Getting Started With Web Scraping

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Everybody requires data and they want it fast. But a simple glance at the internet would show you that it is not a very easy thing to do, especially regarding data that is complex, obscure or data that is ever updating. If one is not careful, they may spend hours upon hours trying to glean as much data. This consumes more time and resources. But there is a better way to achieve that and that is through web scraping. 

Web scraping involves using programs to navigate a website or a web page in search of relevant data. The data needed would be defined by the parameters in the program and can be continuously fine-tuned to make the search yield proper results. The beauty of web scraping is that in a very short time, you can gather a large chunk of relevant data and it would be arranged for you in a structured way and stored until you need it. 

Some of the popular places people use web scraping today includes 

  1. Email Gathering

Companies or people who need people’s emails as a means of communication or reaching out to them can use web scraping to harvest emails of potential clients or customers. 

  1. Price Comparison 

People seeking to find out the price of products from different websites can use web scraping to list them out and compare.

  1. Research

Web scraping can be used to extract statistics and other necessary data needed for polls or surveys. 

Today, more and more people are enjoying the benefit of web scraping. This may be due to the fact that it is not very hard to do. Some may think that web scraping involves a lot of coding and having hacking knowledge in order to get what you want, but that is not entirely true. Web Scraping requires very little knowledge of coding. All you have to do is just make sure your parameters are set correctly for you to get what you need.

Before you start scraping away, you have to observe the following things

  1. Research 

If you are looking for specific information, you have to find out which web page or website has what you need. This allows you to know where to run your scraper and how to use it. This not only saves you time but also ensures you get what you want. 

  1. HTML

Every site has an HTML structure. What you see on a site is merely the results of things in the background, which is written in HTML. To extract data, the web scraper goes into the HTML part of the site. All relevant in HTML is contained in tags, which is what the web scraper identifies to extract the information needed. That is why it is important to understand a little HTML as that can help you when writing your code for your web scraper so that you know what tags to include in it to make the scraper quickly identify the information you need. 

  1. Means 

The next thing to decide on is how you would want to scrape. There are three popular ways which you can go around this, which includes

Writing your code: this has to do with using python or any other language to write your web scraping code. The good thing about this method is that you are completely in control and have total freedom on how to search for things. 

Online Services: there are so many websites that can help you scrape other websites for a fee. Simply tell them the kind of data you need or the site you need to scrape from. 

APIs: an API is a program that you can use to scrape the web. There are so many APIs on the internet and you can even purchase them or use free ones to get the job done. 

  1. Take Permission Before Scraping 

It is very important that you take permission from a site before scraping so that you will not be violating any terms and conditions. Some sites have copyrighted data and using it can land you in some trouble. That is why it is necessary to take permission, to know whether you can scrape the site or what data you should not extract. 

 

Web scraping is a very convenient way to gather specific data and it is constantly changing the course of things every day. You do not need to be an internet guru before you can reap the benefits of web scraping. Simply pay attention to the rules of the internet and try to put the data you extract into good use. At Zenscrape, we can help you gather every data you need from any website. Contact us today to get started. 

About Author

LaDonna Dennis

LaDonna Dennis is the founder and creator of Mom Blog Society. She wears many hats. She is a Homemaker*Blogger*Crafter*Reader*Pinner*Friend*Animal Lover* Former writer of Frost Illustrated and, Cancer...SURVIVOR! LaDonna is happily married to the love of her life, the mother of 3 grown children and "Grams" to 3 grandchildren. She adores animals and has four furbabies: Makia ( a German Shepherd, whose mission in life is to be her attached to her hip) and Hachie, (an OCD Alaskan Malamute, and Akia (An Alaskan Malamute) who is just sweet as can be. And Sassy, a four-month-old German Shepherd who has quickly stolen her heart and become the most precious fur baby of all times. Aside from the humans in her life, LaDonna's fur babies are her world.

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phylischa
phylischa
4 years ago

Yeah it is quite important to know how to scrape properly as a business owner. i do it myself for carpet cleaning jobs around bolton.

martin
martin
4 years ago

probably would be best to ask a local pool contractor for help about that

Amar Kumar
4 years ago

Hey Ladonna,

Web scraping can be done manually, in most cases, automated tools are preferred when scraping web data as they can be less costly and work at a faster rate.

But, seen web scraping is not a simple task. Websites come in many shapes and forms as a result, web scrapers vary in functionality and features. Thanks for sharing.

~ Amar

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Inflation increase casts doubt on annual percentage rate cut bets

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