In the my experience of Drupal I've found a set of contributed modules that I keep coming back to. The features that they provide are, for the most part, useful on any site. Those modules include the following.
- Menu Trails - Maintains a breadcrumb based on your menu hierarchy
- DHTML Menus - Quick navigation via js menuâ€¨
- Path Auto - Automated and manual URL aliasing
- Global Redirect - If you use URL aliases, this module makes sure that you don't take SEO hits for duplicate content.
- Page Title - Gives you more control over the Page Title
- Views - Graphically build SQL queries and markup to retrieve your content and render it.
- CCK - Allows you to create your own content types
- Contemplate - Gives you total control over the template used to render the content types that you create using CCK.