If there are active forums in your market niche, you may find a great opportunity exists, if you’re able to spend some of your time to develop good relationships within these communities. Besides promoting your site with a signature link in each new post you make, you should actually contribute something else. Making pointless posts and comments simply to get links is not a good use of your time. Building relationships with a community of people is a great use of time.
Even if you don’t invest a lot of time, knowing who is speaking to your target audience, and linking to sites in your industry, is worthwhile. Most forums usually have FAQs and lists of recommended resources.
These are partly “friend lists,” and partly based on who has already established themselves. If they link to someone else in your industry, there’s no reason why they can’t link to you, if they have a good reason to do so. I’ve personally spent a bit of time on SEO related and webmaster forums, talking with a lot of bloggers, designers and webmasters in general, because it just makes sense for me to participate in the community. Make sure you add them to your ICQ, MSN, Skype or any other messenger you use to stay in touch with them and exchange advice and ideas.
When I started participating in forums and building a circle of friends, I didn’t do it to get links to my site, but if I asked all of the friends I have made to do me a favor, I could probably generate many links in a week to any kind of related site. Building relationships isn’t easy and quick, but it can be fun and very rewarding on a lot of levels. You must give in order to receive.