One of the most suggested means of getting traffic to a site in the early stages is to get involved in messageboard and e-mail discussions on your topic of choice. The idea is that you can show your expertise and therefore get traffic to your site via your signature file (most discussion lists allow you to include your signature file with your post - a few lines with your name, site address and maybe a very brief description). Whilst this is a valid tip, I don't believe that the real reason for why you should do this has been investigated far enough previously.
Firstly, if you post an ad for your site on a discussion list, your are spamming and will create a bit of a fiasco. This does not make good business sense. So, the way to do it is to look for people asking questions and answer them. The issue here is your reasons for doing this. If your reason is purely to drive traffic to your site, you probably won't be terribly successful and, sometimes, people will work out what you are up to. Therefore, your goal should be to be seen as an expert in your field, not to get traffic to your site.
Even if you don't include a signature with your posts, you can still make a name for yourself and, in the long term, this will prove to be a far more profitable approach. I have visited many discussion lists in my time and it is easy to see the people that have gained respect. From a business point of view, they are the ones who will benefit from this approach, not the people who post simple answers to try to get an immediate effect.
Your goal must always be to achieve success in your online venture and your personal credibility will play a major role in this. So, when looking at marketing on messageboards and in E-mail discussion lists, establishing your credentials as an expert in your field must be your number one priority, not short term traffic generation methods.
About The Author
Sean Burns is the author of the WebmastersReference.com Newsletter - http://www.webmastersreference.com/newsletter. More than five years of experience in site design, marketing, income generation, search engine optimisation and more is passed on to subscribers - hype free. Sign up today to get real information of real value to webmasters.