I was not a big fan of wordpress, as I started in 2010 with Drupal another CMS. Drupal is more complicated than worprss and also more integrated : modules work really together. Drupal has a true free and open source model. In wordpress, there is often a premium model with plugins that are free, but that have a premium version that do have a price. Both CMS have the problem of a cluttered UI due to the many possibilities that each plugins / modules can take profit to add its settings.
Anyway despite of it's drawbacks, Wordpress is quite useful and generally I start with a theme I've bough and then customize it. There is a bunch of plugins that I need to install.
So let's start a list to go faster when installing a new site.
Jetpack Collection of plugins made by Automattic the company behind wordpress, you can select which one you want to install, there is a monitoring tool, a mardown syntax... and many more. All are of very good quality, some a premium
Duplicate post Clone post and page to start with a similare base and edit it
Short code ultimate Create many useful short code that allow to insert anything in a post of elsewhere
Contact form 7 a simple contact form
Askimet The default anti-spam for comments available at wordpress install (but not activated by default)
Envira gallery Freemium image gallery with a nice design a clean settings page UI
WPML Good plugin for multi-language site that cost around 60$
Visual page builder allow to go beyond the post structure of wordpress and do one page layout / landing page like design assembling elements of UI and content visually.
WP backery a page builder used by the BE theme suite and others. Is quite simple
Google analytics monster insights In site stats from google analytics that make it easy see which page have traffic...
WP Smush Images resizing..