The Subscription Options plug-in 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this below); 3) A link to a blog twitter account (more about this below) 4) A link to a Facebook page (ours is a little out of date!).
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.
Alternatively – check out Subscribe2, another plug which offers convenient subscriber management, especially for group blogs.