After trying out bbPress, I was convinced I needed something more substantial. I really want to build up a strong community of people that know me in person or who just like my website.
The Simple Machines Forum (SMF) I have used for many years on various websites and in fact I have been using it since the very early betas even helping out with some of the support and documentation. So I am very happy to use this software on my personal website officially as of today!
Thanks to the help of a couple of SMF developers, I was able to include SSI into WordPress. This gives me access to all kinds of forum information that I can (if I want to) add to my blog such as who is online, latest posts, a welcome message etc. All I had to do was remove a few lines from Sources/security.php in SMF to make it work without any errors:
// Grudge chickens out and puts this in for compatibility. This will be ripped out on day one for SMF 1.2 though ;)
Then it was just a matter of adding the usual line that forum/ssi_examples.php asks you to insert (which you insert into header.php on the top line) and job is done!
Enjoy the new forum and feel free to leave any suggestions for additional boards etc.