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A Beginner’s Guide to Web Scraping

Do you want to try web scraping, but you're not sure where to start then. You're in the right place. I'll show you six web scraping project ideas you can do for fun, practice your web scraping skills, or even start a business.

What is Web Scraping In Short?

It's an automated method for collecting data from the web. Instead of copying everything by hand, you use an app or script to do it for you. This way, you can get the data you need much faster and with less effort.

Web scraping involves several steps. Navigating to the right web page is called web crawling. Downloading it and then passing it to keep only. Necessary information there are several ways to scrape the web.


Ways to Scrape the Web?

Write Your Own Web Scraper

Write Your Own Web Scraper

One is to write your own web scraper using a programming language like python. This method isn't for everyone, but if you'd like to try it you can grab libraries, like requests and beautiful soup. And try to write a simple web scraping script. Some great websites to practice web scraping skills are twoscrape.com and scrapethissite.com. They'll show you how to deal with table pagination and other challenges at some point.

To deal with interactive pages, you'll need to whip out a headless browser. You can learn all about them here, but let's not get ahead of ourselves for now.


Web Scraping Tool

Web Scraping tools

The second way is to use a pre-made web scraping tool. There are many different tools to choose from, ranging in complexity and effectiveness. So let's take Smartproxy – a proxy provider which we like to use.

The simplest tool, a smart scraper, lets you collect data with a few mouse clicks. But it's manual and doesn't really scale search engine proxies. On the other hand, it is harder to use and requires coding in return. It allows scraping google on a large scale. Generally, the more complex or automated your project is, the more elaborate tools you'll need to have.

You already tried web scraping. Which website was it? Let us know in the comments below. Don't worry, though. Many of the following ideas won't require you to graduate from it. They can be done with a smart scraper or any other no-code web scraper.


How Does Smart Scraper Work?

Simply download the extension for your browser. Click on the icon, then start scraping and clicking anything on the website. The extension automatically chooses all similar elements and puts them in a nameable column. After selecting all the data you need, you can simply export it into a CSV or JSON. That's the gist of it.


Some Easy Web Scraping Project Ideas

Some Easy Web Scraping Project Ideas

Alright, let's get into it! We'll begin with some easy web scraping project ideas, then move on to the big guns idea number one scrape.

Number 1 – A Subreddit

A Subreddit Reddit is one of the largest internet communities and a treasure trove of interesting data. So pick A Subreddit and then go to town to find out which posts get the most votes. And comments list frequently mentioned topics to observe how people react to the news.

This can lead you to business ideas more successfully, Reddit posts, or simply be a fun data science project for a weekend afternoon. Remember the Gamestop stock madness back, then every trader was scraping. Our wall street bets like mad, trying to understand what its members would do next in fancy terms. This is called sentiment analysis. With its help, some made big money, while others lost their life savings.

The new Reddit design is pretty hostile to web scrapers. And in my opinion, people alike, so I recommend using i.reddit.com or old.reddit.com. While they're still available speaking of sentiments.

Number 2 –¬† Scraping Product Reviews

If you're like me, you probably spend a lot of time researching a product before buying it. Blogs are often insincere, and customer reviews aren't perfect either. They can yield valuable insights instead of going through multiple stores. Why not scrape this data and have everything in one place?

Let's say you want to buy a new phone. You could read the reviews on Amazon, then Bestbuy, then Walmart. Or you could scrape all three pages, filter the data and get a full view of the product. For example, limiting your scope to two to four-star reviews several months after launch will give you a real insight into issues.

Number 3 – Scrape Job Boards

If you're searching for a job, it can be tiring to sift through multiple portals. So you can try building a simple aggregator to collect ads from several sites.

Your sources can be platforms like craigslist, indeed, and clutch. This will help you better keep track of the job market. For example, you could periodically scrape top ads for your position to understand which qualifications you might need to work on. If you're an employer, web scraping job portals can show you which positions your competitors are trying to fill, how they can stretch the ads, and what they offer.

If the job portal doesn't provide aggregate statistics or has them behind a paywall,

You can scrape things like salary data and draw your own insights.

Number 4 – Find New Business Leads

Web scraping can also help you land leads for your business. How by go through various business directories to find and qualify potential customers?

Websites like Tripadvisor, Yelp, and Yellow Pages contain many data on brick-and-mortar businesses. You can use them to extract leads by location, popularity, and other factors. You find it important for software and i.t companies. Some great choices are CrunchBase and LinkedIn. Be careful with LinkedIn, though, because it doesn't take web scraping well.


Some Advanced Web Scraping Project Ideas

Alright, so these were some simple web scraping projects for beginners. How about going a step further and doing something that can really pay off

These two following ideas will show you how to note that tools like smart scraper will no longer work. You'll need proxies to change locations and advanced anti-detection settings to avoid blocks.

Use Smartproxy to Build a Tool for Tracking Local Search Performance

Smartproxy

Have you ever googled a term like best pizzas near me? That's what local search is, and with everyone going online. Nowadays, there's no better way to be found than having a strong presence on search engines SEO toolsets, like Ahrefs, are great for tracking keywords and creating a content strategy.

But they either lack data about local results or charge too high a heavens for it. So, if you run several local businesses or a thrifty marketing agency, why not save money by building your own keyword tracker?

Smartproxy's search engine proxies work great for this. They can target not only cities but also particular coordinates and radiuses. You should receive structured results every time without needing to tackle captures and IP blocks. This project will require technical skills and scale to work. But it can quickly pay off.

The Second Advanced Idea that's Blazing Hot Right

Web Scraping nft

Now is to build an NFT scraping bot NFTs or non-fungible tokens have exploded in popularity. Sneakerheads and other hustlers have been making a bank by building bots to snatch and flip rare digital artwork.

Maybe that could be your next web scraping project. You'll need to work for it though the top NFT market open company has started toughening up against bots. So you'll need good residential proxies, advanced web scraping techniques, and a willingness to learn how blockchain works to succeed. But if you can do that, there's severe money-making potential for something that could be a pastime project.

Alright, so that was my list of web scraping ideas. If you found something you liked, go ahead and try it today. You'll find links to smart scraper and search engine proxies. Below a few hours of your past time can turn into a fun project or even a profitable side hustle.

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Chris