Last week Gutenberg version 15.3 was released. Among other things, a new “Time to Read” block has been added to calculate and display the estimated reading time on a post or page.
It uses the same method as the metrics shown in the admin details panel in the editor.
According to WordPress, letting readers know at a glance the estimated reading time of a post can help them decide whether they should continue reading or save the post for later.
Other analyses conclude that visitors are more likely to visit a completed article when they know in advance the approximate time it will take them to read it, so in theory it could help to increase the time spent on the site a little by balancing the bounce rate.
The block has no position, typography or colour settings. All we can do is add a class and some additional CSS in our template.
I don’t know if it’s a problem with my staging but, when adding the block, the word minutes is shown in Spanish in the editor but it appears in English, minutes, when publishing or previewing.
I have tried adding enough text to exceed the 60 minutes reading time and there is no “1 hour” option, it only shows minutes. There is nothing for the lower limit either. Typing a character already shows 1 minute minimum.
Trying some shortcut to be able to format it a bit I discover that it doesn’t work inside a GenerateBlocks container either. So the only thing we can do is to use CSS.
I guess this block will be improved over time because it seems too minimalist, not to say primitive.
Remember that Gutenberg is a beta development plugin that allows us to test new features that may end up being added to the WordPress core. Although they are functional, they are still tests, so it is advisable not to install them on a production site.
Until a final native version arrives, if you want to add the estimated reading time without plugins to your blog, you can do it with a couple of pieces of code.