Actively participating in forums and discussion groups is a great way to get relevant traffic to your blog. This excellent technique has somehow been underutilized since the days when the search engines decided to combat forum spam by implementing the “no follow” tag. Some people mistakenly assume that because a link doesn’t have search engine value it’s not valuable at all.
That is a big misconception. Links in forums attract precisely the kind of high quality, relevant traffic you’re looking for. In fact, one of my blogs receives almost 60% of its traffic from forum inbound links that I’ve patiently seeded in a few forums related to my theme.
One way to seed inbound links to your blog is by creating a signature file with a link to your blog, and always including it with your posts. Another one is to read through the different post threads and find common problems or questions. You can then research the solution or answer, write a post in your blog, and then direct forum readers to your blog. When you use this technique, I suggest that you turn off your signature file, so that your post doesn’t come across as self-serving.
Other forum strategy that generates a lot of traffic is to create a poll (most forums are run by the same software, most of which support polls). If the poll is interesting, it will draw a large number of readers, who will see the link to your blog in your signature file going when they access the poll.
After you’ve been doing this for a while, you’ll see that other forum members will have become habitual readers of your blog and will start to spontaneously link to it from their own posts. Other members will start bookmarking your best blog posts in social bookmarking sites like del.icio.us or digg.com. I’m sure that by now you see the potential. It’s a little bit of work, but it will pay off exponentially and will bring you plenty of relevant traffic for a long, long time.