Web scraping is used in almost all industries to extract and analyze data from the Internet. Companies use the collected data to develop new business strategies and products. Your data is valuable. If you don’t take steps to protect your privacy, companies use your data to make money.
If it’s big business, why don’t you do it too? Learning how to clean up a website can help you find the best deal, build leads for your business, and even help you find a new job.
Use the Web Scraping service
The fastest and easiest way to collect data from the Internet is to use a professional web scraping service. If you need to collect large amounts of data, a service such as Scrapinghub may be for you. They provide a large-scale, easy-to-use online data collection service.
If you’re looking for something on a smaller scale, ParseHub is worth exploring to clean up a few websites. All users start with a free 200-page plan that does not require a credit card, which can be used later via tiered pricing.
Web Scraping app
The Web Scraper extension for Chrome is a great choice for a fast, free and convenient way to clean up websites.
It takes a bit of learning, but the developer has provided fantastic documentation and tutorial videos Web Scraper is one of the simplest and best small data collection tools, offering more free tier than most.
Use Microsoft Excel to scrape a website
For something more familiar, Microsoft Excel offers a basic web scraping feature. To give it a try, open a new Excel workbook and select the Data tab. Click “From the Internet” in the toolbar and follow the instructions in the wizard to start the collection.
From there, you have several options for saving data to a spreadsheet. Check out our guide to web scraping with Excel for a complete guide.
Use the Scrapy Python library
If you are familiar with the Python programming language, Scrapy is the perfect library for you. It allows you to set up custom spiders that crawl websites to extract information. Then you can use the information collected in your programs or export it to a file.
The Scrapy Tutorial covers everything from basic web parsing to scheduled information gathering with multiple spiders in a professional manner. Learning how to use Scrapy to clean up a website isn’t just a useful skill for your own needs. Developers who know how to use Scrapy are in high demand, which could lead to a whole new career
Use the beautiful Python stew library
It is not as fully featured as Scrapy, but for most use cases it is the perfect balance between functionality and ease of use for Python programmers.
Use the Web Scraping API
If you are comfortable writing web scraping code yourself, you still need to run it locally. This is fine for small operations, but as data collection increases, it will use up precious bandwidth, potentially slowing down your network
Using the web scraping API can offload some of the work to a remote server that you can access through code. There are several options for this method, including full-featured and professional options like Dexi and downright serviceless options like ScraperAPI
Use IFTTT to scrape a website
IFTTT is a powerful automation tool. You can use it to automate just about anything, including data collection and web scraping.
One of the huge benefits of IFTTT is its integration with many web services. A basic example of using Twitter might look something like this:
- Log in to IFTTT and select Create
- Select Twitter from the service menu.
- Select New Search from Tweet
- Enter your search term or hashtag and click Create Trigger.
- Select Google Sheets as the action service.
- Select Add Row To Spreadsheet and follow the steps
- Click Create Action.
In just a few simple steps, you’ve created an automated service that will document tweets associated with a search term or hashtag and username along with when they were posted.
With so many options to connect to online services, IFTTT or one of its alternatives is the perfect tool to easily collect data by scraping websites.
Web abstraction using the Siri Shortcuts app
For iOS users, the Shortcuts app is a great tool to link and automate your digital life. You may be familiar with its integration between your calendar, contacts and maps, but it can do much more.
In a detailed post, Reddit user u / keveridge describes how to use regular expressions in the Shortcuts app to get detailed information from websites.
Regular expressions provide more accurate searches and can work across multiple files, returning only the information you need.
Use Tasker for Android to search the web
If you’re an Android user, there are no easy ways to clean up a website. You can use the IFTTT app by following the steps above, but Tasker may be a better fit.
Available for $ 3.50 on the Play Store, Tasker is considered by many to be the big brother of IFTTT It has a wide range of automation options. These include customizable web searches, alerts for data changes on selected websites, and the ability to download content from Twitter
While not a traditional web scraping method, automation apps can provide much of the same functionality as professional web scraping tools without having to learn to program or pay for an online data collection service.
Automated web scraping
Whether you want to gather information for your business or make your life more convenient, web scraping is a skill worth learning.
The information you collect, when properly sorted, will allow you to better understand what interests you, your friends and business customers.