Friday, August 24, 2007

Making your Google Group strictly a mailing list

Though it's much known around the web, you can use a Google Group (or Yahoo! Group, whatever you like best) to create a mailing list for your web site visitors or blog readers. I don't know about other blogging platforms, but it works very well for Blogger. If you don't know how to make a Group mailing list, Blog*Star Rat has a straight-to-the-point post about it. Basically, you'll use your newly created group's email address as your BlogSend addy in your Blogger settings. That way, posts are received by everyone who is invited or signs up to your group.

You can also use the Group's email address for blog comment notifications. However, there's one problem to solve. Let's say you've set your Group's access settings so that only Group managers can post messages. That means only you control what's posted via email to the Group. This makes your Group a mailing-list-only type of Group. So you're getting your Blogger blog posts in your Group, and everyone who's a member is getting email versions of your blog posts. Most excellent! But wait! What about your comments?

The address that sends the Blogger comment notifications to your email address is "". That address is not an address of one of your members, nor should it be. If you do subscribe that "noreply" email address in order to post blog comments to your Group, you're going to get EVERYONE'S blog comment notifications. So, what can you do? If you don't already, it's time to put your personal or blog-designated email account's filter/rule feature to good use.

First of all, go to your Blogger blog's Comments settings. Scroll down to the email notification box. If you still have your personal email address in the box, you're good. If not, then type it (or an address made for receiving blog notifications) in the box and save your settings. No need to republish if you're a FTP user. Now go to your email address' account settings page. Go to your filter/rule settings page and click the link or button that opens the "create new filter" page. Once there select the "From" and "contains" options as the filter's conditions and paste "" in the input box. Then select or add the action "forward to this address" and paste the email address of your Group into the address box. Save your new filter. Test the new settings by posting a comment on your blog.

If all goes well, you will receive two new blog comment notifications: one from the "noreply" email address and the other from your Group's email address. You can create a new email filter to auto-delete one of the two emails unless you don't mind. Now you have a Group-turned-mailing list that sends email versions of both your blog posts and comments. That way your readership can keep up with the news and discussions even if they're not at your blog site. It would be nice if your readers could discuss things on your Group, but you didn't add the comment feature to your blog just so it would sit and look useless. Until that time when your blog is so popular that the discussion simply can't be contained in the commenting system, it's my opinion that the Group remains strictly a mailing list.



Blogger Ron Southern said...

Do I?

I may have to ask some questions about this if I ever wake up.

8/24/2007 8:24 PM  
Blogger Lexi said...

Your post does seem to have all the directions needed to integrate a Google Group into one's blog. It's probably the easiest method of forum-to-blog integration next to some sort of plugin or hack for the likes of Movable Type or WordPress.

And I like Google Groups for the fact that I didn't have to go "offsite" just to create both a mailing list and potential community all-in-one. Now if only Groups offered subgroups. Your tip is a good one, so I thought I'd link back to it so others can read it for themselves. =)

8/24/2007 11:38 PM  

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