Any specific suggestions on things to do to improve traffic to a forum?
It bugs me on fishing forums when members don't talk about where they went fishing. There are NO secret fishing spots. None. Similarly, there are FEW secrets for how to promote a forum. There are plugins, mods and hacks that do most of the work.
So here goes a partial list...
1. Meta descriptions might not help you rank but they WILL help raise clickthroughs from the SERPs.
Use a dynamic meta description that takes the first sentence or two from a thread and appends it to the topic title so the meta description is like Topic Title + words from topic. Be sure to have If/Else expressions that will pull the forum description for main forum sections.
2. Hack the software so that the topic title becomes the Title Tag.
3. Remove irrelevant links from the forum view template, links like links to a member's profile.
4. Build links from relevant sites to the different forum topics
5. Use appropriate social media (if your users are there) to engage them there and encourage them to bring their friends.
6. Make it easy to refer a friend with social media and tell a friend chiclets.
7. Make the topic title become an H1
That's a start...
[edited by: martinibuster at 1:22 pm (utc) on Nov 13, 2013]