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How to Add a Reading Progress Bar in WordPress Posts

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Have you noticed how some popular sites show a reading progress bar indicator at the top of their articles?

This little bar shows users how much more of the article is left to scroll and encourages them to continue reading. It can help keep visitors on your website reading your content and improve the overall user experience.

In this article, we will show you how to add a reading progress bar in WordPress posts.

How to Add reading progress bar in WordPress

Why and When You Should Add Reading Progress Bar in WordPress

Users spend only a couple of seconds on a webpage before deciding whether to stay or leave. Keeping users engaged becomes a little more challenging if you publish long-form articles, as they require users to scroll down.

Some site owners add inline related posts, while others use videos or image galleries to keep users on the page.

A reading progress bar adds a little user-interface enhancement that encourages users to scroll down. It also motivates users to finish the article they are reading.

Many popular websites like to use the reading progress indicators to engage their readers. However, you also need to make sure that the reading progress indicator is subtle and does not distract from the content itself.

Having said that, let’s see how you can easily add a reading progress indicator for your WordPress posts.

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Adding Reading Progress Bar in WordPress Posts

The easiest way of showing a reading progress bar in blog posts and pages is through a plugin like Worth The Read.

It’s a free WordPress plugin that’s lightweight and helps add a reading progress bar to your website. The plugin offers multiple customization options and lets you change its style to fit your website theme. You can even use it to show the reading time for your articles.

The first thing you need to do is install and activate the Worth The Read plugin. For more details, see our step-by-step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

Upon activation, you need to visit the Worth The Read Reading » Progress page from the WordPress admin panel and go to the ‘Functionality’ tab to set up your progress bar indicator.

Next, you can choose whether to show the progress bar on your posts, pages, and homepage. There’s also an option to display the reading bar on custom post types.

Enable worth the read on posts and pages

If you scroll down, you’ll find more customization options.

You can include comments in the total length of the progress bar by enabling the ‘Include Comments’ option. If you are including comments, then you can also choose a different background color for the comments progress area.

The plugin also lets you select the placement of the reading progress bar. The default option is on the top which is used by most sites. You can change it to display the progress bar on right, left, or bottom of the page.

Change the placement of the bar

Other than that, there are more options for customizing the reading progress bar.

For instance, you can move the bar from right to left, use fixed opacity, enable the progress bar for touch devices like mobiles and tablets, enable the debug mode, and more.

When you’re done, don’t forget to click the ‘Save Changes’ button.

Next, head over to the ‘Style’ tab under Reading Progress to edit the appearance of the reading progress bar.

Edit the style of the bar

The plugin allows you to choose the thickness of the progress bar and select foreground and background colors to match your WordPress theme.

The background color is used to fill the empty progress bar and the foreground color will be used to show progress as a user scrolls down.

It even allows you to use a transparent background for the progress bar. Checking this option will override background color options and only the foreground color will be displayed as users scroll down an article.

After editing the style, don’t forget to save the changes to store your settings.

You can now visit any blog post or landing page on your website to see the progress bar in action.

Reading progress bar preview

We hope this article helped you add a reading progress bar in WordPress. You may also want to see our list of best WooCommerce plugins and how to choose the best web design software.

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Editorial Staff

Editorial Staff at WPBeginner is a team of WordPress experts led by Syed Balkhi with over 16 years of experience in WordPress, Web Hosting, eCommerce, SEO, and Marketing. Started in 2009, WPBeginner is now the largest free WordPress resource site in the industry and is often referred to as the Wikipedia for WordPress.

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Reader Interactions

15 CommentsLeave a Reply

  1. Syed Balkhi says

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  2. Jiří Vaněk says

    For websites where the articles are longer than, for example, 1000 words, this is really useful so that the user knows what part of the content he is already in and how much is left. I assume that it can also very well reduce the bounce rate and it helps to “force” people to read the article to the end.

  3. Vikash Pareek says

    How to Add a Reading Progress Bar in WordPress Posts without plugin, Because more plugins affect page speed, plugins cannot be installed for every task.

  4. Durga Thiyagarajan says

    I was looking for this one ! Thank you so much and it worked out. Will this affect the page speed?

  5. AmiF says

    Hi, thanks for sharing this awesome plugin, in the horizontal way, how to make it fill starting from right to the left? Which part should I change to make it “rtl”? Please someone help me…

  6. Jonathan Nabais says

    Hello there,

    It works on my site but it’s invisible because it’s under the background.
    How make it visible on the page and not under the page ?

  7. K T Bowes says

    Works on my pages but not on my blog posts – which is where I really wanted it. Looks good on my pages though.

  8. Tony Abbott says

    I followed every step but my posts do not display the progress bar. Also the article states that this plugin does not support pages but the plugin screen does offer you the option to use the plugin on posts and pages.

    I received this tutorial by email from yourselves on 6/9//16 so I am assuming you should have checked the validity of the article before you sent it out.

  9. Tim Coe says

    Didn’t work for me. The enable box has been replaced by posts and pages boxces but after trying it 3 times I’m giving up.

  10. Marcus says

    This is pretty neat. I have a site that primarily works through a Custom Post Type, so I’ll look for another resource for that as many of my articles are long-for reading!

    Thanks for sharing!

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