SQL is the programming language for every marketer, business owner, customer relation expert, you name it.
Why? Because it is the language of data.
With 4.9 billion people online, there is a wide sea of potential customers to engage with. But your success will be guided by how well you understand your audience.
That means data.
Knowing how to retrieve and analyze your data will save you money and time and help you understand your customers better.
And every database needs SQL or structured query language to communicate.
The right SQL tips will show you how to make the most of your relational database. And they are below.
1. Proper Indexing
Proper indexing is the key to efficient data retrieval.
Think of mountains of data. It could be sales leads, client contacts, or any type of data your business collects.
And you are seeking a particular set of data from the database. Without indexing, it would take the computer a long time to retrieve results for this query.
But with indexing, you get to filter through data you don’t need. The search results would only prove you with a particular set of data in a shorter amount of time.
You can see indexing as a pointer, leading to a specific data set. Do note though that indexing works best for a large volume of data.
2. Avoid Coding Loops
Looping is a problem that plagues most programming languages. And SQL is no exception.
The danger of a coding loop lies in repetition. A coding loop can be defined as a repetitive sequence until the desired condition is met.
Depending on the size of your database, this can slow down the process of data retrieval.
If you have a smaller database, this may not seem to cause much harm. But as your database grows, a loop will slow down the execution of the query.
There are several ways to avoid a coding loop in SQL:
- Use Joins
- Employ subselects
- Use Group
3. Use Wildcards
SQL wildcards are characters you can use in place of other characters in a string. Wildcards are used along with the LIKE operator.
Two characters make wildcards:
Percentage sign (%): replaces zero or more characters. In Microsoft Access, we use an asterisk (*) to achieve the same result.
Underscore (_): it replaces only one character. If you are using MS Access, you will use the question mark character(?) instead of the underscore.
With wildcards, you have to be careful. This is because putting them in the wrong place will produce the wrong data.
A quick example:
You may want to retrieve data of clients whose names begin with Dan. You would write it this way
WHERE name LIKE ‘dan*’
This will produce data on clients whose names begin with Dan.
However, writing it like this will produce a completely different set of data: WHERE name LIKE ‘*dan*’
This would produce results that have the dan anywhere in their name.
4. Use TOP Command
The SELECT TOP command is yet another way to optimize your database. The command is used to put a limit on the amount of data resulting from a query.
If you own an eCommerce and want to know which products are selling best. You would employ the SELECT TOP command. It will show the products that your customers are buying the most. And not your entire inventory.
This command is only operational on Microsoft databases such as Microsoft SQL Server.
Implementing SQL Tips
Engaging the right SQL tips is the difference between a useful database and a redundant system. Optimizing your database will provide results faster and more efficiently. All it takes are a few tweaks to indexing, using the TOP command, and careful implementation of wildcards among others.
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