Forum posts are a fantastic way for new and established bloggers to build traffic to their site. Depending on the forum you use, this can actually be a nice and steady stream of traffic too. Not only will this get you free visitors, but if you position yourself as an authority in the forum, then the traffic can become regular too.
Naturally if you are new, then this won’t apply unless of course you already have specified knowledge you can relate to others. You might be anew blogger, but you are very good at building websites and manipulating code. This type of knowledge will always fare well in any metablog related forum since most bloggers get frustrated when they can’t find a solution to their coding problem.
The secret to using a forum to your advantage is to make your signature file interesting enough for people to want to click on it.
Try to be mysterious, fun, controversial, smart, really dumb or whatever else makes people click on links. Emotions are a strong factor that play into this and if you can evoke an emotion from forum visitors, then you should have no problem in getting that free traffic.
You can do this when you are new too by offering plenty of advice from your very personal arsenal of knowledge as well as becoming a regular. Being regular will get you noticed and your forum status will approve.
Over time you will build up a great amount of forum interaction that will help you to come across as an insider to new people.
Perception really matters and if you are upfront, open, helpful and interact with others, before too long you will build a great forum persona.
There are way too many forums to list them all here. To get you started however I have taken the freedom and listed some below. In the past I have used these forums myself and the only thing that keeps me away these days is time limitations. This obviously answers that question too. Yes, forum participation is time consuming but can be well worth it.
Hope these forums will get you started or back into the swing of things either way.