Why Premium Creative Agencies and CTOs Choose to Develop on RebelMouse vs. WordPress and Drupal

The Intersection of Design and Development: Where Your Clients Thrive

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.


RebelMouse has solved this problem in a way that combines a creative expression layer on top of an iterative, highly secure, and scalable platform that is developer friendly. We enable content marketing and media teams to be lean and efficient so they can focus all of their time and energy on driving success. It's why we're the best CMS platform you could choose to help move your company forward in 2019.

RebelMouse: Cloud-Based and Always Iterating

In 2019, publishers need a high-performance site that produces sustainable reach and consistent revenue for publishers. Users need a straightforward content experience that travels easily across channels and platforms, including site, search, and social.

Our platform is the sweet spot in between those two needs. Needs that drive agencies made up of experienced WordPress and Drupal developers to create the best and highest-performing sites possible. But with RebelMouse, you get a cloud-based, API-driven, extensible, scalable, and secure environment that gives development agencies, CTOs, and technical teams a huge advantage in what they can deliver to their clients and teams.

Trying to manipulate big-box CMS platforms into something completely new and aesthetically pleasing requires design overhauls, numerous plugins, and frequent troubleshooting. On top of all this, every WordPress instance is totally distributed. This means that every single upgrade has to be applied individually to each instance — leaving 80+ million versions of WordPress outdated at any given time if left unattended.

This antiquated administrative process requires heavy, ongoing site management to keep these behemoths stable and updated. It's why there are entire agencies dedicated toward only managing and monitoring them. It could cost as much as $10+ million a year to keep a WordPress, Drupal, or custom CMS modern. And even then, these sites would still fall drastically behind what RebelMouse offers.

But it doesn't have to be this way. At RebelMouse, we blur the roles of designers, developers, and strategists to create a publishing experience that is built to support content creators, optimized for distribution and speed, and monitored and protected around the clock — all at a reasonable cost.

​Stay Ahead of the Algorithms

Media powerhouses like Google and Facebook are constantly changing and updating their algorithms. While these shifts may not always be as explosive as the friends-and-family update of January 2018 that devastated some publishers, even the smallest of tweaks can impact content strategy. It can be tough to keep up with these updates on top of creating quality content capable of sustaining reach across social.

Thanks to the massive scale of our platform, RebelMouse has access to deep data that often sheds light on the evolving algorithms of Facebook and Google. The dupoly generates more than 400 million page views and billions of impressions, and our insights allow us to see how that data shifts as the algorithms change. We then take this data and use it to fuel helpful platform updates and strategic recommendations for our clients.

For example, Facebook and Google both implemented heavy penalties for full-screen light boxes and pop-ups. Many media sites and brands didn't understand this update when it first went live and assumed it meant that they could no longer succeed on Facebook, accepting massive declines in organic traffic. At RebelMouse, we were able to quickly help clients understand the update when the algorithm changed so they could update their promotions accordingly, primarily by moving full-screen takeovers to second and third clicks so they are out of the view of Facebook and Google's crawl. It was also at that time that we discovered Instant Articles with a video in the lead media position has a massive advantage over other articles, so we updated our platform quickly to make it easy for editors to take advantage of this feature.

RebelMouse updates its platform weekly to keep up with the algorithms. As other publishers miss opportunities and windows for growth, content fueled by RebelMouse has already adapted.

If you're working for an agency, or your site is currently powered by one, here's more about the kind of experience you'll get by making the switch to RebelMouse.

The Perks of Custom Tech at a Fraction of the Cost

As you'd expect, we have a team of developers and designers ready to create a website from scratch that can meet any client's needs. But for agencies, our role as custom site builders expands and contracts as much as needed. We work with the languages of the open web, and help agency developers and freelancers acclimate to our platform quickly, allowing them to let their creative talent shine with full support from us.

No Developer Operations (DevOps) or System Operations (SysOps) Required

  • We are massively scalable, redundant, and secure. We have multiple CDN contracts, and have every New Relic and monitoring scaling tool plugged in to ensure that your site experiences massive, scalable performance for far less than custom builds.
  • Our infrastructure is hosted on Amazon Web Services' (AWS) cloud. Our 24/7 support team can help you track any errors that occur to help provide as much visibility as possible into every potential issue.

Multivariate (A/B) Testing Tools With Dynamic, On-the-Fly Staging Environments

  • Each new product update and feature release is deployed to a small percentage of traffic, and then A/B tested for performance impact.
  • Our testing includes how each version affects page speed and user experience. We then take these results and see how they correlate with conversion to goals — such as new shares, subscriptions, and purchases.
  • It's extremely fast to make changes to staged layouts, and easy to compare their performance to your or your clients' key KPIs.
  • RebelMouse testing tools are not a JavaScript plugin that rewrites script from the server. Our solution is full-stack and extremely powerful.

RebelMouse Design Is Flexible and Performance Focused

If you're an agency or freelancer operating as your own agency, our content and design suites offer ample flexibility to create enterprise-level experiences for your clients.

  • You have full control over logos, fonts, and color palettes out of the box, and you can completely customize these aspects and more to your liking with advanced HTML/CSS tools and flexible control over JavaScript.

RebelMouse Is a Creative Platform

Often times, agency developers may not be up to speed on the latest winning content strategies. By switching to RebelMouse, you don't just get full product support. You also gain access to a creative agency that's able to guide your site's strategies around content optimization, and drive success across all platforms.

  • Use a premium editorial suite with intuitive, sleek content organization capabilities that require just a few clicks from content creators.
  • The only limits are your imagination. Our team can build any custom features, or creators can leverage the premium suite already available, including contests, e-commerce options, collaborative networks, dynamic ads, and pixel-perfect placements. Between our design tools and APIs, there is virtually no limit to what content creators can do without special requests.

Proprietary Editorial Tools to Propel Your Content Ahead

Wouldn't you like to give your editorial team their dream tools?

  • Real-Time Insights: Adjust content strategy as needed with native stats like page views and time on site, visible right from within our Entry Editor.
  • Organic SEO: Leverage proprietary technology to see how an article's topic is already performing on Google's page one. Then, take that data and use it to set up every article for success in the search rankings.
  • Social: Make the most out of distribution through a proprietary, built-in influencer database that lets you define and reach out to your content's organic audience.

Agencies — treat your clients to a new kind of sustainable growth this year, and join our growing league of successful media properties. Request a proposal today to see what it'll take to include our platform in your portfolio of game-changing solutions.

If you're not an agency or freelancer currently working on premium sites, but you are interested in a site replatform, contact us today and let's create something viral 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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Native Multivariate Testing at Scale With RebelMouse

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

In order to define distributive publishing, we have to ask the following question: If you have quality content, but nobody sees it, does it even exist? The answer is no, because your content needs to be supported in a way that lets it move seamlessly across all channels, especially site, search, and social. But let's take this question a step further: If you can't monetize your content to generate the support it needs, how do you create quality content in the first place?

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Learn More About RebelMouse’s High-Performing Infrastructure

To ensure every site powered by RebelMouse is high performing, secure, and optimized for user experience, we only use the best and most reliable methods to host our infrastructure. Here's a detailed look at some of the services and security measures we use every day to secure maximum stability and security for each of our sites.

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Trigger New Pageviews With “Keep Reading” Feature

RebelMouse supports an infinite scroll feed of content that is mobile-friendly by using expandable posts. Your users can read the beginning of your article that is "before the jump," but instead of jumping to a new page, the story expands upon click to show the rest of the post. We do this with our "Keep Reading" functionality:

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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.

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

If I had more time, this website would have loaded faster

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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