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How to Display Estimated Post Reading Time in Your WordPress Posts

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Do you want to display the estimated time it takes to read your WordPress blog posts?

An estimated reading time encourages users to read through to the end of a post since they know how long it will take. It can help to keep readers on your website and boost engagement.

In this article, we will show you how to easily add estimated post reading time to your WordPress posts.

How to Display Estimated Post Reading Time in Your WordPress Posts

Why Add Estimated Post Reading Time in WordPress Posts?

When you start a new blog, your primary focus is on getting more visitors to your website.

However, you also need to increase the time each user spends on your website. When visitors stay on your website longer, they are more likely to remember your brand, sign up for your newsletter, make a purchase, and visit again in the future.

This is why several popular websites show a reading progress bar as users scroll down a post.

Another way to encourage visitors to read your posts is to let them know in advance how much time it will take. Telling them that it will only take a few minutes to read the article can help them make a start.

That said, let’s take a look at how to easily display reading time in your WordPress blog post.

Displaying Estimated Reading Time in Your WordPress Posts

The easiest way to add estimated reading time is by using the Read Meter plugin. It’s a free WordPress plugin that helps you show the reading time and progress bar on your website.

First, you will need to install and activate the Read Meter plugin. For more details, see our step-by-step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

Upon activation, you need to visit the Settings » Read Meter page from your WordPress admin panel to configure the plugin settings.

Read Meter general settings

In the ‘General Settings’ tab, you can select the post types to show the reading time on.

For instance, the plugin lets you display the reading time on your blog posts and pages. If you have an online store, then there will also be an option to do this on your product pages.

You can also adjust the reading speed. By default, the plugin calculates reading time by estimating 275 words per minute reading speed.

There is also an option to include comments and images when estimating the time it will take to read the blog post.

Next, you can head over to the ‘Read Time’ tab to customize the exact text that will appear.

At the top, the plugin lets you choose whether to show the read time on blog posts, your home page, and your archive pages.

Edit read time settings

Besides that, you can change the appearance of the reading time notification.

There are settings for the font size, position of the read time, background color, text color, and a lot more.

Customize your read time text

When you have made the changes, don’t forget to click the ‘Save’ button.

After that, you can go to the ‘Progress Bar’ tab and edit the settings. You will see options to select the position of the bar (top or bottom of the page) or completely disable it from your WordPress website.

You can also change its style, background color, primary color, and bar thickness.

Customize your read time text

After editing your progress bar settings, go ahead and click the ‘Save’ button. Now, your readers will see the estimated reading time on each post.

You can now visit your WordPress website to see the reading time and a progress bar in action.

Read Time Preview

Expert Guides on Improving the WordPress Reading Experience

Now that you know how to display the estimated post reading time, you may like to see some other guides related to improving the reading experience in WordPress:

We hope this article helped you learn how to display estimated post reading time in your WordPress posts. You may also want to see our guide on how to add keywords and meta descriptions in WordPress or our expert picks for the must have WordPress plugins for your website.

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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

21 CommentsLeave a Reply

  1. Syed Balkhi says

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  2. Jiří Vaněk says

    This is an interesting idea, keeping readers on the website by showing them that the text doesn’t have to be as time-consuming as it might seem. Great! I’m also toying with the idea of text-to-speech, adding a playback feature to the website. Users wouldn’t have to read the article themselves but could listen to it. This way, they wouldn’t leave the website, potentially reducing the bounce rate. I just need to find out if there’s already a solution available for free within a word limit.

  3. Ralph says

    I think post reading time + reading progress bar are really good things from the visitor perspective. One is great initial info and the other one shows your current progress. Good to know you can modify estimated words per minute.

  4. Curtis Townsend says

    Do you know if this solution has the ability to also post the reading time next to the number of comments in the blog list. Want it to look similar to WSJ posts.

    • WPBeginner Support says

      You would need to edit your theme’s template but the plugin does offer a shortcode that you could include to place the reading time where you like.


  5. Tom Lemanski says

    Thanks for the recommendation. I was using another read time plugin with no formatting settings so the read time was crowded into the post content. The issue was resolved immediately upon installation.

    • WPBeginner Support says

      We do not have a recommended method to guarantee that is included at the moment.


  6. Leonardo Martins says

    Is there any way to avoid showing reading time in homepage? I want to show it just when i click on each post

    • WPBeginner Support says

      You would want to reach out to the plugin’s support for customizing the display like that


    • WPBeginner Support says

      You would still need to have something to give an estimation of the reading time which would be done by either a plugin built into the theme or similar.


  7. Wagoner says

    It would be great if you could update this and with a similar plugin that works without the content editor, say for CPT custom fields, using ACF or Toolset.


  8. Nis says

    Does this plugin supports Visual Composer. The problem I am having at the moment is it doesnt show up in widget.

  9. Sander Feinberg says

    I like your blog and frequently find useful tips. However I am surprised you would republish a post with links to two plugins which have not been updated in 2 or 3 years. Since you likely have readers who are beginners, they might not even notice that.

    • WPBeginner Support says

      Hi Sander,

      We apologize for inconvenience. It seems like when you arrived at this URL, you were served a cached version of the article which was quite old as you mentioned. Hopefully, if you revisit now, then you’ll be able to see the new version.


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