Content Vs. Links
I believe links are a temporary way of getting people in when you start a blog. If you link to people and their posts, you'll see them come in to check what you wrote. However, you want them to come back, and keep coming back. For that, there's nothing better than content. Nobody wants to read something which is not good to read. It doesn't have to be a hot topic, or full of pictures of half naked girls (although those work brilliantly as well!). All it has to be is something that you know about. The person reading it should think that yes, this fellow knows something about what he's writing. Only then will they give any credit to your opinions and what you write.
Design / Look
I'll probably hear a few groans the moment I mention design. Yes! I am going at it again. The look and feel of your blog comes probably only second to the content. If things don't look right or with the right colours, few will give you feedback to change it. Others will simply ignore it. But there will be some who won't return. But it depends on the person. For example, for me the design plays a very important part for the blog. I'd never go to an ugly looking page. Most of the time if the content is good, I'll subscribe to its feed, but if there is no feed, I'd probably never go back to it.
I'm sure I don't think too differently than others.
Word of mouth / Advertising
This is something that works wonders if done right. Some shameless promoting wouldn't do you any harm. Write posts about whats currently going on, and then put links to them in related discussions. People always like new stuff, and chances are if they're coming all the way, they'll see more than just that one post. If they like what they see, they'll tell others about it (if they think its worth their time) which will bring in more people. Its not the best way to do things, but hey! It works! :)
The last word
Content is supreme when it comes to pulling in people, backed with a killer design and then some self promotion to just get the ball rolling. These are probably the best ways of bringing in people to a new blog, which promises a good read every now and then. Not every blog can be a Techcrunch, mind you. But nobody stopped you from trying!