First, the positives:
Way to go on pointing out that you need to validate data during the tuning process. This is something that it's far too easy to assume and doesn't get pointed out often enough.
Keeping track of the changes made over time and the results is also a great idea while tuning. If nothing else it provides an excellent path to learning what works and what doesn't while tuning. Again, something that a lot of people miss.
Also, finally, well done on taking a consistent approach to your tuning. Always running the procedures one way from SSMS is great advice when doing the tuning work.
Unfortunately, I've also got a few negatives:
You didn't say, or at least I didn't see, in the article where you were doing this tuning, which environment. Because you didn't say, people might not know, that running DROPCLEANBUFFERS and FREEPROCCACHE are extremely dangerous operations to do to your production system. You've just flushed the cache of all the data and query plans and every application running on the system takes a hit as that data is read from disk instead of memory and the queries all have to recompile (taking longer, as you noted). Especially because this is intended as an introductory level article, that information is vital to people who don't yet know what they're doing.
Speaking of people needing information who don't know what they're doing, you talked about Profiler through the whole article. Again, in a production environment, using the Profiler GUI is dangerous. Instead it's very highly recommended that you use the server side trace through trace events started from TSQL and output to file.
Too much focus on reads, just as too much focus on duration, can be misleading. You need to work on both. You can have only a few reads on the system and still have a badly tuned query.
I'm sure it's just sentence structure, but the way you wrote it, you're advocating for the elimination of joins in queries. I'd suggest that's not necessarily a good approach.
Index scans can be just as costly, maybe even more so, than table scans. Plus, remember, the clustered index is the table, so getting a clustered index scan is effectively identical to getting a table scan. Going from a table scan to a clustered index scan, in most circumstances, won't improve performance at all.
I'd suggest trying to put more cautions into your articles, especially when writing for beginners, so they understand where the weaknesses in a given approach may lie. Especially when advocating for things like cleaning out the cache or using the Profiler GUI.
The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood...
Theodore RooseveltThe Scary DBA
Author of: SQL Server Query Performance Tuning
and SQL Server Execution Plans
Product Evangelist for Red Gate Software