Reading time Display article

Why should you display the reading time at all?

If you like to write longer articles in WordPress, you can offer your readers a little comfort by displaying the date and the category of the article as well as the approximate or estimated reading time.

Why? Because some people don't always have that much time and it seems very practical and useful if they know in advance how long it will take them to read.

Today I show you how to integrate the estimated reading time into your website via snippet or plugin.

Show estimated read time without plugin

Frankly speaking, of course, I prefer the option without plugin since it makes the solution much more minimalistic and thus also more performant. You have saved a plugin and thus avoided a "possible" security hole. In the following example I explain the whole thing using the Twenty Twenty Theme.

Step one:

Open your functions.php (Please make sure to enter a Use Child Theme) and inserts the following code.

Display //reading time
function reading_time() {
$content = get_post_field( 'post_content', $post->ID );
$word_count = str_word_count( strip_tags( $content ) );
$readingtime = ceil($word_count / 200);
if ($readingtime == 1) {
$timer = " minute";
} else {
$timer = " minutes";
$totalreadingtime = $readingtime . $timer;
return $totalreadingtime;

The function assumes that about 200 words per minute are read. Of course you can adjust this factor in the snippet.

Step 2

Then you can use the following php code to display the time at any position:

Read time: 

With this code we query our code in functions.php and output the corresponding result.

It is best to show the reading time in the Meta Infos of a single article.

In case of the Twenty Twenty Theme we open the template-tags.php in the Theme Editor under inc and insert our code around line 430.

In my example I have added a | for better separation

If you have done everything correctly, the corresponding reading time will be output. Cool or:

The input of the snippet has now been explained using the example of the Twenty Twenty Theme. With other themes it is of course possible that the input must be made in another template. Please understand that we will not offer individual support here. In case of a Pagebuilder such as the Elementor or the Divi Builder, the php code can of course also be entered directly via the Builder.

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Show estimated read time with plugin

For the readers among you who don't like to work with "Code Snippets" there is of course a solution using the appropriate WordPress plugins.

Here I would currently recommend the plugin "Reading Time WP" by Jason Yingling. After installation you have the possibility to let the plugin show the reading time automatically. Alternatively and in case of problems this is also possible by using the shortcode [rt_reading_time].


Display read time for longer dwell time

The WordPress Snippet above is very simple, straightforward and assumes that the reader needs one minute for 200 words. Of course you can adjust the numbers accordingly, but 200 words per minute is quite good and should represent the average reader. Also the specification of "minutes" or "seconds" you can simply abbreviate in the code if the written words are too long for you.

Quite simple and quite efficient.

By the way: Many websites report that after the estimated reading time has been incorporated, the length of time visitors stayed on the site has also increased, so the bounce rates have become lower. Maybe because they all suddenly stop the time while reading, quasi as a challenge, or maybe simply because they can read more consciously and enjoy articles in a targeted way.

Who knows in the end, but displaying the estimated reading time in WordPress is definitely a good idea and without a plugin twice as easy to use. It never hurts to try, because code is added or removed quite fast in WordPress.

About Christian

My name is Christian and I am co-founder of the platform fastWP. Here in the magazine I am responsible for the more "technical" topics but I like to write about SEO, which has been my passion for over 10 years now.

2 thoughts on “Geschätzte Lesezeit von Artikeln anzeigen”

  1. Cool! Thank you very much for this article. I think it's just so cool that I was able to spend the reading time myself. I use the twenty ninteen theme in a customized version but with these defaults it was more than easy. More of this please!

  2. The website and especially the articles on topics relevant to me as a tech enthusiast are really strong.

    Now, if possibilities of content protection within posts and posts or creating more user roles are introduced, I'll be even more excited 😉 .

    Best greetings from #Digitalia and a happy new year

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