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One of the things I have always been interested in doing is to create my own Google News / Digg-like site along with voting buttons and commenting features. Up until now, I haven’t been able to find something that I could easily integrate into my website but last night I finally found an easy solution – [NO LONGER WORKS] Slinkset – and in less than 30 minutes, I had it up and running on my website.

Done properly, this could be something that drives a lot of traffic to your website. The Slinkset features work perfectly (they even have a setting to ban members if they are abusing your service) and with a little fiddling of your website settings, you can have the Slinkset page to automatically redirect to the website page of your choice. Move over Digg, Mark O’Neill News is here! :-)

After creating your account, you will obviously have a blank news page as there won’t be any RSS feeds added yet. We can easily fix that by going to the “Admin” area and then clicking on “Feeds”

Just add some feeds and the page will soon start to update with the latest posts. It doesn’t happen right away though so be patient.

When people start to comment and vote, it influences the position of the story. Stories voted “up” pushes their position more towards the top and stories voted “down”… Well, you can work it out.  They get pushed to the bottom and finally buried. The commenting area resembles a bit like Reddit.


As you can see in the screenshot above, there is a “submit” button for other people to submit their articles.   If you are worried about spam, you can set the site to “private” or “editorial”.  The first one is self-explanatory – no-one gets in without an invitation and is private to everyone else.   “Editorial” is where only editors you appoint can add links.   A bit more time consuming for you and your colleagues having to do all the work yourselves but this may be a good option if your page is being overrun by spam.

Some other options are :

  • Being able to change the colours on the page or add your own custom CSS (if you have the knowledge for that).
  • As mentioned before, you can ban any member for any reason.
  • You can add categories and force submitters to choose a category.  This is probably a good option if you start to get too many links.
  • Turn the commenting system on and off.
  • Switch the thumbnails & images on and off for submissions.  I personally haven’t seen any stories with pictures yet, even though I have added big name feeds such as the BBC and CNN.  So I am not sure if this actually works or not.
  • Turn the voting feature on and off.
  • Put your own text and HTML into the sidebar and specify how big the sidebar should be.
  • Many more.

To have the page redirect to your own site, you need to alter something called the CNAME records on your website.  We briefly touched on CNAME records How to Easily Set Up Google Apps on Your Website How to Easily Set Up Google Apps on Your Website Read More in my last article about Google Apps.   Just go to the CNAME section on your website settings and add a new record.   Just tell it that the custom website URL that you make (in my case is the same as your Slinkset news page.  Save it and wait for the CNAME records to update (in my case, it took 20 minutes).

Slinkset is so easy to set up and has become my new toy to customize endlessly.   If you are interested in setting up your own social news site, you can’t get any better than Slinkset.

If you have set up your own news pages, please let us know the links so we can check out your designs!   Having problems getting it set up?   If so, tell us what the problem is and let’s see if we can help you figure it out.

  1. Create a Website
    July 21, 2009 at 10:38 pm

    I want to build a social network that is like a combination of digg and twitter.

  2. Mike
    July 20, 2009 at 11:31 am

    I am in the process of building a social news site. There are several other options that you have a lot more control over. One that has already been mentioned is Pligg which has a shady developer, a fork of Pligg is a system called SWCMS which was started by a former Pligg Developer and there is also an new template/add on combo for Joomla called duggplazza. There was a add on for Drupal called Drigg but it seems the developer has stopped working on it.

    I have used and like SWCMS and just decided to play with the Joomla system and so far I like it as well.

    • Tyson
      July 20, 2009 at 11:44 am

      Mike - I found and started using PLigg about 2 years ago, I was active in the forums, but not really an insider. There did seem to be some infighting, but I never knew the full story.

      Thanks for the mention of duggplazza and SWCMS, I am going to check those out.

  3. Ed
    July 18, 2009 at 6:14 am

    I've seen a few examples that actually had Adsense in the right sidebar area. Too bad you can't insert a leader board format between story entries as the right side bar area is probably not going to perform so well.

    Slapping the nofollow on all those links just don't make sense to me though, they should provide the option for users to remove the nofollow.

    Having the option to create multiple columns would be nice as well, so you can then really create a Google news like website.

  4. Jabron
    July 15, 2009 at 4:28 pm

    can we place Google ads on the site??

    • Mark O'Neill
      July 16, 2009 at 5:44 am

      It seems not as there is no opportunity in the setup to insert HTML code. You can upload images but not change the HTML.

  5. Tyson
    July 13, 2009 at 5:32 pm

    Has anyone done a comparison of this versus pligg? Or has anyone used both of these web apps and have a comment either way?

  6. MsJosay
    July 13, 2009 at 3:41 pm

    Hi Mark, nice find! At first I didn't see why someone would want to use something like this when there are so many other social bookmarking sites out there but now I see. If you have a large readership dedicated to a specific topic it might be nice to have a site with similar functionality to Digg but covering only the topic your readers are interested in. the customization is a plus as well (the default look is a little too bland for my taste). I myself have just started blogging so I don't have very many regular readers but when I do I might find this very useful. Nice article and thanks for the info!

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