I’ve found a solution to send e-mail notifications of blog entries that resolves almost all of the issues I discussed previously.
The first problem was that I didn’t want to post multiple times a day to avoid sending multiple e-mails a day. The solution sends out a notification once a day at 5am. It includes all the posts that were made since the previous day at 5am. This means that even if you post several times a day, your subscribers will still get only one e-mail. Of course, the side affect is that your users won’t know when you post a blog entry. Those who want to know right when a post is published can use an RSS reader.
The second problem was that people were spamming the notification list with bogus e-mail addresses. Meredith suggested using a CAPTCHA and that’s exactly what the new solution does.
The third problem was that I had to disable the notification plugin for posts in the future. With the new solution, posts can be published at future times without having to worry about manually sending the notification or disabling it for that post.
The solution is to use FeedBurner. In addition to a free e-mail notification service, they make your RSS feeds more user friendly, allow you to serve whatever format a subscriber wants (RSS, Atom, etc), track the number of subscriptions to your blog. I’ve been using their e-mail notification service for a few weeks and there have been a few days where the notification e-mail wasn’t sent. I wish that wasn’t the case, but they are serving over 23 million feeds and are probably trying to scale to meet the demand for their services.
The notification subscription form is back up on the sidebar. The current e-mail notification system will remain in place for existing subscribers, but all new subscribers will be on the FeedBurner list.