During many occasions, i have wanted to show the total number of results (and the values of the pager) in page.tpl.php and not at the default location of the search template.
1. Change the number of search results per page.
To change default search results per page (which is 10), you will have to create a module and override the function hook_query_alter like so:
There are many ways that one can change the default front page content of a fresh Drupal installation. Below you will find the most common: