Boglet is a lovely little tool, offering an easy interface for readers to subscribe to your blog for update notifications. This is very nice for readers who do not use something like Bloglines. It is automatic once set up, and works with private, passworded blogs as well as public sites. Unfortunately, it is also extremely unreliable, down for weeks or months at a time without explanation; and, as Easy Bake Weblogs notes, the owner is impossible to contact. So what are our alternatives?
When I finally gave up on Bloglet, I went on a tool hunt. My needs were very specific: I wanted it for a private family photo site; it had to be easy for complete tech novices to subscribe to; and I wanted to know who was on the list. Eventually I decided on a Bravenet mailing list, which is not automatic; I have to send one email myself when the site is updated, but the email goes out to each member of the list (without revealing the email addresses of other subscribers) and since this site is not updated daily it works for me. Google and Yahoo also offer mailing list services through their 'groups'.
Two other tools that I like quite a bit are Bot-A-Blog and Change Detection. These are both automatic and have nice unintrusive interfaces to put on your site (in fact, Bot-A-Blog is just a button that takes the reader to their site to subscribe.) I use Bot-A-Blog on Watermark and Change Detection on Abide. Another service that I've often seen used is NotifyList.
How to decide?
- Do you update daily, or even more frequently? If so, notification is probably unnecessary; your readers know to check in regularly.
- Are you looking for something that will be comfortable for the non-technically inclined? Something that most resembles email may work best.
- Many of these will not work with a passworded site.
- Do you feel you must know who subscribes to your site? Not all of these will tell you.
- Do you want notification to be automatic, with no intervention needed on your part; or would you prefer to send out the notifications yourself?
I suggest trying several of these, and subscribing to your blog to see how each service works. Be sure to read the privacy policies and pay attention to the advertising that is included with the notifications -- some are obnoxious; some are quite tolerable. I'm sure there are many other services out there; if you have one you like that I've not mentioned, let me know and I'll add it to this post, or another.