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6 Reasons to Upgrade to RebelMouse from WordPress

The huge gap between current CMS offerings and what the world needed occurred to me during my time as CTO of The Huffington Post. When we were acquired by AOL in 2011, I inherited 53 properties built on dozens of different content management systems. It wasn't long after that I soon realized they were all built by IT people who didn't fully grasp the concepts of traffic and distribution. That's why in 2012 I launched RebelMouse as the first platform to create the "social front page" — a hub where users could aggregate social feeds all in one place. It went viral with eight million users worldwide. The viral success made me realize that there wasn't a CMS to bring it all together, yet.


One of the main reasons I launched RebelMouse was because I recognized that a huge shift in advertising would happen, and that content would become marketing very quickly. And it did.

Today, I am extremely proud of the powerful product we've created. RebelMouse was built to solve the complex intersection of product, engineering, editorial, and revenue. It's allowed us to create a next-generation CMS unlike any other — backed by some of the best venture capitalists in the world — and is responsible for launching some of the biggest media sites such as Axios and The Dodo, both of which saw massive success upon launch.

But our team still sees plenty of sites — including brands, publishers, and personal influencers — not reaching their full potential. A lot of the time it's because they're bogged down with a clunky CMS like WordPress. We're all trying to publish and make money in a competitive industry that's always changing. But to be frank, WordPress isn't keeping up with the industry fast enough. There's a lot you need in and out of a CMS to survive and succeed in this digital climate, and we've created a solution that quickly responds to every industry shift and algorithm curveball.

Here are six reasons why RebelMouse is different from WordPress and worthy of a replatforming process that's simple and can be completed in a matter of days.

1. RebelMouse Is a Centralized CMS

RebelMouse is a centralized CMS, unlike other common web solutions like WordPress and Drupal. WordPress is a decentralized model that requires every platform update to be completed independently. This means that — of the 87 million plus versions of WordPress that are currently live on the internet — each update has to be implemented one by one.

Operating your business on a decentralized model is a big security risk. Every time there's a security threat, the core developers at WordPress must deploy patches in the form of product updates. From there, it's up to the managing developers of each individual site to deploy and configure around these updates to avoid breaking custom code and plugins. And this happens a lot. Since its launch in 2003, WordPress has released 238 product updates, many of them to address gaps in security.

Since we operate on a centralized model, every update on our platform is updated at one time, and sometimes multiple times a day. Usually our clients never notice the difference. We protect the data of our clients and make sure their sites are not only risk-free, but also operating at continuous peak performance.

But this doesn't mean our platform is closed off by any means. We use the languages of the open web, and any developer can easily learn our platform to create high-quality work without the burden of relying on unstable and fragmented WordPress plugins and updates.

2. More Than Just Tech

We've never been one to stick to boxes at RebelMouse. We started out on the cutting edge of social in 2012, and stayed close to the heart of digital publishing ever since. That's why our clients don't get a stagnant software platform like WordPress. Instead, they get a full-service creative agency full of content optimization specialists, social media gurus, and monetization experts. We blur the line between product and strategy to drive success.

Our content migration process from WordPress to RebelMouse is simple. And once it's completed, we don't waste any time optimizing your site for page speed. From there, we restructure your content strategy so you can see results at scale. Here are some of the strategy services we offer:

  • Monetization: We believe saving costs is the new revenue stream. Our lean tech model creates new opportunities for monetization, and our strategy team uses data-driven methods to make sure your site is getting maximum return.
  • Social: In 2018, engagement is the key metric to watch to drive sustainable growth. Using our social tools, we can help you create deep connections that spark conversation in the social ecosystem.
  • Audience Loyalty: It's easy to have viral moments both on site and via social, but those instances can be fleeting. Organic loyalty is what's required to ensure steady growth. We help you take advantage of the social ecosystem's universe of creators and influencers to help you grow a loyal community.
  • Search: The RebelMouse CMS has the tools to help you optimize each post for SEO. LIke everything else in the current digital climate, the strategy around search is always changing. We'll make sure your current efforts are up to snuff.

3. User-Focused Site Experience

Media sites have become really complicated over time. The industry let intrusive ads take over the internet, and now we're all left cleaning up the mess and re-prioritizing user experiences to get users back and make them stick. When we launched Axios on our new Social UX for Media layout in 2017, it mimicked the social feeds to drive more pageviews, engagement, and user satisfaction. It's a design structure that sees success on our other properties, too, including Dance Magazine and EcoWatch.

Our platform also has a powerful layout tool called Particle Assembler which creates beautiful designs. Instead of leaning heavily on an expensive developer team, Particle Assembler lets content creators design gorgeous layouts within a few clicks. Whatever works best for your brand, we'll guide you through the right design and site navigation that will bring next-level growth to your business.

4. Better Social Distribution Tools

A lot of publishers were slower to understand the importance of distributed publishing when digital started to gain steam. Luckily, it's something we've been working to perfect since we launched our CMS in 2012. Producing quality content is only half the battle — after all, there's no point in publishing engaging content if nobody is around to read it. This is why dynamic distribution is so important in order to succeed in today's digital world. And the good news is that tackling this doesn't have to be a solo effort.

At RebelMouse, we believe we live in a universe of creators. Not only will your fellow creators take interest in the topics you publish about, but they'll also share your content and validate your message.

That's why we created Discovery, an important part of our enterprise-level toolset that's available from right within our Entry Editor where you create articles. Using proprietary technology, Discovery enables you to identify key pages and profiles that could be interested in sharing your content. And through varying levels of social outreach, you can repurpose and share content from your Discovery findings in a way that validates the original message of those influencers. From there, you amplify the content through your own social channels.

This sharing cycle has led to the success of some of our biggest clients. The Dodo — one of the most successful new media companies to date — used Discovery to become the center of all things animals on the internet. It can do this for you, too.

5. Modern Authoring Tools

Chances are the CMS platform you're using was created before social. If that's true, you may still view content on your website and in social feeds as two different entities you have to control and manage. We're here to blur those lines for you and take publishing where it needs to be in 2018.

Our Entry Editor isn't simply a way to publish articles. It's a full-blown toolset for content creators. Before each piece of content is pushed live, it can be optimized for design, social, and SEO. We've also created a new content workflow that ensures every content team is on the most efficient path to publish.

Your writers, editors, creators, and community deserve tools that make them fast and efficient. It's also important that they follow a process that enforces best practices, so that the CMS itself is training your team with every post as they onboard.

6. Easy-to-Understand Analytics

It's important for you to manage your writers, see their performance, enable them to learn from each other, and help them become data driven. RebelMouse analytics provide you with a clear view of who is performing, what posts are working, and where that content is gaining traction.

Our CMS operates on a data-driven product cycle. Everything we release at RebelMouse is subjected to a small percentage of traffic and A/B tested for performance impact. Our testing includes how each version affects pagespeed and user experience. We then take these results and check to see how they correlate with bounce rate, time on site, pages per session, and conversion to goals — such as shares, subscriptions, and purchases. We also take big data and distill it into easy-to-consume insights that you can quickly act upon. You can view how each post is performing on search and social, right from within the Entry Editor.

In addition, we have a deep Google Analytics integration, so you can easily add in components, promos, third-party units, and ad units. But most importantly, as these pieces are being added, they're set up in staged environments automatically, and the traffic performance from these tests can be traced back to impact on bounce rate, pages per session, session duration, number of shares, percent of shares per visit, and unique custom goals for your business.

Let's Start Working Together

We migrate sites from WordPress all the time, and it's a fast process. Even if replatforming isn't an option for you at the moment, we can still offer you our creative agency services to make sure you're reaching your biggest audience possible. Let's create something together. Request a proposal to get in contact with a Rebel.

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Meet RebelMouse

Build on a better platform that supports far-reaching content distribution, impactful conversion, and unparalleled loyalty.

The world's largest companies trust us to power their global, multiplatform content experience. As a platform, we're now one of the largest in the world, reaching 50+ million people every month. As a creative agency, we build mass pop culture hits that grow organically to become household names — Axios and The Dodo, for example.

We work strategically with United Airlines and many other brands to establish the new media roadmap for their future and implement it. RebelMouse was founded by the CTO who built The Huffington Post. The founding vision and mission is still the same today: to be the right new media platform for both media companies and brands. It's working exceedingly well, and we're delivering some staggering results for our clients.

Read our latest deck here!

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Target High-Value Users With Affinity Categories

Unlock valuable audience data and shape a new strategy

In today's landscape, quality content isn't enough — it's half the battle. Publishers need to produce shareable content backed by data to experience sustainable growth. At RebelMouse, we have a unique pageview methodology that provides an innovative user experience for every reader without sacrificing revenue and growth opportunities for publishers.

To do this, we track massive amounts of data across our platform through the use of custom-built Google Data Studio dashboards.

Click here to see the kind of growth our clients experience every day.

One of the best ways to discover more about your audience is by taking advantage of Affinity Categories. This feature breaks down audience demographics, including age, location, interests, and more. Affinity Categories are usually used to target audiences for ads, but we also use them to gain insights on what topics a site's visitors are interested in overall.

Normally, each category is listed out separately in Google Analytics. In the example shown above, our data experts split categories into separate levels to reveal different levels of audience depth. For instance, by splitting up the category News & Politics, we can better explore the detailed distribution of users interested in specific types of news:

  • News & Politics/Avid News Readers/Avid Political News Readers
  • News & Politics/Avid News Readers/Entertainment News Enthusiasts

From an editorial standpoint, this is useful because it allows publishers to determine and target varying levels of high-value users, improving the efficacy of a new content strategy or ad campaign.

If your site is already powered by RebelMouse, email support@rebelmouse.com to get a breakdown of your audience's Affinity Categories. If you aren't powered by RebelMouse yet, request a proposal today and start receiving the data you need to grow loyal followers at scale.

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Infinite Scroll: An Innovative + Intuitive UX

There is a common misconception that publishers have to sacrifice monetization and professional design to deliver a high-performing, quality user experience to its readers. But in today's modern publishing environment, websites can deliver an unobtrusive site experience that's intuitive, elegant, and prosperous.

To do this consistently, RebelMouse supports infinite scroll as part of our bigger design strategy called Social UX for Media. Much like the news feeds of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, infinite scroll provides an endless stream of articles to its readers so they never reach the "end" of your content.

Infinite scroll is an innovative approach, but it is also a widely adopted standard that has been endorsed and is supported officially by Google, Comscore, Nielsen, and many other industry giants. It's part of a new media strategy deployed by companies with massive valuations and the highest level of visibility in the U.S. market, including Axios, Vice, and The Verge.

In fact, RebelMouse built and launched news powerhouse Axios, now one of the biggest new media companies to date, with our Social UX for Media design featuring infinite scroll. It's still a core part of Axios' successful publishing strategy today. The feature has also been key to the growth of many other RebelMouse-powered properties, including La Verità, Dance Magazine, and United Airlines.

RebelMouse's Social UX for Media design, featuring infinite scroll on hub.united.com.

The primary reason infinite scroll is so successful is because it mimics user behavior in an innovative, yet familiar way, thanks to its similarity to social feeds. On mobile, expandable posts make it easy for users to read "before the jump" and quickly expand to the rest of the article with one click, rather than being taken to another article page. This is similar to when a user expands a caption on Instagram. It's these simple design details that bring massive growth to key stats like return visits and time on site.

Our page view methodology not only keeps the user experience intact, it also includes robust ad serving technology. We use industry standard rules for page views that require at least 50% of the screen space to change before it counts as a new page view. So whether you use Comscore or Nielsen to verify your site traffic, infinite scroll will not have a negative impact on your insights.

If you're interested in launching a site with our game-changing Social UX for Media design, request a proposal today and let's start working together. If your site is already powered by RebelMouse, and you have questions about infinite scroll, email support@rebelmouse.com.

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Particle Assembler: Ads in Slideshows Now Supported

You can now insert ads between slides in a slideshow!

Monetizing users' engagement and page views is pivotal to most digital businesses, and our Particle Assembler has been an invaluable tool in helping RebelMouse clients to insert native ads seamlessly into their content. Now we've taken this functionality one step further by introducing support for ads between slides in Assembler's slideshow layout.

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Inside RebelMouse’s Quality Assurance Operations

How We've Perfected Stress-Free Publishing

At RebelMouse, we like to refer to our enterprise publishing platform as "lean tech." Most publishers have a natural inclination to start doubling down on teams of developers who try to build unique experiences to help stand out above the noise. But they should actually be doing the opposite: Lean tech is the preferred way to cut through content saturation. By allowing RebelMouse to obsess over your product, content producers, editors, managers, and everyone in between can focus on creating quality content and taking advantage of opportunities to leverage distributive publishing strategies that create real revenue growth.

One of the major reasons we're able to maintain a lean tech environment is thanks to our approach to quality assurance (QA). We make updates to our platform daily to ensure our clients always have access to the most robust, high-performing, and secure version of our platform. Behind the scenes, this means having a solid QA structure that's efficient, creates less bugs, and catches the ones that do pop up before they go live. It's a system of checks and balances that's hard and costly to replicate on a custom CMS. Here's a glimpse into how it works.

Our Tech Stack Toolbox

  • Cucumber
  • Java
  • Junit
  • Maven
  • Selenium WebDriver
  • TeamCity
  • Zalenium (Selenium Grid)

Our Checks and Balances Workflow

Automated Regression Testing Cycle

The Lifecycle of a Product Update

When an update is first made to RebelMouse, TeamCity immediately triggers the start of automated tests to review integrity.

TeamCity Build

TeamCity Agent

The tests run in parallel on TeamCity's Build Agent. Next, Zalenium creates docker containers with browsers that matches the count of parallel threads. An Allure report is then generated from the test results, which shows the state of the application after the update.

Allure Report Pass

If a test doesn't complete successfully, the testing framework receives a video with a failed test and attaches it to the Allure report.

Allure Report Issue

Based on the report analysis, a QA specialist will create a "bug" ticket in our product management software to address the issue if needed. Then, information about the bug is immediately sent to the project manager and we begin the process of correcting the problem.

The media powerhouses we power can publish with confidence knowing that any product issues that arise are met with a tried-and-true process to fix the problem with little-to-no disturbance to their workflow. If you have any questions about this process, please email support@rebelmouse.com.

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Related Posts vs. Posts in Assembler

Here's the difference between Related Posts and Posts in Assembler.

By using Related Posts and Posts in Assembler, you can help your audience stay engaged with your site's content and generate more traffic. Both of these features can be added to any post through Entry Editor.

When creating or editing a post, you can add a Related Posts section to the bottom of it that consists of a selection of existing posts on your site that you choose to surface. Only the main image and content headline are pulled, along with a link to the original post. This is similar to the Around the Web section that also shows up at the end of your post when you enable it from the SEO tab of Entry Editor.

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Site Accessibility on RebelMouse

In today's digital world, it's more important than ever to ensure that your website is accessible to all users regardless of any disability they may have. Google recognizes how important this is, and now includes an accessibility score in their PageSpeed Insights tool to alert site owners when their site's level of accessibility is not up to par.

Although website accessibility does not directly impact page speed scores, it's quickly becoming an industry standard amongst forward-thinking companies. One key way to ensure your website is making the accessibility grade is through the use of Accessible Rich Internet Applications, or ARIA for short.

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RebelMouse Makes the List of Fastest-Growing Private Companies — the Inc. 5000

Ranking No. 4,664 With Three-Year Revenue Growth of 61%

Inc. magazine today revealed that RebelMouse is 4,664 on its annual Inc. 5000 list, the most prestigious ranking of the nation's fastest-growing private companies. The list represents a unique look at the most successful companies within the American economy's most dynamic segment — its independent small businesses. Microsoft, Dell, Domino's Pizza, Pandora, Timberland, LinkedIn, Yelp, Zillow, and many other well-known names gained their first national exposure as honorees on the Inc. 5000.

RebelMouse blends product and strategy together to move the needle where it matters most: organic traffic and user growth, conversion to loyalty, and revenue growth.

Our next-generation CMS seamlessly adapts to every industry. We've helped launch some of the biggest new media companies to date, and have also propelled brands like United Airlines, PAPER Magazine, and Dance Magazine to success in the digital and social space. Our creative agency has a unique advantage because of our access to incredible amounts of data. We understand new media better than anyone else in the world, and we help media companies modernize and leapfrog competitors. In addition, we help developer, digital, and editorial teams become best-in-class content marketers.

RebelMouse's team spans dozens of countries and nearly all time zones. Our founder and CEO Andrea Breanna is proudly transgender, and prioritizes more women and LGBTQ+ representation in the tech space. As a company breaking industry norms, we're excited to be featured in the 2019 Inc. 5000.

"I'm proud that we're building a lasting, valuable company in a different way. We have a truly diverse global team that puts women and LGBTQ+ people first," Breanna said.

The 2019 Inc. 5000 achieved an astounding three-year average growth of 454%, and a median rate of 157%. The Inc. 5000's aggregate revenue was $237.7 billion in 2018, accounting for 1,216,308 jobs over the past three years. Complete results of the Inc. 5000, including company profiles and an interactive database that can be sorted by industry, region, and other criteria, can be found at www.inc.com/inc5000.

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