The best companies are leveraging big data to scale growth. Find the best web scraping consultant that will take your business to the next level.
Would you like to scale the growth of your business with big data from the web?
According to research, companies that leverage big data see an 8% increase in revenue and a 10% reduction in costs.
The services of a web scraping consultant are a great way for you to quickly and efficiently gather big data from the web.
You can use web scraping services to collect big data that enables several use cases, such as market research; lead generation; financial trading and investing; e-commerce price monitoring and lots more.
That said, it can be tough to identify the best web scraping consultant.
When searching for and picking a web scraping consultant, it is crucial that you consider several factors, such as: experience with your industry and/or function; variety of pricing plans; supported data formats; data quality guarantees; level of customer service; and speed of delivery.
Systematically evaluating a web scraping consultant based on these key factors will position you to get the best value out of the web scraping service.
This blog post will examine how you can compare and contrast options when picking a web scraping consultant, to maximize your success growing your business with web data.
What Exactly Is a Web Scraping Consultant?
A web scraping consultant is a contractor that partners with your business to effectively acquire and use unstructured and semi-structured data from the web to drive your business use cases.
Typically, a web scraping consultant will build custom software on your behalf to scan websites, gather all the relevant data then store and deliver the data for your consumption; in your location, format and structure of choice.
The best web scraping consultant will use AI to automate much of the work of web data extraction.
Now that you know what a web scraping consultant does, how do you find the best consultant for your needs? We break down the steps for you below.
Six Foolproof Steps for Finding the Best Web Scraping Consultant
#1. Be clear on your needs
There are several web scraping consultants on the market. Therefore, you want to be clear on what you expect from a web scraping consultant before you initiate your search.
Think through and answer the following key questions to drive what you require and prioritize in potential web scraping consultants.
Here are questions to ask yourself before you start your search:
What goals do you want to achieve by extracting data from the web?
First outline and be clear on your specific business requirements before starting your search for a web scraping consultant.
Do you want to generate leads? Analyze competitor pricing? Compile industry trends? Identify products to sell?
Web scraping enables several use cases. Therefore, before you start your search, be clear on the outcomes you want to achieve with a web scraping consultant.
Which websites contain the information you want?
Do you want to pull data from a competitor site? A directory site? An API? Is the website data publicly-available? Do you require an account in order to access the data? Are the web pages password-protected?
There are potentially several websites that contain the data you want. You want to pick websites that are easily accessible, well-structured and that contain data that is as close as possible to what you want.
Picking a well-structured site with information that closely matches what you want will make your web data extraction faster and more cost-efficient.
Ideally, pick sites that have publicly-available data and do not require a login for data access. Also, you want to pick websites that are reliable and do not suffer from outages.
How do you want to structure your extracted data?
Typically, websites do not contain the data in the exact format or structure you want.
So you will need to transform the data to fit your needs before you use the data. Examples of such data transformations are: Replacing empty values with zero; Standardizing boolean values to "Yes" and "No"; Normalizing all dates to YYYY-MM-DDD, for instance.
There is a vast amount of data transformations you can perform on data.
Therefore, you want to ensure that your web scraping consultant is up to what can be the demanding work of custom data transformations.
Where do you want to store your data?
Do you want your data in an Excel spreadsheet? In a CSV or TXT file? Do you want to download your data from an FTP server? Do you want your data on your servers or on the cloud?
You must ensure that your web scraping consultant has the capabilities to store your web data in your format, structure and location of choice.
What is your budget?
How much you are willing and able to spend will determine how much you optimize your search for price.
Are you willing to pay for the best consultant? Or are you looking for the cheapest consultant? The answers to both of these questions are rarely the same.
#2. Understand consultant's pricing and payment structure
Pricing is a huge deciding factor when picking a web scraping consultant.
Are you willing to pay for the best web scraping consultant?
The best web scraping consultant will guide you through the entire process to: (1) Identify the best sites from which to source your data; (2) Extract the data you need at your desired frequency; (3) Transform the extracted data to ensure the data is in the best state to drive your data-driven decision-making.
The best web scraping consultants augment their web data extraction with a dedicated professional service that handholds you through the entire process of data extraction through data consumption, to ensure you are totally satisfied with the outcomes of the work.
Do you want the best value for your money?
The best web scraping consultants will definitely charge you accordingly for the high value they deliver to you.
Although the best web scraping consultant might seem expensive at first glance, the best web scraping consultants save you money and time in the long-run.
The best web scraping consultant delivers high-quality data to you on time that is analytics-ready, saving you hundreds of hours of manual data testing and modification.
Do you want the cheapest web scraping consultant?
Be wary of web scraping consultants that charge low prices.
The problem with such cheap consultants is that, if you work with them, you will end up paying much more in the long run, both directly and indirectly.
If the price is too good to be true, brace yourself for low-quality, messy data with zero to low value for your business.
If you work with a cheap web scraping consultant, be prepared to spend even more money and time fixing the data before you can use it.
Don't be "penny wise and pound foolish" when picking a web scraping consultant.
Don't make the expensive mistake of picking a cheap web scraping consultant, only to end up paying multiples of your original cost in fixing the mistakes of the cheap consultant.
Pick a high-caliber web scraping consultant that will deliver high-quality web data to you. This way, you avoid doling out money for an ever-increasing list of tasks to fix the low-quality data you get from a cheap consultant.
What exactly are you paying for?
You want to work with a web scraping consultant that clearly outlines what you will get for your money and with transparent pricing. The more detail the web scraping consultant provides to you before commencing work, the better.
Be clear upfront with the web scraping consultant on what you expect and what you are paying for.
The best web scraping consultant will proactively guide you through the order requirements process and ask pointed questions, to ensure that the consultant captures and executes on every detail of your requirements.
Are you looking to make a lump sum payment?
Or do you prefer to make weekly payments? Monthly payments? Make sure that the web scraping consultant works with the specific payment option you want. Do you require net 30 payment terms? Net 45 or perhaps net 90 payment terms?
Confirm with your web scraping consultant that they support your payment terms requirements.
Do you want a subscription web scraping service?
Do you want recurring data extracts on a prescribed schedule?
A subscription web scraping service is a packaged deal for a set price, in which you receive a specific web dataset on a defined schedule with clearly-defined requirements for your dataset. E.g., Fields to extract; custom data transformations to perform; extract frequency; data delivery destination (E.g., Email, FTP, database).
The best web scraping consultant will work closely with you to craft a custom web scraping subscription service, if necessary, that delivers data to meet your exact needs on a regular schedule.
Interested in a custom subscription web scraping service?
Get a quote from us.
How do you want to pay the web scraping consultant?
Using a credit card? Bank transfer? Stripe? PayPal?
Pick a web scraping consultant with flexible payment options that support your preferred payment method.
Consider testing out the web scraping consultant before you commit.
One hack to picking the best web scraping consultant is to request a one-time web data extract. This way, you assess the end-to-end level of customer service and the quality of the data that the web scraping consultant delivers to you, before you commit to recurring data extracts on a subscription service.
Placing an order for an on-demand web data extract is a low-risk, cost-effective method to test out the web scraping consultant before you commit long-term.
#3. Ensure you will get high-quality data
In today's data-driven economy, your use of high-quality data empowers you with the competitive advantage to streamline your data-driven decision-making and quickly identify and execute on data-driven growth opportunities that set you apart from your competition.
Much of web data is semi-structured or even unstructured, which implies that you are typically unable to use such web data as-is.
Therefore, a web scraping consultant that cleanses and standardizes your web data, after extraction, is not just a nice-to-have — it is a requirement.
Therefore, you want to pick a web scraping contractor that will clean, structure and enrich the data, enabling you to unlock maximum value from your web data quickly.
What you want is a web scraping contractor with deep experience performing custom data transformations above and beyond web scraping.
At the bare minimum, a web scraping consultant should do the following:
- Clean the data: Remove unnecessary information from and correct the data in your web data extract. You want a web scraping consultant that can help you identify and implement custom data cleansing business rules.
- Remove HTML: Most web data extracts will include HTML code. Therefore, your web scraping consultant should elegantly identify and remove HTML from your data.
- Strip out whitespace: Web pages use white space — such as tabs, carriage returns, new lines and regular spaces — to structure web page elements/tags. Therefore, your web scraping consultant should be able to identify and strip out all unnecessary whitespace from your web data.
- Eliminate duplicates: Your web scraping consultant should be able to execute mechanisms to identify, eliminate and, if necessary, merge duplicate data — such as duplicate people, places or products — from your web data extract.
- Standardize Boolean values: Convert boolean values — such as Yes/No, Y/N, 1/0, T/F, True/False — into a consistent format that enables you to quickly filter and categorize your web data.
💡 Expert Tip: Confirm that the web scraping consultant performs robust data quality checks that guarantee data fidelity and veracity.
WSaaS has a 100% data quality guarantee on every single data point we deliver.
Get started with us today to accelerate your data-driven journey to grow your business powered by high-quality web data!
#4. Enquire about delivery time
You want to ensure that your web scraping contractor can deliver your web data exactly when you want it and at your desired frequency (E.g., Intra-Daily, Daily, Weekly, Monthly); driven by the specifics of your web data extraction requirements and use cases.
The specifics of your use case will drive the frequency of your web data extraction. If, for instance, you want to perform a one-off cold email campaign, then an on-demand web data extract will suffice. You can order such an on-demand data extract as you need it, perhaps on a quarterly or bi-annual basis.
However, you might require data on a more frequent basis. For example, if you are an e-commerce company that needs to modify product pricing daily or perhaps in near-real-time, then you should work with a web scraping consultant that can provide you with the web data you need in as close to real-time and as often as you require.
The best web scraping consultant will deliver recurring, clean, high-quality web data extracts to you on your desired schedule on time, every time.
Interested in receiving recurring, high-quality web data extracts? Get started with our web scraping subscription services today.
#5. Confirm the consultant supports your desired data format
A top-tier web scraping service provider should be able to deliver your web data in the format you require.
There are several potential data formats in which a web scraping contractor can present your data, such as: Microsoft Excel (XLS/XLSX), CSV, JSON and even XML.
For whatever data format you pick, your web scraping contractor should be able to structure the files to meet your exact specifications. For example: Save your Excel data in different tabs or worksheets; Implement specific file-naming or directory-naming conventions; Use specific column/field names; etc.
Perhaps you might even want your web data stored in a database, such as MySQL, PostgreSQL, Oracle or SQL Server. You might even require that your web data is made available as a share for or exported into a table in your cloud data warehouse, such as Snowflake, Redshift or BigQuery.
Therefore, ensure that your web scraping contractor is up to the task of delivering your data in the exact format, structure and location you want, whether in a file or database, on-premises or in the cloud.
Ultimately, you want to work with a web scraping consultant with deep data engineering experience that will quickly enable you to unlock maximum ROI from your web data extraction.
Do you need advanced data engineering for your web data?
If yes, get started today with our web scraping service that is backed by extensive custom data engineering.
#6. Find out if the consultant has customer support
Working with a premium web scraping consultant means that you will not need customer support nine times out of ten.
Still, you might have questions about your dataset or a data quality issue you would like to address.
Therefore, ensure you pick a web scraping consultant that has dedicated, highly-skilled customer support to answer your questions and address your concerns quickly and effectively.
How does the web scraping consultant provide support?
Email? Slack? Tickets? FAQs?
Ensure that the web scraping consultant you pick provides support using the channel you prefer.
How quickly does the web scraping consultant respond to you?
You want to work with a web scraping consultant that will address your questions and concerns in a timely manner.
How skilled is the web scraping consultant's support team?
One of the worst things you can get into when working with a web scraping consultant is working with staff that have poor communication skills.
Customer service staff with poor communication skills might not communicate clearly with you or might not listen closely enough to understand your questions.
Sometimes you have well-meaning customer support staff who are just not competent enough or lack the domain expertise to effectively address your concerns.
Therefore, pick a web scraping consultant with a customer support team that is strong on communication skills, business domain expertise and technical capabilities.
The customer service team of the best web scraping consultant will operate with excellent bi-directional communication skills: They will listen to and understand your requests without you having to repeat yourself.
A top-notch customer service team communicates clearly and effectively to put you on the success path quickly. They are experts in web data engineering who have seen and addressed any concern you might have, no matter how complex or uncommon your concern is.
Customer Support is good. Customer Success is even better.
The best web scraping consultant will go beyond reactive customer support and provide you with a premium customer success team.
A premium customer success team proactively engages you with the high-impact business and technical firepower to quickly grow your business powered by high-quality web data.
A premium Customer Success team accelerates your ROI on web data.
The customer success team of the best web scraping consultant will work closely with you to make data-driven decisions faster and to take actions quickly that drive your business forward.
The best web scraping consultant significantly reduces your data workload, enabling you to conveniently achieve more in less time.
Rest easy with the confidence that you are working with a premium customer success team that empowers you for success on your web scraping journey.
Our dedicated customer success team consists of the best battle-hardened web data engineers and data scientists on the planet, who will work closely with you to ensure that you quickly unlock the highest value from your web data.
The Bottom Line
Finding the best web scraping consultant that will effectively and successfully execute your web scraping requirements is critical for any business that intends to capitalize on the vast amount of data available on the web.
The best web scraping consultant will deliver high-quality web data to you on-time every time, to empower you to make data-driven decisions quickly that grow your business.
Looking for a top-notch web scraping consultant with a fantastic track record?
WSaaS is your go-to solution for lightspeed web data extraction that meets your exact needs.
Over 8,250 customers have profited from our AI-powered, cloud-based platform to unlock massive growth powered by web data.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What types of web data can a web scraping consultant extract for me?
A web scraping consultant can extract a wide range of data from the web for you, such as product information, competitor analysis data, pricing data, lead generation data and lots more.
The types of data that a web scraping consultant can extract for you will depend on the specific needs of your business and the web data sources you require.
For example, if you are an e-commerce company, a web scraping consultant can extract product information, such as product names, descriptions, images, and pricing data from competitor websites.
You can use such product information to optimize your product offerings and pricing strategies, giving you a competitive edge in the market.
See how you can maximize your ecommerce success with a web scraping service.
If you are a market research firm, a web scraping consultant can extract data on trends, consumer behavior, and market sentiment from social media platforms, online forums and review websites.
You can use such data to generate valuable insights into consumer preferences and market trends, enabling you to make informed decisions about product development and marketing strategies.
See how you can use data from a web scraping service to turbocharge your marketing campaigns.
Additionally, a web scraping consultant can extract lead generation data, such as contact information and company data, from websites and databases, enabling you to build a comprehensive list of potential customers.
See how you can scrape for leads using a web scraping service.
Also, check out more use cases for web scraping services.
Can a web scraping consultant extract data from any website?
A web scraping consultant can extract data from the vast majority of websites but there are some limitations.
The primary limitations web scraping consultants face are website security measures, as some websites have measures in place to prevent web scraping.
For example, websites with CAPTCHAs or those that require authentication may not be easily scrapable.
Another factor to consider is the legality of web scraping.
Some websites explicitly prohibit web scraping in their terms of service, and engaging in web scraping of these websites could result in legal consequences.
It is important to consult with a web scraping consultant and ensure that the source website allows web scraping before proceeding with the data extraction.
In general, a web scraping consultant can extract data from a wide range of websites, including e-commerce websites, social media platforms, and news websites, among others. The consultant can extract data such as product information, pricing, user reviews, social media posts and news articles. The consultant can also extract data from websites that have large amounts of data, such as real estate websites, job websites and travel websites.
The key is to work with a skilled web scraping consultant who has the experience and tooling to extract the data you need, even from the most challenging websites.
How does a web scraping consultant ensure the legality of web data extraction?
A web scraping consultant must follow all relevant laws and regulations regarding web data extraction to ensure that their services are legal.
A reputable web scraping consultant will have a thorough understanding of relevant laws, such as the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) in the US and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the EU; and will follow these regulations to the letter, to ensure the legality of their services.
In some cases, a web scraping consultant may use publicly available APIs to extract data, which is a legal and perfectly acceptable method of data extraction.
Finally, the best web scraping consultant will ensure that the data they extract is used for legitimate purposes only and not for any illegal or unethical activities. They must also ensure that the data they extract is not sensitive or confidential in nature and does not violate any privacy laws or regulations.
By following all relevant laws and regulations, a web scraping consultant ensures the legality of their services and provide their clients with high-quality, legally-obtained web data.
Read more about the legality of web scraping, based on recent court cases.
Can a web scraping consultant provide me with a sample data extract before I commit to a project?
Yes, a reputable web scraping consultant can provide you with a sample data extract before you commit to a project.
Sharing a sample extract enables you to evaluate the quality and accuracy of the data you will be extracting.
A sample data extract can also help you to understand how the data will be structured and formatted, which can be critical to your decision-making process.
Before providing a sample data extract, a web scraping consultant will work with you to understand your specific requirements and use cases, and to determine the best method for extracting the data you need.
The consultant will then extract a representative sample of the data and present it to you for review.
If the sample meets your expectations, you can then proceed with the full project, confident that you will receive high-quality data that meets your needs.
It's important to note that not all web scraping consultants are able to provide a sample data extract, so it's important to ask about this service when evaluating potential consultants.
In some cases, a sample extract may not be possible due to the complexity of the data or of the website being scraped.
However, the best web scraping consultant will be able to provide you with detailed information about the data they can extract, and to answer any questions you may have about the process.
By working with the best web scraping consultant, you can be confident that you are getting the web data you need to grow your business.
Can a web scraping consultant extract data from a website that requires a login (authentication and authorization)? Can I scrape data that is behind a paywall?
A web scraping consultant can extract data from a website that requires a login or is behind a paywall.
Extracting data from such a website requires a more sophisticated approach to web scraping, which will include automating the process of logging in then simulating the activity of a logged-in user.
It is important to note that extracting data from a website that requires a login may not be legal; and the best web scraping consultants will always ensure that they comply with all relevant laws and regulations.
Can a web scraping consultant extract data from dynamic websites or web applications?
Definitely. A web scraping consultant can extract data from dynamic websites or web applications.
How does a web scraping consultant handle changes to the structure of websites from which I want to extract data?
The best web scraping consultant possesses the ability to adapt to changes in the structure of source websites. Websites constantly change and evolve, so the data extraction process must keep up with such changes.
Therefore, a web scraping consultant will typically update web scraping applications on a continuous basis, in response to changes to source websites.
The best web scraping consultant will also have a team of experienced web data engineers, who can quickly identify and resolve issues that arise as a result of changes to the structure of source websites. The team should be able to diagnose problems and implement solutions in a timely manner to minimize the disruption to the data extraction process.
Elite web scraping consultants leverage machine learning (ML) / artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms that automatically enhance their web scraping engines to match the current structure of source websites.
WSaaS has built an AI-powered, cloud-based, industrial grade web scraping engine that can extract data from any website.
Interested in leveraging our AI-powered web scraping service?
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Can I receive data extracts from a web scraping consultant on a recurring basis?
100% yes! A web scraping consultant can provide you with web data extracts on a recurring basis.
The frequency of your data extracts will depend on your specific use case. For example, if you are an e-commerce company that needs to modify product pricing daily, you should work with a web scraping consultant that can provide you with the web data you want on a daily basis.
The best web scraping consultant will deliver clean, high-quality data extracts to you on your desired schedule every time.
You can choose to receive your data extracts on a daily, weekly, monthly or on some other basis, depending on your needs.
Interested in recurring web data extracts?
WSaaS can deliver data to you as frequently as you want it.
Get started with us today to start receiving regular data extracts from any website!