13 Comments


  1. I like the idea, if only because it tells me whether or not I have the moment to read it at that moment (less than 2 minutes or so) or send it to Pocket where I’ll read it during the time I set aside for that.

    That being said, I wrote a quick set of functions to handle this: https://gist.github.com/norcross/d10e26839699f61c00b7 One function to save the seconds, one to do the calculation, and one to display it. basic, but it does the job.

    Reply

    1. I’ve noticed for me personally that if the article is 7 minutes or longer, I just blow right past it thinking I don’t have that kind of time. I probably do have the time to read it but decide to somewhere else. I need to retrain myself to enjoy longform instead of only going after the nuggets of information.

      Reply

  2. Sometimes I think it would be of more value to have the estimated writing time so I know if it was a text produced with some real leg work or just a quick rewrite of something already out there.

    No implied hastywork to the article above intended. :-)

    Reply

    1. I thought about timing the writing time automatically, by having a plugin actually time the amount of time spent in the Editor and optionally, how much time users spent creating comments. But that approach wouldn’t work if the author didn’t write a post inside WP and it wouldn’t cover the time done researching.

      I really don’t get why sites use ETR though over a word count. For me, it makes me more time conscientious since time is scarce, it’s only going to give me more reasons to bail. I don’t really buy Cray’s results either, much too small of a test to say anything conclusive for his site (let alone as a general practice).

      Reply

      1. Hah, if that data were public, you’d see some short Tavern posts I write take hours instead of maybe 45 minutes or so. I guess it would show how distracted I get or how far off the beaten path I go when researching.

        I bet ETR is much easier to process than a word count. Also, I think seeing 3-5 minutes instead of 1,200 words isn’t as scary and not much of a put off.

        Reply

  3. FYI, Colbert Report and Daily Show videos from the official site are unavailable outside of the US (licensing).

    Reply

    1. Sorry if you weren’t able to view it. I’ve run into the issue as well with certain YouTube videos.

      Reply

  4. When I paste bm_estimated_reading_time() code into my functions.php, I get a PHP error.

    Reply

    1. I don’t know the exact process for adding the code to your theme. Did you copy and paste the entire snippet into functions.php?

      Reply

  5. We use this as SellwithWP (the Estimated Reading Times plugin) simply because we write lots of long form stuff mixed with shorter articles. Similar to what Norcross said, some people like to know if they can read now, or save it for later. You can view it on our most recent article right below post meta.

    We’ve tweaked it a bit to use its own line and to add a “Last Updated” notice (using either the post date or any update date after it). Here’s what we did in `content-single.php`

    <p class=”reading-time”>
    <?php post_read_time(); ?> | <em>Last updated on</em>
    <time datetime=”<?php the_modified_time(‘Y-m-d’); ?>”><?php if ( strtotime( get_the_modified_time( ‘Y-m-d’ ) ) <strtotime( get_the_date() ) ) :
    echo get_the_date();
    else :
    echo get_the_modified_time(‘F j, Y’);
    endif;
    ?></time>
    </p>

    Reply

    1. Nice implementation. But just like every other WordPress plugin solution I’ve seen, you can’t tell from the front page what the estimated reading time is for posts. Does it make sense to only have that info on the single post view versus on the front page next to or under the headlines? I’m thinking of how Slate does it.

      The argument of whether to read it now or save it for later via Pocket or bookmark is the best well rounded reason I’ve heard for displaying ETR. Used that way, it makes sense.

      Reply

Leave a Reply