Since the dawn of the internet, over three decades ago, web scraping has been in existence. Web scraping data began at approximately the same time the world wide web was born. The world wide web wanderer was the first Perl-based scraper used to measure the size of the web – a few years after the conception of the internet.
Web scraping is a powerful tool that can solve a considerable number of issues most up-and-coming businesses, eCommerce brands, and large conglomerate companies face. Price variations, competitor research, sentiment analysis, and product performance are all valuable insights for organizations operating in relevant industries.
As more and more organizations continue to see merit in web scraping, the question of ‘How to scrape website data’ in an effective way continues to be of significance. There are several readily available options to choose from – most operating on a monthly subscription model in various price ranges that allows the user to gather any data required.
Let’s look at the benefits of data scraping and the right solution for different organizations.
A Modern Approach
Since the first web scraper, we have come a long way and technical solutions have evolved at an accelerating pace. There are a few options readily available for web scraping in the market. On the low-budget end, open-source web scrapers and no-code web scrapers provide the necessary capabilities to scrape the internet. These solutions are better utilized by small businesses with limited spending capacity as they come with certain limitations.
Quite often, the above tools have restricted functionality and are unable to deal with sophisticated websites designed to block crawling bots. Adopting the tool also requires a continuous effort to stay up to date with any new developments or challenges related to web scraping. Overall, though cost-efficient, the lack of on-demand customer support and customizability can hinder the complex requirements.
On the other hand, organizations larger in size that need a robust tool for varied applications can find solace in opting for a subscription platform that provides heightened functionality and is capable of handling complicated requests. A DaaS platform can address these needs and then some more by providing a holistic solution to web scraping.
The Magic Behind Data Scraping
For no-code or open-source web scrapers, any individual with limited knowledge or training can learn to use the tool. Most platforms follow a similar format wherein users are given accessibility to specify the data required for extraction from their websites of choice. The tool then gathers all the designated information and stores it in a database that can be readily downloaded in multiple supporting formats.
The fundamentals of using a no-code scraper to one coded from scratch remain the same; it’s the range of functionality and complexity of the tool that makes a difference to what extent data can be scraped – where the money usually lies. The core steps of any web scraper are –
Navigating the website and downloading its page content
Extracting the relevant information required in the format that is required
An additional processing step to alter data that is not in the desired format
Loading the formatted data onto a database that’s ready to be downloaded
Data as a Service (DaaS)
The alternative to using an open-source or no-code scraper is to opt for a DaaS platform that provides all the benefits of web scraping in a clean plug-and-play format. The added value in using such a tool is –
- Prompt customer service
- Customized solutions that cater to your specific needs
- Future trend analysis
- Option to build predictive engines.
Another benefit of such a service is the drastic reduction in time needed to operate and extract data at the user end, as the platform uses Artificial Intelligence and advanced code to index the data. For large-scale requirements, DaaS platforms provide scalability and up-to-date software enhancements to ensure that the tool is conversant with emerging changes across the internet and doesn’t run into any roadblocks.
This added ease and assurance that the harvested data is of high quality and to the expectations of the user, makes the process considerably more comfortable. It also means that deadlines are met, and the data is in an accessible format as per the standards of the organization.
Depending on the business needs and outcomes required from web scraping, any one of the above mentioned options can be implemented. While it may be tempting to scale down costs and opt for a low-budget solution, its limitations can outweigh the pros depending on the complexity of requirements.
No matter the choice, web scraping has tremendous benefits for any brand operating in this competitive market. It supports business intelligence and allows for data-driven decision-making. Organizations that understand the importance of data and adopt the necessary innovative solutions, will automatically gain leverage and a strong foothold in this ever-changing market.
To know more about web scraping and how it can add value to your organization, please get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org