Your seven attributes are cleverly formed into the anagram ‘SPECIAL’, which stands for Strength, Perception, Endurance, Charisma, Intelligence, Agility and Luck.
The various attributes provide a number of different benefits, but what they all have in common is that they improve their related skills by two points for each point in that attribute. For example, a character with a Strength score of five would recieve a +10 bonus to their Melee Weapons skill. Luck is the exception, which gives a one point bonus for each two points in Luck to all your skills. This also means that when determining your skill points, each skill starts out with at least a +2 bonus (for your minimum of one point in each attribute.)
You can get a Vault-Tec limited edition Bobblehead that adds a one point bonus for each of your attributes. You should plan on getting these (or at least the more important ones) and adjust your character’s attributes appropriately. Remember, if you’re planning on getting the Almost Perfect perk, don’t pick up any attribute Bobbleheads until you have that perk… or unless you already have a score of nine in that attribute, as the Almost Perfect perk will not decrease an attribute score.