Adding Estimated Read Time to a WordPress Post

Ever since Medium popularized the concept of the read times on articles, I’ve been seeing it as a design element in more WordPress projects.

Getting a great estimate for average read time is complicated, but if you just need a blunt tool for calculating it, you can use:

amount of words in the post / average reading speed

According to Medium, people read about 275 words per minute. Medium also adds 12 seconds for each inline image, but I didn’t get that fancy.

Here’s the snippet:

* Estimates the reading time for a given piece of $content.
* @param string $content Content to calculate read time for.
* @param int $wpm Estimated words per minute of reader.
* @returns int $time Esimated reading time.
function prefix_estimated_reading_time( $content = '', $wpm = 300 ) {
$clean_content = strip_shortcodes( $content );
$clean_content = strip_tags( $clean_content );
$word_count = str_word_count( $clean_content );
$time = ceil( $word_count / $wpm );
return $time;

To output the read time in your post, use something like this:

<div class="reading-time">
<?php echo prefix_estimated_reading_time( get_the_content() ); ?> min read
view raw output.php hosted with ❤ by GitHub

If you prefer to use a plugin, there’s a few around. This snippet is mostly borrowed code from Reading Time WP, which is also on GitHub.

About Devin

I am a developer based in Austin, Texas. I run a little theme shop called DevPress and help manage a WooCommerce shop with Universal Yums. Find me on twitter @devinsays.

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