How Long do Your Users Spend Reading Your Content?

We all know that the longer a user lingers on a page, the higher the chance that they’ll purchase goods or services from you. If they stick around reading, you have them right where you want them.

The question is, how long does it take for your readers to read one of your posts and pages? When dealing with users with less than five minutes of attention span, you need to make certain that your message reaches them before they lose interest!

Post Reading Time is a plugin that your readers a way to tell how long it will take them to read a post.  This is a front-end plugin. It offers you no statistical data. Readers will often stick around for the whole post if they’re interested because they know exactly how long they’ll be reading for.

The lack of statistical data is a major flaw, as it is possible to get the read-times of users, but it is a nice toy to add a little depth to your WordPress posts.

Something important to know: The average person reads between 250-300 words a minute. This is the number of words they read and comprehend per minute.

Step 1 -> Installation

Click Plugins -> Add New and search for Post Reading Time.

Click Install and Activate to prepare the plugin for use. Don’t forget to empty your cache when you’re prompted to do so.

Step 2 -> Configuring the Plugin

Setting up the plugin is really easy. All you need to do is fill in the number of words you consider is an accurate representation of your visitors.

My site is set for 250 words. The default is 200 words. If you think your visitors skim when they read, you want a higher word count. Remember, the average is 250-300 words. If you think your readers take their time, keep it to the default.

This is where it gets tricky.

Now that you have the plugin, you’ll need to do some coding to make the magic happen. Unlike other plugins, there isn’t an automated way to get the text to show in your posts. This means you have to insert it into your theme manually.

Step 1: Make the Magic Happen — Open the Theme Editor

You’re going to have to do some theme editing. If you click on Appearance, you will see what themes you have available. You’ll also be able to open the Editor and Widget manager.

There are two ways to add Post Reading Time to your blog. First, you can use the widget. This is the simplest way. Just click Widgets.

Post Reading Time will be in the available widget pool.

The downside to this is if you start changing your widgets, you may have to rework your entire site’s appearance if you weren’t already using this method to customize your WordPress site.

Your second option is to add php code directly to the theme. This is the method I like best, as it doesn’t damage the appearance of the theme. However, adding the code is a little more advanced. Click Appearance -> Editor to access to the theme editor.

I recommend you add the code to your Single Post template, but you can also install it as a part of your Archive or Home Page templates.

Adding the Plugin is simple. Copy paste <?php post_read_time(); ?> into the relevant space within your template. For example, if you want to show the Estimated Reading Time: above your post, you might look for code that says ‘<div>.’

Every theme is written differently, so you’re going to have to experiment. I recommend keeping the theme editor open in one browser tab while having the live site open in the other. Theme test drive or another theme testing tool is extremely useful as you experiment with making your new plugin work.

When you’re done, the header of your post may look something like this:

There are lots of places that you can put this handy line of code, so go ahead and experiment until you find a place where it is noticed and looks good.

If this plugin included statistical data, it would be one of my favourite plugins. But, if you’re looking for a quick and easy way to help keep your user’s attention, this plugin can help.

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