What Sigmund Freud Can Teach You About Using WordPress Plugins

federica bordoni freud illustration

If Mr. Freud were alive right now, from all the bullying that his child, psychoanalysis, gets on the Internet, he would probably have a heart attack and die again. However, there are several principles of psychoanalysis that we can apply in everyday life, even now, even in website development. 

Freud divided the human psyche into three parts: Id, Ego, and Super-Ego. The unconscious desires and instincts live in the Id: I want my website to make more money so I can buy more things. Reason and logic live in the Ego: In order to attract new long-term users, I should think about creating an engaging and stable platform. Social norms, morality, and rules live in the Super-Ego: I want to make my website inclusive, so that any person can be satisfied while using it.

Let’s imagine that WordPress plugins serve the Ego in the Freud’s system of the world. A wide set of add-ons, extensions, templates, and useful, neat features that WP offers are the mediators between your “animal desires” to earn profits and high aspirations to help the world. WP plugins are just tools, but they connect the Id and the Super-Ego. They are just code. They are cold and logical. Let’s discover what WP plugins are and what more they have in common with Freud.

vulcan wordpress

If WP plugins were a movie character. Image via Giphy

What are WordPress plugins?

A WordPress plugin is a piece of code that is “embedded” into your WordPress site. Simply put, it is an extension of your site that modifies and enhances the core functionality of WordPress.

Instead of editing the original codes, using plugins is the best way to extend the functionality of WordPress. It’s easier to download and install plugins than to set up a long set of code. Working with code is a difficult task. Our back-end developer recently explained why

With plugins, you only need to turn on additional code to change the original one. When changes are no longer needed, you can turn them off by disabling the plugin.

It’s great that there are thousands of pre-designed plugins available for WordPress. Proper use of plugins will not only increase the functionality and usability of your site but will also improve your workflow.

What can a WordPress plugin do?

Plugins are modifiers that turn an ordinary blog into a website of any form and functionality. With just a few simple steps, plugins will turn your site into an e-shop, magazine, portfolio, learning management system.  Anything you can think of, really. 

For example, if you’re building an online store, WooCommerce is your new best friend. Do you want to make a website for a booking system? Check out Bookly:

bookly wordpress plugin

Maybe you’re a photographer who wants to showcase your work on your website? The Envira Gallery plugin is a perfect choice:

envira gallery plugin

While some plugins will completely transform your site, others act as simple changes behind the scenes. You may not see it change, but plugins optimize the site. For example, you can add WPSmush to compress your images. W3 Total Cache will improve the performance of your website. Plugins like Videophones increase the security of your site.

Pleasure and pain principle in WordPress

family guy wordpress

Family Guy via Giphy

One of the cool things that Sigmund Freud taught us is the pleasure-pain principle: 

The pleasure principle strives to fulfill our most basic and primitive urges… When these needs are not met, the result is a state of anxiety or tension.

WP plugins are very much connected to this principle. Because sometimes, especially if you’re creating something alone, you can’t get them to work. Frustration, anxiety, and tension are the mildest words to describe your feelings.

Here are the most common WP plugin problems and what to do with them (fighting the pain):

The plugin is no longer supported. What to do?

Plugins are written by people, and people, as you understand, are all different. 

Their life circumstances can also be very different. It also happens that even popular plugins can suddenly stop updating. The author does not respond to letters, pleas, etc. As a rule, if the plugin is not updated within a year, this is already a serious hint that it is time to look for a replacement. Even if the plugin seems to work fine, it can pose a security risk with newer versions of WordPress. There can be only one piece of advice here — slowly look for a functional replacement. Look also at paid plugins. As a last resort, you can try to search the forums for a freelance programmer to finalize the plugin. This, however, can cost you a very serious penny and will still be only a temporary solution. If you reach out to an outsourcing company, maintenance is usually included in the development package. 

The white screen of death. The site is no longer working.

plugins wordpress

White screen of death

Increase the PHP memory limit. For this, edit the wp-config.php file on your WordPress site (in the WordPress site’s root folder). Use an FTP client or file manager in your web hosting control panel. Paste this code, and WABAM, memory increases. 

There are some recurring problems with plugins, but I can’t stop the website, and I can’t afford to lose users!

If you don’t want users to notice something, use a plugin that can help you troubleshoot without stopping your site. Install and activate the health check and troubleshoot plugin.

The plugin worked fine and then suddenly stopped.

Let’s think of what you updated before it stopped working. What plugins? When did you notice the problem? Or maybe they just changed the subject? Different plugins can easily be “naughty” with different themes, but individually or with other themes, they “feel” great.

I can’t add plugins to my WordPress.

Some beginners don’t know that there are two versions of WordPress: WordPress.com and WordPress.org. While the .org version gives you the freedom to use any plugin you want, the .com version does not. Only users who have purchased the WordPress.com Business Plan can add plugins to their sites. However, the number of plugins available for installation is limited.

Where to find plugins for WordPress?

There are several places where you can find WordPress plugins. However, be careful when choosing where to download plugins. Plugins released by unreliable developers can harm your site.

The WordPress directory is the best place to find plugins. You can choose from over 50,000 plugins. You can also invest in buying premium plugins. There are WordPress plugin marketplaces that provide premium plugins like Code Canyon, MOJO Marketplace, or Creative Market.

To install plugins from the WordPress directory, you can go to Plugins > Add New in the admin panel.

Before installing plugins in WordPress

There are a few things you need to consider before installing any plugins.

First, you need to know what your site really needs. Don’t come to the WordPress repository without knowing what you’ll need and installing whatever you like. This is inefficient and time-consuming.

Second, research the internet for plugin recommendations. This step is helpful if you already know what you need but don’t know which plugins will help you achieve your goals.

Finally, you need to check the compatibility of the plugin with your WordPress version and theme. Some plugins may not support an older or newer version of WordPress. And if your theme does not support the plugin of your choice, installing it can cause serious problems.

Is WordPress a relict like Freud?

Psychoanalysis is a perfectly valid school of (magic) psychology, but many of Freud’s ideas have died out with time. WordPress has been around for ages — 18 years! 

Despite all the advantages of WordPress CMS, this platform has several disadvantages:

  • Duplication of pages and images,
  • A large number of unverified extensions and themes with errors,
  • A limited set of basic features,
  • Decrease in web page performance (due to a large number of installed plugins).

The benefits of WordPress make web development happen easier and quicker. For many business owners, choosing between custom web development and one of the ready-made solutions (with WordPress being one of the available options) is not an easy task. We know from experience that the overwhelming majority of websites are created for medium-sized and small businesses, and WordPress is great for this mass segment of the digital economy because:

  • It lets businesses minimize the time needed to enter the market. 
  • It’s inexpensive. 
  • It’s very popular, so the website owner will never be left without support.

Every approach has its own set of drawbacks, advantages, and cases. Wonder if your website should be done with WordPress or not? We can help. Don’t hesitate to turn to us for advice and consultation about WordPress website development services, and we’ll tell you what approach seems to be the most beneficial in your case.

This article was inspired by Jerod Morris.

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Written by Rita Kind-Envy

March 28, 2022

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