TimeSpan: Time To Read WordPress Plugin

TimeSpan is a simple, easy to set-up WordPress plugin that automagically calculates the approximate length of time it will take to read a blog post.

People are busy, and the Internet is a firehose of content – because of that, readers can’t read everything. Time factors into a reader’s choice of content to consume. With that in mind, it’s helpful to users to let them know the time investment that your blog post is asking of them – which is exactly what TimeSpan does.

Download TimeSpan directly from the WordPress Plugin Directory

The plugin ships with default settings, but allows you to change everything from: the message shown for a post that will take less than one minute; the message shown for any post over 1 minute; and the words-per-minute used to calculate the reading time.



  1. Upload the timespan folder to the /wp-content/plugins/ directory
  2. Activate the TimeSpan plugin through the ‘Plugins’ menu in WordPress
  3. Configure the plugin by going to the TimeSpan menu that appears in your admin menu (under Settings).


Once the plugin is activated, you have two options: you can include it in your theme files (handy for WordPress developers), or you can let us do all the heavy lifting with automagic setup.

Include TimeSpan in Your Theme Files

  1. Head over to the TimeSpan menu under Settings
  2. Fill out the options on that page
  3. Click the blue “Save Changes” button.
  4. Place the shortcode [time-span] wherever you’d like the data to show up in your theme file (e.g. page-home.php) using <?php echo do_shortcode(‘[time-span]’); ?>
  5. Save the change to your theme file.

That’s it!

Automagic Setup

The Automagic Setup will automatically insert the calculated time to read at the top of each of your posts. Here’s how to do that:

  1. Head over to the TimeSpan menu under Settings
  2. Fill out the options on that page
  3. Check the box at the bottom labeled “Automatically insert the time to read at the top of Posts”.
  4. Click the blue “Save Changes” button.

That’s it!timespan-wordpress-reading-length-plugin


How are you calculating the time to read the post?

We grab the word count of the post, provided by WordPress, and divide that by an average words per minute (WPM). The plugin defaults to 250wpm, which we got from this Wikipedia entry on reading rate and reading for comprehension.

My audience has a unique reading rate / reads at a different WPM. Can I change this?

You sure can – just enter the WPM of your average reader in the “Average Reading Words per Minute” field, found in the TimeSpan menu under settings.

Can I style the text TimeSpan spits out?

Yep. Just target the .timespan class to target the type, and the .ts-time class to target & style the numeral itself.

Are you guys for hire?

We sure are. We’re a custom design & WordPress development shop. If WordPress can do it, we can do it. Drop us a line!


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