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How You Can Start Scraping Websites Without Code in Just Minutes

If you run an online business, you know how valuable data can be. Customer reviews, competitor prices, social media trends – these bits of web data provide crucial insights. But collecting this data manually takes forever.

That‘s why smart companies are turning to web scraping.

Web scraping (also called data scraping or web data extraction) is the process of automatically gathering data from websites. Special software or services are used to "scrape" the data you need so you don‘t have to sit around copying and pasting all day.

The best part is, you don‘t need to know how to code to start scraping! New visual tools allow anyone to extract data fast with a simple point-and-click interface.

Intrigued yet? Keep reading and I‘ll show you how you can scrape websites without writing a single line of code. I‘ll also highlight some real-world examples of how companies of all sizes are using web scraping to get ahead.

What Exactly Is Web Scraping?

Let‘s start with the basics.

Web scraping involves using automated software to extract large amounts of data from websites. The scraper software browses websites and pulls the data you specify into a structured format like a spreadsheet.

Scraping can extract all kinds of data – text, images, documents, prices, inventory levels, you name it. As long as the data is publicly visible on a website, it can be scraped.

For example, say you need a list of product features from all the listings on an ecommerce site. Manually compiling that data would take hours or days. A web scraper can do it within minutes or seconds, saving you tons of time.

Web scraping has exploded in popularity in recent years. Market research firm MarketsandMarkets expects the web scraping industry to grow from $2.6 billion in 2022 to $5.9 billion by 2027. More and more companies are turning to scrapers to harness the power of web data.

5 Top Web Scraping Tools for Non-Coders

In the past, web scraping required a background in programming and coding skills. Scrapers had to be built from scratch which was complex and time-consuming.

Thankfully, new point-and-click scraper tools now exist that allow complete beginners to start extracting data right away. Let‘s look at 5 of the best:

1. Bright Data Web Scraper

Bright Data offers an intuitive visual web scraper that can extract data from virtually any site. Over 10,000 businesses rely on Bright Data for their scraping needs.

Bright Data web scraper interface

With the Bright Data scraper, you simply visually select the data you want to extract from a site. For example, product titles, prices, images and so on. The tool handles the difficult stuff like Javascript sites and captchas automatically under the hood.

Bright Data is ideal for both one-off scraping projects as well as large, scalable data extraction pipelines. And their team of data experts can help you extract web data securely and efficiently.

2. Apify

Another popular web scraping platform is Apify. Apify provides pre-built scrapers for common sites and allows you to run scrapers via an API.

It also has actor templates that serve as customizable starting points for your own scrapers. You can visually select elements and integrate proxies, headless browsers, and rotating IPs to avoid blocks.

Apify is great for large scale web scraping jobs and can be integrated directly into your tech stack. It starts at $99/month.

3. Octoparse

Octoparse aims to make web scraping super simple for beginners. It has a point-and-click visual interface to set up scrapers tailored to your specific needs.

The tool allows you to extract data, store it, and export it in a neatly organized format. Octoparse has pre-built scrapers for many popular sites and guides you through training custom scrapers.

Pricing starts at $99/month for up to 5 scrapers extracting up to 5,000 data points per day.

4. ParseHub

ParseHub is a highly visual data extraction tool optimized for simplicity. The intuitive drag-and-drop interface helps you train scrapers tailored to any site.

Scrapers can be scheduled to run automatically on a recurring basis. And ParseHub helps you store and export the extracted data in a clean, structured format.

If you‘re new to web scraping, ParseHub is a great choice to get started. Pricing starts at $99/month for 1 scraper and 100K monthly data points.

5. Scrapy Cloud

Scrapy Cloud offers a web scraping API and infrastructure designed for coders. But they also have a useful point-and-click tool for visually defining scrapers called Portia.

Portia allows you to select and annotate elements on a target web page. It generates a Scrapy spider definition file which you can run via the API.

Pricing starts at $49/month for small scale projects. Scrapy Cloud is ideal for developers who want to programmatically integrate scraping into their apps.

There are many other options out there, but these tools are a great starting point for non-coders. The right platform depends on your use case, data needs and technical abilities.

Step-By-Step: Extracting Data with Bright Data Web Scraper

Now that you have a sense of the top web scraping tools out there, let‘s see a real example of how you can scrape a website without writing any code.

For this walkthrough, we‘ll use Bright Data Web Scraper. I‘ve chosen Bright Data as I‘ve used it extensively for my own projects. Its speed, scalability and reliable data extraction capabilities consistently impress me.

Here‘s how easy it is to scrape a website from start to finish using Bright Data:

Step 1 – Navigate to Target Website

First, you‘ll navigate to the website you want to scrape data from right within Bright Data scraper interface. For this demo, we‘ll scrape ThoughtCatalog – an entertainment site with various blog posts and listicles.

Our goal here is to extract the headline, summary text, tags and date from each article.

ThoughtCatalog website for web scraping example

Step 2 – Define Extractors

Next, you‘ll visually select the elements you want to extract. Bright Data calls these "extractors".

On the right panel, click the extractor button to start selecting data. Hover over the headline text on an article and click "Create" to setup the Headline extractor.

Setting up Bright Data extractors

Repeat this for the summary text, tags and date elements on the page. In just a minute or two, you‘ve configured scrapers for all the data you need.

Step 3 – Scrape and Export

Now hit "Scrape Page" and Bright Data will rapidly extract the defined data from all articles on the site. The scraped data neatly appears in the interface and can be exported as a CSV, sent to a database or integrated with Zapier and more.

And that‘s it! Within 5 minutes and a few clicks, we‘ve successfully extracted the article headlines, summaries, tags and dates from ThoughtCatalog.

Bright Data handles any JavaScript, pagination or anti-scraping measures automatically under the hood. You just point and click the data you need.

Real-World Web Scraping Use Cases

Now that you‘ve seen how easy it is to scrape data without code, what can you actually use web scrapers for? Here are some of the most popular real-world web scraping applications:

Ecommerce Price Monitoring

Ecommerce sites constantly fluctuate pricing to stay competitive. Manually monitoring changes across seller sites like Amazon and eBay is impossible.

Web scrapers seamlessly extract pricing data from multiple sources for continuous monitoring. For example, Bright Data helps one client extract 700K product attributes daily for dynamic pricing.

Web scraping for price monitoring helps ecommerce retailers optimize pricing for 10-20% profit bumps.

Market Research

From monitoring trends to analyzing customer sentiment, web data offers a goldmine of market research intel.

The research firm Mintel extracts thousands of data points daily from news sites, forums, reviews, social media and more to power their reports.

Web scraping delivers the huge data sets required for accurate market research exponentially faster than manual methods.

Real Estate Lead Generation

In real estate, acting quickly on new listings is critical to gain an edge. But scouring MLS sites manually is extremely tedious.

Web scrapers can extract new listings as they hit the market and uncover seller motivations from foreclosure notices and permit applications on county sites.

For example, one agency was able to expand their pipeline by 5X in 30 days with strategic web scraping for leads.

Search Engine Competitive Analysis

Monitoring your search engine rankings vs competitors is key for SEO. But constantly checking rankings manually on SERPs is unrealistic.

Web scraping tools like SerpApi rapidly extract ranking data from Google and present changes over time for comprehensive SERP analysis.

Scraping search engine results at scale delivers the ranking insights needed to beat competitors.

Social Media Monitoring

Lastly, web scraping is hugely valuable for tracking trends and monitoring conversations on social media.

Brands use scrapers to identify relevant influencers and brand advocates by extracting engagement data, comments, followers and more. The data fuels targeted partnership outreach.

Scraping social media data also enables analyzing sentiment, monitoring responses to campaigns, discovering viral content, and more.

These are just a handful of examples across industries like retail, real estate, finance and marketing. The applications are endless.

Answers to Common Web Scraping Questions

If you‘re new to data scraping, you probably have some questions about how it works and things like legality. Here are answers to some frequently asked questions:

Is web scraping legal?

In most cases, yes – scraping publicly available data is perfectly legal. The key is to always access sites according to their terms of service and with proper attribution.

Can websites detect web scraping?

Websites can identify suspicious levels of traffic coming from scrapers. Using tools with proxy rotation helps you mimic organic human browsing behavior and avoid blocks.

Do I need to know coding and programming?

Not at all! Visual tools like Bright Data allow anyone to scrape without coding. But developers can also integrate scrapers into their apps via APIs.

How much data can be scraped?

Web scrapers can extract thousands or even millions of data points from large sites reliably at scale. Limits depend on the site, your tool‘s capabilities and computing power.

What about ethics? Is all scraping ok?

You should only scrape data that is publicly accessible in a responsible manner. Never over-query sites or access private user info. Follow site terms and access data fairly.

Please let me know if you have any other questions! I‘m always happy to share my knowledge on implementing web scraping effectively.

Let the Data Work for You

I hope this guide gave you a good overview of how to scrape websites without code using visual tools like Bright Data.

Instead of wasting hours manually compiling web data, you can now leverage scrapers to automatically gather game-changing business insights.

The key is finding use cases tailored to your specific business needs, whether that‘s monitoring competitors, analyzing markets or gathering consumer research.

Web data contains a treasure trove of opportunity. With the right scraping approach, you can transform scattered bits of online data into structured intelligence to gain a leg up on competitors.

The bottom line? Don‘t let web data remain locked away out of reach. Master the power of scalable data extraction with web scraping to drive tangible business impact. The data is just waiting to work for you – all it takes is a few clicks to unlock its potential.



Michael Reddy is a tech enthusiast, entertainment buff, and avid traveler who loves exploring Linux and sharing unique insights with readers.