Scraping data from the web and storing it in a structured format is very handy when you need to collect and port data over to other applications or simply put the data into spreadsheets for your needs.
There’s several tools that can help you achieve web scraping and each of them has its strong points. Knowing which tool to use for which specific need that you have is an important decision.
You’ll need to gain some insights into the capabilities and features of each of the tools. I’ll cover some of the most popular tools be they desktop, browser extensions or web based SaaS tools.
Scrapebox is easily one of the most advanced scraping tools out there (and the one thats been around the longest with fantastic continuous free updates). It has a ton of features and is more than just a scraper. It really is an essential tool to have for every digital marketer or if you’re doing any work on the web, and is pretty much the gold standard with a load of features that allow you to perform automated mass actions on websites – including a ton of scraping features.
It costs only $49 for lifetime license and comes pre-packed with most of the built in free extensions that you can download it make it more flexible and powerful. It does have a few premium paid extensions and addons that perform a series of very specialized scraping or other tasks.
I highly recommend Scrapebox as the goto tool for every digital marketer. If you need help with training checkout Looplines tutorials on Youtube.
VisualWebRipper is a nifty desktop app and a premium tool that can be used to scrape specific data fields on a series of webpages on a website that are all structured similarly. An example would be – scraping yellow page directories, listings of all freelancers on a site or gigs on fiverr 🙂
You need to feed in the URLs you would like to scrape and set up the fields to scrape by visiting one of the URLs and clicking on each data point to then add it to a field that the tool will then attribute to a column in the final resulting spreadsheet.
The only tricky part is getting the URLs to give to the tool and for that you can use scrapebox above to crawl the sitemap of the website and then filter it to the sections you want scraped.
I am almost embarased to say that I have not yet used Webharvy tool! It is definitely one tool that I will be using soon because it is a very popular tool on the marketing forums. I’ve just not had the time to sit down and master another scrpaing tool and VisualWebRipper was suiting my needs.
However, Webharvy looks very intuitive and lightweight – and just seems to be better than VisualWebRipper (which I use a lot). It accomplishes what Visual Web ripper does and is in some ways a competitor.
There are some chrome extensions that you can use to scrape tables in webages and have the data get pushed into structured data sets. The one’s that I know of and that are pretty good are – Data Scraper, Instant Data Scraper, and Scraper.
Finally, you could use tools like Zennoposter (by Zennolabs) or uBot Studio, or Winautomation to perform actions inside browsers etc and record them as macros that you can then run on a series of data inputs. These tools are not just scrapers – and perform a host of other features but they could be used as scrapers.
Cloud Based SaaS Scrapers
If you’re looking for cloud based web scrapers that come as a SaaS prodcut that you can subscribe to or buy credits off and that run remotely on the cloud then you can check out Octoparse, import.io , datahut or apify.com.
If you’re looking for a way for your wordpress website to remotely query and scrape data you can check out WP RSS Aggregator (to scrape RSS feeds), RSS FeedFinder, and also checkout some WordPress Scrapers on Codecanyon, of which WordPress Automatic Plugin to be quite popular.
Third Party Scraping Service Providers
If you don’t have the time and resources to set this up inhouse and would rather just get your scraping need soutsourced you can look at service providers who do scraping as a specialized service, such as – Webroots, Promptcloud, or Scrapehero.