As Internet speeds became faster, and more people abandoned their 56K modems for broadband connections, progressive JPEGs were largely replaced by baseline JPEGs. However, as loading time and page speeds have once again become an issue for smartphone users, progressive JPEGs are starting to garner attention.

The advantage of using progressive JPEGs is they have a smaller file size and they load an entire, if pixelated, image that sharpens as data is downloaded. This means that not only do pages load faster, they also appear to load even faster than they actually are. Even if an image has not completed downloading, if progress is visible, Web users perceive the website as loading more rapidly.

Another advantage of progressive JPEGs is that they load in a manner that is different from baseline JPEGs. A baseline image starts loading the top of an image and slowly fills in the rest of the picture. Progressive JPEGS, on the other hand, load into an area that matches the dimensions of the final image. This enables Web pages to load more smoothly and allows text to remain stationary on someone's screen as images download.

There are a variety of programs that enable individuals to save images as progressive JPEGs, many of which are free and will do so in batches. IrfanView, in particular, is a freeware program that can automatically convert enormous numbers of JPEGs in a short amount of time. Most programs, including IrfanView, enable users to preview the final progressive JPEG file size of the image being saved, its quality, and still keep EXIF and IPTC data intact.

Search engines, such as Google and Bing, use the speed of a website in determining where that site will rank. There are a number of free tools that help test the speed of your website, such as webpagetest.org and Google's PageSpeed Tools. These are designed to give feedback on the performance of your website and will give suggestions on specific issues that need to be resolved in order to increase the speed and ultimately the ranking of your website. While the speed of your website is not the only determining factor in where your website appears in search engine results, it can certainly make a difference.

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