A place to call my own
Are we really surviving, or are we merely existing? I believe that to survive and, indeed, to thrive, we must have more than the bare necessities. We should have luxuries. Or, at least, some luxuries, you know.
And as such you should want better than sleeping on the ground, eating raw or spoiled meat, and suffering through the cold. You need somewhere more permanent to stay.
It all starts with a roof over your head - or a foundation for a place to live. Once you've unlocked more engrams so you can start building and crafting bigger and better things, a place to live will be the first thing you should build.
From the ground up
A building is a great place to start. You'll need a foundation, at least three walls, and a doorway.
Place down your foundation anywhere you feel is appropriate - preferably no where near dangerous territory - and then you can snap the walls and doorway onto the sides.
You can, of course, snap several foundations together and many more walls in order to make a much larger building. Just remember to get enough materials to put a roof over your head after!
Temperature is surprisingly important in ARK. Of course one thing that will help will be crafting clothes, but another are campfires.
Once you've crafted a campfire you can place it down on the ground and strike it with a tool to light it. You'll need to load it up with fuel to keep it going.
In addition to getting warm near them, you can also load the campfire up with meat in addition to fuel to cook up so you can eat it later.
A terrible nightmare
Picture this: you're wandering the island, doing battle with some crazy dinosaurs, and then suddenly you get chomped to death. Well, I say suddenly, but I guess if you're battling with dinosaurs it's not exactly a shock.
But then, you wake up, at home, safe and sound, but maybe missing a few things. What happened? That, my friends, is a respawn point.
That's exactly what you need a sleeping bag for - you can put a sleeping bag down back at your home base, and when you die you'll respawn at that bag, meaning you won't have to respawn in a random location and search for your base. Though, be sure to go back to get your dropped items.
Finish your home base off with a supply chest to bump up the number of items you've got at your disposal at any time.
If you go exploring and adventuring far away and die, you won't be able to get back to your gear easily, but if you wake up back at base and you already have plenty of equipment in your supply chest, that'll make recovering your kit much more simple.
In general it's good to have back ups of most tools and items should something go wrong, and if you can keep them back at base in a chest, you'll be safe most of the time.