The internet is full of data and information.
However, the data on most websites is often not that easy to access.
For example, if you wanted to collect pricing data from products on Amazon, you’d have to browse through hundreds or thousands of pages that have the data you want.
This process can be easily automated with the use of modern web scrapers.
What is Web Scraping?
Web scraping refers to the process we just described, the extraction of data from a website into a new format.
While web scraping can be done manually, software solutions are often preferred, such as web scrapers.
A web scraper will automate the process and collect multiple data points from thousands of pages in just minutes. You can then download the data as an excel sheet or JSON file for further analysis.
How do Web Scrapers Works?
Web scrapers come in many different shapes and sizes.
Some work on the cloud, some work locally on your machine. Some are user-friendly, some have no UI at all.
As a result, each web scraper can work in way different ways from others.
However, the best web scraper for you would probably have a user-friendly UI that lets you click on the specific data you’d like to extract in order to train the web scraper.
The web scraper would then run on the cloud to extract the data you requested, freeing up your computer’s resources.
Once the data is extracted, you will be able to download it as an Excel or JSON file.
Want to see the process in action? Check out the video below or read our guide on how to scrape any website into an Excel spreadsheet.
How Businesses Use Web Scraping
The data that web scraping gives you access to can be very valuable. As a result, many businesses use web scraping to improve their services and operations.
For example, web scraping is incredibly common in the real estate industry for market analysis and to build databases of available real estate listing.
Have you ever used one of those convenient comparison shopping websites? These sites rely on web scraping to extract product prices from several sites in order to show you the best deal. They then take a cut of that sale as a commission.
Businesses can also use web scraping for lead generation, to help through a website transition and much more.
Check out our guide on how businesses across many industries use web scraping.
Web Scraping Ideas to Get Started With
So now that you know the basics of web scraping, you might be looking forward to starting your first web scraping project.
However, you might not know where to start. After all, web scraping can be used in many different ways.
You could try to build a simple investment app or try to build a list of leads for a local business.
Fortunately, we have put together a guide on web scraping ideas to get started with which includes steps on how to complete said projects.
Web scraping gives you unparalleled access to the data from any website on the internet.
However you choose to implement this into your business practices could give your business an edge versus your competitors.