Dipping Into Data – A Beginner’s Guide to Web Scraping


    With entrepreneurship gaining traction among this generation of young people, more and more new businesses are popping up in Melbourne. With the obvious inexperience of many young entrepreneurs, some may find it difficult to understand processes required to drive business success. Web scraping is one of those services. It is a way of compiling data and converting it into a form that is easy to use.

    There are many benefits to having a robust data-scraping system in your business, a couple of which will be discussed today. Here is a short guide to web scraping for those who are new to data compilation and analysis. It will educate you on the definition of web scraping, when it should be used and issues that may arise during its use.

    What is Web Scraping?

    Web scraping is a term used to describe the compilation and analysis of data. Most people already take part in this “scraping” in their everyday lives. Think of a time when you’ve had to make a purchase on the internet, maybe for a new dishwasher. You would have searched for the different dishwashers available, their price, and maybe even their product reviews. You may have even asked your friends or family for recommendations.

    After compiling this data (either in your head or on a spreadsheet), you would make an informed decision as to which dishwasher is right for you. Web scraping utilises the same principle, however the information it gathers is exclusively found on websites. It can be used for data scraping of images, property listings, competitor products and much more!

    When Should I use Web Scraping?

    Web scraping can be valuable for almost all businesses and individuals. The question is not “should I use web scraping”, rather “should I use an automated web scraping service?”. Web scraping can (and should) be used by everyone, but automation should be considered when large volumes of data is required for analysis. Trolling through internet web pages manually can be seen as a inefficient use of time. You may also miss huge chunks of data that could grossly affect your analysis.

    If data scraping is something that your business allocates significant resources to, then you should consider contacting a web scraping service. An additional benefit to automated web scraping is that alerts can be set up for any changes to data you are interested in. This can be if a competitor product drops in price, or if a new dishwasher launches. The benefits of automated web scraping services are numerous, and should be considered.


    One issue that can arise from web scraping is the blocking of computer IP addresses. This occurs when over-the-top scraping can result in the use of a significant percentage of the websites bandwidth by a single IP address. This can be detrimental to the website, slowing it down or even crashing it completely. Some web scraping services counteract this by rotating the IP addresses used for the data search, allowing for the information you need to be accessible. Alternatively, they may contact the website on your behalf to fix the issue.


    So there we have it, a beginners guide to web scraping that will get you on your way to becoming a data analysis expert. If you have any questions, contact a web scraping agency today to find out more. Good luck!

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