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Subscription Options For Private Blogs

Some blog readers wonder about how to follow blogs, recently turned private by their owners. We see some concern, in Blogger Help Forum: Get Help with an Issue.
I Follow a blog which was recently made private. Its entry in my dashboard Reading List froze, and I can't get it working by removing and re adding!
This would be reader does not realise the results of making a blog private.

Private blogs do not publish blog feeds. When a blog is made private, the feed stops - and the Reading List and all other feed subscriptions - comments and posts - stop updating.

With no feed published, a blog cannot be added to Reading List - though the members picture icon may remain visible, in the Followers cloud.

With a private blog, there remain 2 options for reading blog content, using email.
  • BlogSend / Comment Notification distribution
  • Google+ email / stream distribution
Neither option will provide newsfeed content, readable in Reading List or any other Atom / RSS accessory. Using Google+ is an option, best used with blogs which have reader populations who use Google+.

Blogger dashboard distributions are simple - but limit reader population.

BlogSend (for posts), and Comment Notification (for comments) are a pair of Blogger dashboard settings, at Settings - "Mobile and email". "Comment Notification Email", and "Email posts to" are limited to 10 email addresses each.

Per my firm recommendation, that any blog owner always subscribe to any medium that he might depend upon readers using, that would leave a maximum of 9 readers (less any team blog members, too) who could be served. This is not an option that encourages blog readership growth.

Note, too, the implications with using - and the irregularities with email distribution of both comments and posts publications.

Google+ stream distributions are complicated - and provide more options.

Google+, on the other hand, provides a somewhat less limited subscription capability - both in email, and Google+ stream. Members of specific Google+ Circles can view posts and comments in stream - or can receive email, at the option of the blog owner.

The owner has to maintain both the Blogger and Google+ distribution populations.

The BlogSend and Comment Notification subscriptions are controlled by the owner - there are no options for reader maintenance. Besides adding each new private blog member (who must then accept membership) using the Blogger dashboard Permissions list, the owner must add each new member to the Blogger dashboard list(s) (again, up to a maximum of 9 members).

It will be up to the blog owner, to synchronise the Blogger dashboard Permissions list, with the Google+ Circle membership. Having Circle members who get post notifications in email / stream - but cannot click on the post link, and read the complete post in the blog - won't produce membership activity. Nor will having members who can read the posts, but get no Google+ email or stream notifications.

Google+ post distribution will require some effort, by the blog owner.

With BlogSend / Comment Notification, email goes out automatically - as each new post / comment is published. With Google+ distribution, the owner will have to intentionally share each new post, with a specific Circle - as automatic Google+ sharing only works, right now, for Public sharing of new posts.

Google+ comment distribution will require no effort by the blog owner.

Google+ Comments, on the other hand, are shared to the Google+ stream of the comment publisher (not to the comment stream of the owner) - at the option of the comment publisher. The blog owner may not, necessarily see comments, mentioning the blog - and will not control any comments, that he, himself does not make.

Use of both Google+ comments and Google+ posts, for private comment and post notification, will work better if the blog owner is willing to accept the various oddities associated with Google+ stream content distribution.

Private blog membership simply means more work for the blog owner. If you are considering making your blog private, keep these details in mind.


Michael King said…
I've been using a Google Group to send email notifications on posts from my private blog for more than a year. It's been working well. Recently Blogger just stopped sending emails on new posts. I also tried adding my email address to the blog instead of the Google Group and it still doesn't trigger an email on a new post. Any ideas? Thanks.
Chuck Croll said…

Thanks for the question.

Is it a private blog, then? How many notification targets?

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