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Margaret Reffell

Online Course & Digital Product Resources

What are no code platforms?

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What are no code platforms?

In the last 2 – 3 years there’s been a large emergence in what are called “no code” tools in the online world.

What is “no code”, and what are those platforms?

The term “no code” refers to tools and platforms a person can use that accomplish something online without the need to use code. The no-code movement is meant to allow a high amount of flexibility and customization fo non-developers.

What can “no code” tools and platforms accomplish?

These days, just about anything! Whether it’s a content creator looking to build a simple blog, to a startup company creating a complex app, there’s more and more solutions everyday that allow the average person to bring their vision to life without any programming experience.

What are some examples of “no code” tools?

Some of the most popular no-code tools out there, you are probably already very familiar with. Here are a few very popular companies dedicated to creating products and resources that can be usable by nearly everyone.

  • Shopify — build your own e-commerce website
  • Squarespace — build and deploy your own website
  • Bubble — create a custom app from scratch
  • Zapier — connect a bunch of different platforms together, and allow information to be transferred from one to another automatically with prompts
  • And many more…

Will “no code” mean the end of developers?

No way! In this movement, we need developers more than ever. Developers won’t go away, but their roles will begin to change dramatically. My prediction is we will no longer need web developers to build websites, stores, and online program portals, but rather developers will take on more of a role to build the tools that people can use to build these things themselves.

This also opens up a whole other industry of “technical consultants/advisors” who know these tools inside and out, and will act as a guide for their clients to navigate and configure no-code systems, because no matter what there will always be a large number of people who want to contract this work out, instead of navigating this landscape alone.

Get ready for the world of no-code, it’s exciting and accelerating quickly, so get on board!

Want to learn more about no-code platforms? Check out my course page here.


Photo by Alexandru Acea on Unsplash

How I bought an investment property in the middle of a pandemic

An honest review of my purchasing process of an investment property (as well as my first property) as a single self-employed woman during a pandemic.

Note: I am not a financial or real-estate expert. What shared below is my personal experience, and should not be taken as advice.

In September of 2018, I had a meeting with my friend Beth who is a Real Estate Broker in Toronto, Ontario.

Continue reading “How I bought an investment property in the middle of a pandemic”

Are Shopify Themes a One-time Purchase?


Shopify themes are a one time purchase, and many themes can be used on more than one shop. However, be sure to check the terms and conditions of your theme because you don’t want to accidentally violate them, and have your store shut down as a result.

Tips for purchasing a theme:

  • Chose one from a reputable source. The Shopify Marketplace vets all the themes that are sold there, so you can be sure it’s high quality. Another great source is a company called “Out of The Sandbox“. They have premium themes, and amazing support.
  • Pick one that has a navigation and homepage layout that you like. These are the most unique parts about shops, so make sure it’s something you love. The collection pages and the single product pages are fairly standard throughout all Shopify sites, so make sure you pick one that has a strong navigation and home page to make your brand come alive.
  • Check the mobile version of the demo. Mobile usage has taken over online shopping, so be sure that the template you want looks  good on mobile!

Finally, make it your own! So many themes are pulled straight from the box and slapped up with the default colours and fonts. Hiring a designer to go over your theme and make some professional adjustments can make a world of difference.

Next, let those sales roll in!



What you need to know when building your first website

Building a Website

There are many ways to build a website. Here we’ll go over some pros and cons about what software can be used. Let’s shed some light on the differences and what’s best for you.

Basically there’s 3 camps


A Website Builder (WIX, Squarespace)

These sites are very easy to  use, and I often recommend them to someone who is just starting off, is conserving funds, and wants a place to direct people to that is clean, simple and easy to update. They are also hosted by their servers, and you pay a monthly fee to “rent” a website from them.

Between these two, I would recommend Squarespace as it’s much more flexible and faster than WIX. It also has nicer templates.


A Self-hosted Website (typically WordPress)

WordPress sites have much more flexibility both in terms of style, and functionality. WordPress allows full access to the code, so that everything on the site can be changed. However, in many cases you’ll need a web developer to do so.

WordPress does have a marketplace for pre-made themes so that you don’t need to hire a developer to implement. Beware, as the marketplace is unregulated and some theme creators can take advantage of this and inject malicious code into your site. 

When shopping for a premade theme, always go with a referred, trusted theme creator.


An eCommerce Website (Shopify)

Shopify allows you to either purchase one of their themes, or create your own from scratch. Shopify’s theme marketplace is strictly regulated, so you can trust the themes when purchased directly off the Shopify website. They also give you full control to edit the code of the theme and customize the look of it, should you want a more unique look.

Shopify is an excellent ecommerce company, but is not the ideal platform for blogging and selling services. It’s core engine is built for physical goods.

If you are selling physical products, Shopify is the gold standard. It’s easy to use, and has great support and security features. 

At the end of the day, for flexibility and growth, I always go with WordPress. There are plenty of people that use Squarespace, and are perfectly happy with it, but just be mindful because you may end up building yourself into a corner.


Ultimate, it depends what you’re trying to accomplish.

When in doubt, start small. Start with a builder.

Improving Website SEO

One morning, when Gregor Samsa woke from troubled dreams, he found himself transformed in his bed into a horrible vermin. He lay on his armour-like back, and if he lifted his head a little he could see his brown belly, slightly domed and divided by arches into stiff sections. The bedding was hardly able to cover it and seemed ready to slide off any moment. His many legs, pitifully thin compared with the size of the rest of him, waved about helplessly as he looked.

“What’s happened to me?” he thought. It wasn’t a dream. His room, a proper human room although a little too small, lay peacefully between its four familiar walls. A collection of textile samples lay spread out on the table – Samsa was a travelling salesman – and above it there hung a picture that he had recently cut out of an illustrated magazine and housed in a nice, gilded frame. It showed a lady fitted out with a fur hat and fur boa who sat upright, raising a heavy fur muff that covered the whole of her lower arm towards the viewer. Gregor then turned to look out the window at the dull weather. Drops of rain could be heard hitting the pane, which made him feel quite sad. “How about if I sleep a little bit longer and forget all this nonsense”, he thought, but that was something he was unable to do because he was used to sleeping on his right, and in his present state couldn’t get into that position.

However hard he threw himself onto his right, he always rolled back to where he was. He must have tried it a hundred times, shut his eyes so that he wouldn’t have to look at the floundering legs, and only stopped when he began to feel a mild, dull pain there that he had never felt before. “Oh, God”, he thought, “what a strenuous career it is that I’ve chosen! Travelling day in and day out. Doing business like this takes much more effort than doing your own business at home, and on top of that there’s the curse of travelling, worries about making train connections, bad and irregular food, contact with different people all the time so that you can never get to know anyone or become friendly with them. It can all go to Hell!” He felt a slight itch up on his belly; pushed himself slowly up on his back towards the headboard so that

he could lift his head better; found where the itch was, and saw that it was covered with lots of little white spots which he didn’t know what to make of; and when he tried to feel the place with one of his legs he drew it quickly back because as soon as he touched it he was overcome by a cold shudder.

He slid back into his former position. “Getting up early all the time”, he thought, “it makes you stupid. You’ve got to get enough sleep. Other travelling salesmen live a life of luxury. For instance, whenever I go back to the guest house during the morning to copy out the contract, these gentlemen are always still sitting there eating their breakfasts. I ought to just try that with my boss; I’d get kicked out on the spot. But who knows, maybe that would be the best thing for me. If I didn’t have my parents to think about I’d have given in my notice a long time ago, I’d have gone up to the boss and told him just what I