How to Scrape a Website Using WordPress – Easy Way to Extract Data
WordPress has emerged as the leading content management system (CMS) currently powering around 30% of the top 1 million websites. With its ease of use, flexibility, and robust feature-set, WordPress is a system that everyone can get up and running with effectively no programming experience needed. The best part? Scraping data with WordPress is extremely easy. In this article, we will teach you how to easily scrape data from a WordPress site to build your own automated marketing or research tool.
Step one: Install WordPress
WordPress is a free and open-source project that can be downloaded and installed in minutes. Once you have the software, you can log in and start creating your site with the click of a button. To get started, visit www.wordpress.com and click on the ‘Get WordPress’ button to download the latest version of the CMS.
Once the download and installation process is complete, you will be brought to the WordPress dashboard. Here, you can learn more about the different themes and plugins available for use with your site. Once you’ve chosen a theme and installed the necessary plugins, you’re good to go and can begin exploring WordPress’ powerful features.
Step two: Set Up Your Blog
WordPress makes it easy to set up a blog with content delivery in just a few clicks. To begin, navigate to Your Blogs in the dashboard and click on the ‘Add New’ button. From here, you can choose from a range of blog types (e.g., music, news, or product reviews) and the required formatting for your content (e.g., Headline, Credit Line, or Body text).
Once you’ve entered a blog title and description, the next step is to decide on a category for your blog. You can add up to three categories (e.g., music, movies, or technology) and then select the category that best describes your content. Once you’ve done that, the last step is to click on the ‘Publish’ button to send your blog post to the online world.
Congratulations! You’ve just published your first blog post. You can use this blog as a test bed to explore a range of features, or you can simply continue adding content and publishing it periodically to keep your visitors engaged.
Step three: Explore WordPress’ features
As a content management system, WordPress comes with a robust feature-set that can help you automate just about any aspect of your site’s functionality. To explore these features, visit Dashboard in the main menu and select ‘Settings’ from the dropdown.
Here, you can access the settings for your blog, as well as change the background image, layout, and color scheme of your site. You can use this feature to quickly and easily change the appearance of your site without having to touch a single line of code.
One of the most useful aspects of the Settings dashboard is the ‘Reading’ section. This section contains all the meta information related to your blog posts. For example, you can use this section to learn more about an individual post’s page views or to discover which posts perform best in terms of SEO.
Step four: Install the Scraper Tool
Now that you’ve got a functional blog with content, you can begin exploring ways to extract data from it. One of the most useful tools for the purpose is ‘Scraper Tool’, a Chrome extension that automatically extracts data from websites using a variety of methods (e.g., CSS, XPath, or jQuery).
For the purpose of this tutorial, let’s install the Scraper Tool chrome extension and then navigate to your WordPress blog.
Once installed, you can click on the icon next to the URL display field in your browser’s address bar to launch the extension. A menu of available websites will appear (Figure 1). Simply enter your WordPress blog’s URL in the appropriate field and click on the ‘Extract’ button to load the content on to your clipboard. You can then paste this content into a document or spreadsheet and begin analyzing it.
Step five: Start analyzing content
With content loaded onto your clipboard, you can now begin analyzing it with your preferred spreadsheet application (e.g., Google Sheets). Navigate to your WordPress blog’s dashboard and open a new sheet. Once the sheet is open, you can use the ‘Paste’ button to insert the blog’s content into the sheet’s rows.
You can use this sheet to filter and organize your content by date or category. For example, you can use the category filter to sort blog posts by category (e.g., music, movies, or technology) and then use the Date filter to sort items by the date they were published (e.g., newest or old posts).
Step six: Cleaning up content
While the content you copied from WordPress is likely to be accurate, there may be some slight error in the formatting. You can use the Scraper Tool to easily fix these errors and then publish your content again. To do this, click on the ‘Pencil’ icon next to the text you copied from WordPress (Figure 2). A little tooltip will appear next to it describing the function of the icon.
After selecting ‘Edit’ from the dropdown menu, you can begin correcting errors in the content (e.g., spelling mistakes or invalid URL’s). When you’re done making the necessary edits, click on the ‘Update’ button to save your changes.
This process is fairly simple but it can take some time to get everything right. Once everything is set, you can begin utilizing WordPress for data scraping purposes.