What is web scraping?
Web scraping is the practice of extracting raw data from a website via automated tools such as ScrapingBee, Screaming Frog, and Scrapy. Instead of manually visiting web pages to copy and paste information into a spreadsheet, web scrapers automatically pull this information en masse by crawling the web. You can use web scraping for market research, sentiment analysis, content monitoring, and more.
The data can be the following:
- product items;
- contact information, e.g. emails, phone numbers etc.
How do you hire a web scraper developer?
You can source web scraping talent on Upwork by following these three steps:
- Write a project description. You’ll want to determine your scope of work and the skills and requirements you are looking for in web scrapers.
- Post it on Upwork. Once you’ve written a project description, post it to Upwork. Simply follow the prompts to help you input the information you collected to scope out your project.
- Shortlist and interview web scrapers. Once the proposals start coming in, create a shortlist of the professionals you want to interview.
Of these three steps, your project description is where you will determine your scope of work and the specific type of web scraper you need to complete your project.
How much does it cost to hire a web scraper developer?
Rates can vary due to many factors, including expertise and experience, location, and market conditions.
- An experienced web scraper may command higher fees but also work faster, have more-specialized areas of expertise, and deliver higher-quality work.
- A contractor who is still in the process of building a client base may price their web scraping services more competitively.
Rates typically charged by web scrapers on Upwork are:
- Beginner: $12 per hour
- Intermediate: $42 per hour
- Advanced: $135 per hour
Which one is right for you will depend on the specifics of your project.
How do you write a web scraper developer job post?
Your job post is your chance to describe your project scope, budget, and talent needs. Although you don’t need a full job description as you would when hiring an employee, aim to provide enough detail for a contractor to know if they’re the right fit for the project.
Job post title
Create a simple title that describes exactly what you’re looking for. The idea is to target the keywords that your ideal candidate is likely to type into a job search bar to find your project. Here are some sample web scraper job post titles:
- Web scraper needed to assist with market research and sentiment analysis
- Seeking a data analyst experienced with web scraping
- Need help building a real estate website scraper and crawler
An effective web scraping job post should include:
- Scope of work: From CSV files to SQL database tables, list all the deliverables you’ll need.
- Project length: Your job post should indicate whether this is a smaller or larger project.
- Background: If you prefer experience with certain industries, web scraping tools, or automation technologies, mention this here.
- Budget: Set a budget and note your preference for hourly rates vs. fixed-price contracts.
Web scraper job responsibilities
Here are some examples of web scraper job responsibilities:
- Utilize web scraping tools to pull unstructured data from websites
- Process data into desired formats and schemata to allow for complex SQL queries
- Write custom scripts to assist with web scraping and subsequent data processing
Web scraper job requirements and qualifications
Be sure to include any requirements and qualifications you’re looking for in a web scraper. Here are some examples:
- Web scraping and crawling
- Data analysis
- Web scraping tools (e.g., Import.io, PySpider, ScrapingHub)
Are there any challenges I may want to know?
Yes, there are. After having some extensive web scraping experience, we’ve outlined a list of things that can prevent you from taking full advantage of web scrapers.
- Most of the websites are simply different layout-wise.
- Amateurs or pros, not all web developers follow style guides. As a result, their code often contains various mistakes making it absolutely unreadable for scrapers.
- Many websites are built with HTML5 in which any element can be unique.
- Depending on either the season of the year or the subject of the content itself, some websites can change their layouts. Keeping up with these changes requires a lot of time and effort.
- The abundance of ads, floods of comments, too many navigation elements, etc.
- In the web page code, there can be links to the same images of different size, e.g. image preview.
- Since the choice of language on most of the websites is based on your location, the content may not always be displayed in English.
- Websites can have their own encoding that is impossible to send back with a request.
All these factors directly affect the quality of the content leading to its decrease by unacceptable 10% or even 20%. But I’m dying to scrape some websites! What should I do?
Basically, it all boils down to the following options:
- If the number of websites you’re going to scrape the data from is quite small, it’s better to write your own scraper and customize it according to each specific website. The quality of the output content should be 100%.
- If the number of websites to scrape goes beyond “small”, we suggest using a complex approach. In this case, the output content quality should be close to 95%.