You are here: Home > How To: Set Up Blog Subscriptions
The email notification plugin that Commons Lead Developer Boone Gorges created for the Commons allows members of groups to be notified of new posts in discussion forums, but it’s harder to create similar subscriptions for blogs. In this post, I’m going to describe three plugins.
Note: if you have not yet created a blog, you can do so by following these steps.
Option 1: Subscription Options Plugin
The Subscription Options plugin is available to all Commons members from the dashboard of their blogs (just click on “Plugins” in the left-hand menu and search for “subscription options”). The plugin will help you create icons like this, which can be placed in the sidebar of your blog to give your readers various ways to subscribe to your blog.
The buttons there connect to 1) The blog RSS feed, which readers can subscribe to through their favorite RSS Reader; 2) An email notification option (more about this below); 3) A link to a blog twitter account (more about this below) 4) A link to a Facebook page
Once you’ve activated the plugin, follow the directions on the plugin installation page under “setup” to add the widget to the sidebar of your blog and configure the settings.
Note that the email subscription option uses Google’s Feedburner to send out posts by email. You’ll have to set up an account on Feedburner to make this work, but it’s worth your time: Feedburner offers not just subscription options, but also statistical analysis and many other ways of connecting to your readers. Also nice is the fact that it sends out full posts via email. Also, once you’ve set up your account with google, the process of signing up is easy for your subscribers — they just need to click on the email icon, enter their address, and confirm it via email. After that, they’ll receive a daily digest email on every day that new content is posted to the blog. If you have questions about the setup process, check out Google’s Feedburner Email Subscription Help Page.
The options in the Subscription Options plugin allow one to control the size of the icons in the sidebar, which is a nice feature. I like the fact the the icons are big and bright, though I’ve resized them to 50 pixels on this and other blogs.
Option 2: Subscribe2 Plugin
Subscribe2, a plug-in which also manages subscriptions, and can be conveniently configured to notify subscribers to a blog via email when new content is posted.
Option 3: Twitter Tools Plugin
The Twitter Tools Plugin, which again is available from the dashboard of your blog, allows you to connect your blog posts to a twitter account. You can create an automated process so that every time a new blog post is published on your blog, an update with a link is posted on Twitter.
Here’s a screenshot that shows the look of the resulting twitter account posts:
As you might notice, I activated the companion Twitter Tools: bit.ly links plugin to create shortened URLs (useful on a platform like twitter that has a 140-character space limitation.
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- Resources from CV/Blog Workshop : CUNY GC Earth and Environmental Sciences on 10 Things To Do
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- Matthew K. Gold on How Groups Can use the Commons