It would be very challenging if you attempted to do things manually. Using web scraping software, you can extract even the non-tabular or poorly structured data from web portals and translate it into a utilizable, well-thought-out format. The following article will explain the advantages of web scraping and how it differentiates from doing the work manually, so let’s look at it.
Web Scraping Vs. Doing the Work Manually
Scraping websites is a method for fully automated gathering of targeted data and information from one or more websites. A similar website extraction can also be accomplished manually but the advantages of web scraping in an automated way are many. Generally, web scraping is faster, more efficient, and has fewer errors when this task is automated using web scraping instead of manually doing it.
Manual Data Collection
Data that is collected manually is collected manually, typically with a pen and paper. As a standard operating procedure, manual data collection is frequently deemed acceptable when the data collection is to collect a new measure. Nevertheless, once you have determined that a metric is worth collecting, you will have to automate the process of collecting and storing the data to compile and assess.
Scraping Data from Websites
The way we browse websites is by using a browser. This is because the information is written in HTML form, and the browser is the tool that helps display it in a way that is easy to understand. There is a great deal of similarity between scraping data from websites and the human behavior of browsing across several websites.
Web scraping is different from web browsing in that instead of getting information from the web and inputting it into a local file, it extracts data from the web and organizes it into documents that can be downloaded. It is possible to scrape the web manually as well as automatically. When you copy and paste the data from a website manually, you refer to the process of copying and pasting all the data. Scraping is done automatically by using web scrapers. Undoubtedly, one of the advantages of web scraping tools is more accurate and faster than manually doing it.
- Marketing for e-commerce
The advantages of web scraping include scheduling scraping that provides users with real-time data from several online marketplaces simultaneously. The pricing information can be used for price monitoring. This can give a sensational analysis of the product as buyers’ reviews are scraped. Marketers must use sales, stock levels, and ranking data to make better decisions.
- Aggregation of content
It is well known that many people and companies make money from finding and reworking valuable content online, then aggregating it into an organized structure. In my opinion, people would love to be able to pay for a service like this to prevent themselves from being swallowed up by a sea of information.
The process of creating a job board is quite similar to that of gathering valuable job postings from various channels. There is, however, a great deal more to be said about content aggregation.
- Research in academia
It is important to note that Crawlbase supports over 400 educational institutions to enable them to conduct quantitative and qualitative research. Among the research topics that have been investigated are financial data, the development of a particular industry, linguistic studies, social media analysis, etc.
Four Problems with Manually Data Collection
“Manually collected data” refers to all the information collected manually, typically with a pen and paper. As a rule of thumb, manual data collection can be accepted as a standard operating procedure if you are collecting a measure you have never collected before.
- An excellent manual metric becomes a bad batched metric
If you want to gain a better understanding of the problems associated with manual data collection, you must watch staff collect data over time. As far as my experience is concerned, if the data collection process is left to be a manual process, people tend to stop writing down the results after each occurrence and instead start writing them down in batches.
Gradually, this will happen, at first every other time, then every fourth time, and before you know it, it will be before lunch and before you leave. This can lead to the recording being done once a day or even once a week. Whenever the data is recorded in longer and longer batches, the data becomes less and less reliable as the number of batches becomes longer and longer.
- The manual collection of data slows down productivity
Every time someone has to write something down, it reduces their productivity. Manually recording a task may only take 15 seconds, but if it is repeated every minute, they lose 25% of their time. This could result in a loss of 1.5 hours per day of productivity. This was the primary complaint in the first attempt at the automation of data collection. Staff inputted staff numbers, tasks, time, and material numbers on keypads in each work area. Often, entering all the data took longer than performing the job, resulting in low compliance.
Often called the “productivity zone,” manual data collection interferes with the ability of staff to concentrate and get into a rhythm. The most productive time for staff is entering this zone during the day. This rhythm can be disrupted if data is collected manually.
- This data is hard to slice and dice (analyze parts)
Understanding the causes of a problem or trends can be difficult. It is also harder to interpret data collected manually since it has not been compiled and is more difficult to interpret. As an example, some problems are related to the passage of time. Depending on the day of the week or the time of day, they may only occur in the morning.
Probably you’ve heard of this before because it was described in the 1971 book Wheels, so if this sounds familiar, it’s because it was described in that book. There was a claim that a car produced on Monday or Friday seemed to suffer from quality problems primarily due to late nights, hangovers, cutting corners, and absenteeism, according to the books of Arthur Hailey.
Digital presses and inserting equipment can jam more frequently on Mondays in some areas than they do on other days. However, some printing and mailing facilities have Monday problems, too. If you did not compile the data, you wouldn’t be able to identify the root cause of this problem, which is typically associated with temperature and humidity. The point is that data should be gathered, compiled, and then sliced and diced for analysis to make them useful for interpretation.
Applications of Web Scraping
Scraping information from real estate web portals to track and monitor trends in the industry
Collecting and analyzing blog comments online to improve a service or product’s quality by analyzing comments on the blog
An automated process is used to collect archives of online reports from multiple website pages at the same time
The data scraping services these companies offer are quite easy, and no technical expertise is required to use the software tool. It is faster and more accurate to scrape news feeds with this software.
Advantages of Web Scraping
It helps to perform work in a faster and more efficient way
Advantages of web scraping include extracting data at a scale
Data is structured when outputted so that you can utilize it effectively
Web scraping is not only cost-effective but also flexible, which means that you can make specific budgets and can help you spend as you go
Since you are primarily using third-party scraping solutions, it can have minimal maintenance costs as the third-party solution provider maintains the scraper at their end and the user needs to maintain their own code rather than the complete solution
As third-party service providers maintain the scraping solution, the service is reliable and delivers a through-out performance that has close to zero downtime, which can be counted as one of your advantages of web scraping
Disadvantages of Web Scraping
Web scraping has a steep learning curve since it requires going over multiple hurdles that involve learning about the hurdle and the solution needed to tackle that depending on the websites it needs to scrape data from. It can be an advantage of web scraping if you are to provide web scraping services with the right skill set
Scrapers, even after being built, can be blocked by the websites it’s scraping data from
Whether scraping a complex website or using the best tool, you still need to upload it to your computer or a database. After that, you must be ready for a time-spending complex data processing for data analysis.
Scrapers need continuous management and updates because the structure of the website you are scraping data from changes. Using third-party solution providers like Crawlbase can make it easy for you as they maintain the scraper for you.
Best Tools to Scrape Web Information
There are many different web scrapers available, but we strongly suggest using Crawlbase to avail of most of the advantages of web scraping. Because automated tools are always within the budget and work faster, they are recommended. Here are some of the reasons.
In just a few clicks, Crawlbase converts web pages into structured spreadsheets.
It has a very easy-to-use interface with an auto-detection of web data, which makes it very easy to use
You can use these templates to scrape data from popular websites like Amazon, Facebook,Yelp and many other.
Several advanced features are used to ensure the smooth running of the process, including IP rotation, scheduled scraping API, and cloud services.
Crawlbase is an easy-to-use tool that is useful to non-coders for crawling the web, and it also offers advanced services for businesses to find specific data on the network. With a great user support system, it is friendly for new starters. A tutorial can be found in the Help Center, and if you have questions, you can also ask them in the community.
- Visual Scraper
Aside from SaaS, Visual Scraper creates software extractors for clients and offers data delivery services for clients. Users could use it to extract news, updates, and forum frequently. By scheduling the projects in Visual Scraper, users can repeat the sequence every minute, day, week, month, or year.
- Content Grabber (Sequentum)
A web crawling software called Content Grabber is targeted at enterprises. You can create your own standalone web crawling agents. It can obtain structured data from almost any website and save it in your chosen format. Users can use C# or VB.NET for debugging or writing scripts to control the crawling process.
- Helium Scraper
Helium Scraper is a visual web data crawling software that allows users to crawl web data visually appealingly. On a basic level, it would be able to satisfy the users’ crawling needs within a reasonable timeframe. New users can take advantage of a 10-day free trial to get started, and once you are satisfied with how the software works, you will be able to use it for the rest of your life with a one-time purchase.
In any case, whether or not you’re working on a product or service website, you can’t add live data feeds to your web or mobile app, or you need to gather a lot of information for your research on the Internet, you can make use of a proxy scraper like Crawlbase to save you a lot of time and to allow you to carry out your work without having to make any manual effort.