revenue goals, the platforms are reaching new heights. As the state of digital media continues to puzzle publishers in 2017, it can be hard to strategize with all the changes and updates these mega platforms throw our way.

We often see media companies frantically trying to adopt a new strategy to monetize without knowing how to successfully execute. Case in point: The pivot-to-video trend, which has really been more like a pivot to ad-backed digital media, is causing editorial teams to take drastic measures prematurely.

RebelMouse is here to make life easier, and help you with your strategy along the way. Our team of experts live and breathe digital content. We stay ahead of all the algorithm updates, the platform changes, etc., so you can focus on producing great content. We help you take back control of your content and stay abreast of the best monetization strategies so you can bring in real revenue.

One of Facebook's recent updates makes it mandatory to switch to their Monetization Manager by February 2018. We'll walk you through this process so this change doesn't affect your monetization strategy.

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RebelMouse vs. WordPress VIP

After building the product for Huffington Post, and owning the product and engineering groups at AOL after we were acquired, it was clear to me there was a huge gap between what the current CMS offering gave the world and what the world needed. Five years later we are at scale, moving the needle and doing to WordPress what Airbnb did to Craigslist.

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NEW! Google Analytics Tracking for Facebook Instant Articles

We're a bunch of traffic junkies here at RebelMouse. We geek out over data, and we want our clients to geek out too over the insights we provide them. That's why we obsess over our clients' metrics on a daily basis. It's our belief that a clear understanding of data will drive strategy adjustments that lead to real audience growth. But this means that your traffic overview has to be as clear and easy to read as possible. Enter one of our latest updates.

A lot of our clients prefer to use a separate Google Analytics profile to track their Facebook Instant Articles traffic, and now this is incredibly easy to set up in our platform. We have a sophisticated Google Analytics integration that can accurately track every one of your UTM mediums, including Google AMP, Facebook Instant Articles, and traditional website traffic. It's a feature that, if we're honest, Google Analytics does very poorly on its own.

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Strategy Services from Experts in Growth

At RebelMouse, we talk a lot about being born in the age of social. We went viral in 2012 as being the first content aggregator and the internet's first "social front page."

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Meet the Investors Behind RebelMouse

RebelMouse founder and CEO, Paul Berry, was the former CTO of HuffPost where he led product development. Paul has managed small, agile teams for 20 years, but has also led teams of 450+ people. He understands how engineers, product, design, UX, and editorial teams can come together with chemistry that produces results.

RebelMouse is fortunate to be backed by an impressive list of investors, including Ken Lerer, Eric Hippeau, Jonah Peretti, Jordan Levy, Fred Harmon, and more. See the full list below.

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Video Ads = Toxic

Facebook has implemented a ton of changes recently that have been affecting publishers' reach. And while it seems nearly impossible to figure out a winning strategy while juggling all of the platform's algorithm updates, one thing is abundantly clear:

Video ads are hurting your reach.

We're now finding that if you have a video ad on your site period, the Facebook gods are not going to favor you — and you'll most likely see a drop in reach.

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How We Created a New Social Platform for Food

One of the pillars of RebelMouse is our lightning-fast site launches. We love the fact that we can create a successful media property in little to no time at all. But there's more to RebelMouse than a quick launch turnaround. We can also create + customize pretty much anything you want — and we did just that with My Recipe Magic.

Our team created an entirely new web community on My Recipe Magic that is dynamic and social. It's kind of like Pinterest, but for food only. Your one-stop shop for all things yummy. It's a place to find, share, and create new recipes, and it's pretty addictive.

Here's how My Recipe Magic is standing out from their competition:

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