When Arthur Weinstein was laid off from his job as a writer and editor in 2010, he knew he still wanted to be creative; he just needed a platform.
But instead of waiting for something to happen, he created a website, Listosaur.com, that features articles on a wide range of subjects.
When he started, he wrote all the articles himself but now has several other writers who contribute stories.
Weinstein, who lives with his wife Stacey, and two children, in the University City area, has worked in the media for more than 20 years.
He was the editor of the student newspaper at UNC Charlotte and has written about sports and local government for several other publications. But he didn’t have experience creating or managing a website.
Armed with curiosity and interest about quirky or unusual topics, he set off to create something original. With a friend’s help, he set up the website in early 2011, and it’s been progressing ever since. “This is kind of a hobby that keeps growing,” he says.
Many story ideas are generated from something that sparks Weinstein’s interest. “Probably 90 percent of stories start off as ‘Oh, my gosh, I didn’t know that,’ and then I’ll find other things that relate to that idea.”
Along the way, he’s taught himself the coding language HTML, search engine optimization, photo editing, how to fend off hackers and how to fight those who steal his content.
While there is no shortage of websites filled with recycled content, Weinstein is dedicated to publishing only original writing and puts out 12 to 14 stories per month.
Weinstein wants to engage readers and impart knowledge in a fun and interesting way.
“They are stories that for the most part interest me, and I think would be of interest to others,” he said. All the stories are in list form, which is intended to “be a friendly format which helps readability.” There are articles about history, politics, travel, sports, food, history and others.
Several thousand people access the website, which is free, every day. Many times they find it when they do an Internet search on a topic and find that Listosaur.com has a related story.
Because of the growing popularity of the site, Weinstein said, he has gotten several offers to buy the website, which he has declined. And while there is some ad revenue generated by the site, he doesn’t accept ads he finds questionable. “I want to do thing right, so the site is family friendly, loads quickly and is easy to navigate.”
Weinstein said he doesn’t want to appeal to the lowest common denominator but rather wants to make people think.
“Dozens of the site's stories are ranked high on the first page of Google, even in the No. 1 spot, for common search terms,” Weinstein said. “Many schools around the U.S. have linked to our stories, as have dozens of major news websites around the world.”
Running the website takes a lot of time and effort, he said. “Every day something else comes up that’s very time-consuming.” Some weeks he spends up to 30 hours on Listosaur.com-related work.
Weinstein still does contract writing work but hopes that one day the website can become his full-time focus and means of support.
Allison Futterman is a freelance writer: email@example.com