I picked this up from Elyssa at iLibrarian:
1. Forget the “Three-Click Rule”
2. Enable Content Skimming By Using an F-Shaped Pattern
3. Don’t Make Users Wait: Speed Up Your Website
4. Make Your Content Easily Readable
5. Don’t Worry About “The Fold” and Vertical Scrolling
6. Place Important Content on the Left of a Web Page
7. Whitespace of Text Affects Readability
8. Small Details Make a Huge Difference
9. Don’t Rely on Search as a Crutch to Bad Navigation
10. Your Home Page Isn’t As Important as You Think
Cameron Chapman’s tips are wise. The original post contains a ton of references and graphics that help to illustrate his points. It is worth reading.
I’d agree that most of these ‘rules’ have exceptions. It is always good to keep out thinking caps on but the research indicates that each of these tips will help your site performance.