My personal preference would be to use a syndication feed (Atom or RSS). A newsfeed reader is very convenient, and easy to use.
But a newsfeed isn't universally useful.
- If your blog is private (requires authentication to read), newsfeeds won't be available.
- Some readers can't, or won't, use a newsfeed reader.
If your blog, or readers, are in either group, there's a simple solution - BlogSend.
Under Settings - Email, enter the email address of up to 10 readers for "BlogSend Address". If you have more than 10 readers that you want to notify, you have a bit more work to do.
Use BlogSend still, but run BlogSend through a Google Group. Google Groups are unlimited in size.
- Setup a new Google Group, similar to Blogger Help Group: How Do I?.
- Invite your friends to the new group, and let them subscribe in any of the ways available.
- No email - Web-only participation.
- Send email for each message and update.
- One summary email a day.
- One email with all activity in it.
- Under Settings - Email, enter the email address of the Google Group for "BlogSend Address".
Google Groups lets you distribute BlogSend to many readers.
When a post is made to the blog, a BlogSend message goes out, to the Google Group, and from there to all members of the group.
The latter procedure has its advantages and disadvantages. It's good, because almost everybody uses email.
It's not so good because getting Google Groups posts by email isn't always cut and dried - some email services may see it as spam, unless whitelisted.
If you're like I am, and update your blog posts frequently, this won't help your readers - the BlogSend Address is used only when a new post is made. Updates to your posts don't go to BlogSend, so they won't go to the Google Group, and to your friends.
And if the blog uses fancy formatting, and / or pictures and text artfully arranged together, your email readers will miss out - Google Groups doesn't handle any of that very well.
Test your Google Group setup, periodically.
If you decide to use a Google Group, test the group after you set it up - send email directly to the group, from a normal, email account (maybe your own). Then, if you use both a group, and some individual email addresses (such as your own) for BlogSend, put the group email address at the beginning of the BlogSend list.
Whenever you post to the blog, look for 2 notifications - one directly from BlogSend, the other from the group. This is normal proactive testing technique, and if BlogSend or Google Groups malfunctions, will save you a lot of time.
FeedBurner Email is a robust and versatile alternate.
A third possiblity, newly offered, starts with a FeedBurner Email subscription gadget. The FeedBurner email subscription service is robust, and provides various controls and conveniences to let you setup and manage a turnkey newsletter distribution.
A FeedBurner subscription will support any feed - blog comments, blog posts, or blog posts for specific labels - all of those are potential subscriptions for your readers, and all can be managed through Feedburner.
(Update 2010/12): Blogger made a small change to BlogSend, as a quick fix for a security vulnerability - and as many other changes, this requires an additional effort from us.