A no-frills beginner blog is good, but there are a few tools, modules, and/or gadgets that you should consider adding to it.
First, you want some sort of site counter. This is a tool that keeps track of how many times your blog is viewed, how long people are there for, where in the world they came from, etc. Since many people stop by blogs without leaving comments, this is the best way to find out whether or not people are reading what you're blogging.
Depending on what blog manager you are using, there may be a counter tool offered as a module or gadget. Otherwise, there are a number of ones available on the internet for free which may require you to add HTML code to your blog. Fortunately there are lots of great websites out there that can walk you through how to do that if you find a particular counter that you like.
Next, you want to make it easy for people to follow you. Most blog managers should have some sort of "follow" function, which allows readers to flag your blog so that their account is notified when you make a new post. That's one gadget or tool you definitely want to set up.
Speaking of making it easy to follow your blog, add in buttons like "Share This." This allows people to click a button and post a link to your blog post on their account on Facebook, Digg This, Twitter, or whatever buttons you care to include. (You'll notice I've been too lazy to set this up.)
Also consider including your Twitter feed if you have one, a Facebook Fan Box if you have a Facebook fan page, an RSS feed if you have another blog, you get the idea. If you have unique content posted somewhere else, you want to let your readers know about it!
Do you have a favorite blog toy I haven't touched on here? Leave it in the comments!
Next week: Making your blog work for you.