As a moderately new blogger who likes to get linked to by my big brothers and sisters, I've tried several approaches to getting noticed. Mind you, I mostly write this blog for fun and to hone my writing skills and imagination, but it's fun when other people read it and so I do whore myself out in a few ways. So, how to get read and how to get links? I mean, aside from good writing -- I'm going to try to stay within my realm of experience.
1. Be female. Ok, so I'm cynical. I haven't tried this, but it seems to work pretty well. If you want a scientific explanation, read up on negative frequency dependent selection. There are fewer female bloggers than male bloggers.
2. Post comments on other sites. Most big sites don't have comment boards, but many moderately popular blogs do, and the big boys often read the comments. Specifics? Well, I've gotten lots of refers from comments I've made to Mean Mr. Mustard and Donald Sensing. There are plenty of others, but those are two of my favorites. You can write a few sentences and then mention that you're going to write a post about it; people may click through to see what else you have to say.
3. Email posts to bloggers you think might be interested. This is tricky, and in my experience only works around 10% of the time even with moderately-sized targets, and even when the post you've written is particularly relevant to whatever topic the blogger is writing about that day. This approach works best when you correspond with other small bloggers -- write an email to one of your peers and ask them for their opinion. They'll often be happy to discuss the issue and then you can link to each other and share your combined readership. This is what community is all about, anyway, not just getting links from the big-leaguers.
4. Post pictures. I want to get a digital camera so I can start posting more pictures -- people like to see what's going on, and with a camera you can do real reporting. Take some good pictures of a protest (for example) and you're almost guaranteed to get a few links. You'll need to set up some image hosting service for this to work, but that's not too hard. Man, this trick is almost too good to share.
5. Some bloggers say that in order to get popular you need to "find your niche", but that's just not my thing. It may be true, and worth trying, but from the get-go I determined that this site would be wide-ranging and esoteric. It's in the title!
6. Tell your friends -- I have a good number of non-blogging friends who read my site. Links aren't everything, and you'll probably enjoy yourself more if a dozen friends read what you write than if a hundred strangers do.
7. Link to everything. Some people are stingy with their links -- which makes sense if they're a valuable commodity -- but when you're just getting started there's really no reason not to link to everyone in sight. I remember how happy I was when someone first added me to their blogroll. So blogroll the sites you read, for certain, and when you post put up links to any website that might have inspired you to write what you did. Link as much as you can, especially to your peers. I link to everyone I see who links to me or one of my posts.