As life becomes increasingly digital so does the interest in creating a digital, potentially multifaceted, memorial of those who have passed. Obituaries have traditionally been placed in a local paper so the community can learn of a passing or potentially be invited to a ceremony.
Today, creating the same sentiment, but with the ease of a computer or mobile device is becoming increasingly alluring. It’s no longer only one person’s opinion of the departed, but a collaboration that can be rich, full of mixed media content and instant around the world.
Answering the call of the public, many companies are dutifully creating unique spaces that not only give the public easy access to create spaces that embody the memory of their loved one, but create enhanced experiences around memorial services.
The future of digital obituaries
While there are a plethora of companies that offer digital obituary services they are not all created equally. Some are mearily tactics of websites to increase SEO value on their site, while others are not robust and do not truly utilize today’s technology to create a cohesive space.
But the reality is that families want ease-of-use and the fewer things they need to arrange, after someone has passed, the better. The ideal situation for a family is one site that encompases all their needs into one. This dream site would help find a service provider, connect you to a celebrant/minster, be an event planner, have easy beautiful templates for printing, create a beautiful site around the deceased (that the community can share on) that can be printed into a top quality photo book, and help manage estates .
Nothing currently fits all these needs, but they are getting closer and closer. The question is which type of platform will evolve to become the star. Platforms that are connected directly to funeral homes are easy for families that will go directly to their local funeral homes. Sites that are tied to funeral/estate planning or price comparison are handy for those going directly from an internet search.
The platform that can take away tasks in a smooth beautiful cohesive look will be the one that dominates as the tech savvy begin to be the main demographic arranging services and tributes.
Digital obituary websites of today
Not exactly what comes to mind when thinking of a digital obituary, but Facebook is home to many pages that honor those who have passed. Sometimes family members take over the pages of the deceased and use it to communicate with their communities. It is also possible to notify Facebook of the death and the page will become a memorialised profile. Before passing, individuals can select a legacy contact, who can manage the page without access to private messages, so that friends can still continue to use the page. Last year, Facebook added a tribute tab to memorialised profiles, so that new memories appear on seperate from the timeline they had when they were alive. And some families choose to create special groups or pages to remember the departed and share event details. According to Facebook over 30 million people view memorialised profiles every month to post stories and remember those who have passed away.
This UK non-profit is dedicated to helping grieving families remember their loved ones, with more than 300,000 pages made already. Every profile is alloted 100MB, is 100% free to make, will be hosted forever, and has no hidden fees. As a non-profit they do of course accept donations.
Each page is completely customizable in design and privacy. There are 150 different memorial designs and the creator can monitor posts and decide if they want the page to be private or not. It’s a great site with a great mission.
For families in search of a beautiful private experience, InMemori offers simple design and easy use. Families can create a free page for the departed, which can include not only the memory of loved ones, but also virtual or in person event details. The company also offers a printable beautifully designed booklet that is a collection of the photos and memories that were shared on the page. This French company is also multilingual, and perfect for those who also want to offer solutions for families not only in English, but also in French and or Spanish.
An all encompassing platform which offers a place to commemorate a loved one, plan a service (including price comparison shopping within the US), or fundraise to help pay for a service.
The free dedicated memorial website for a loved one is nicely organized into tabs which reflect main elements of the service and digital obituary. There is a tab for a history of the loved one, a tab specifically for an obituary, a tab for event details, a tab for sending flowers, and finally a tab for family and friends to share their own memories.
Founded in 2008 when the founder wanted to create a memorial to his grandparents. Today Forever Missed is a consumer site for creating memorials. Anyone can create a free basic profile and for all the custom features on a forever page, guests can expect to pay up to $124.00. A memorial can have custom colors and include a stories tab, a gallery, a tab dedicated to the individual’s life history and an about page which can include details about their social media accounts, accomplishments or alcolaide.
Hosting memorials since 2013, Keeper was originally Qeepr but recently rebranded to Keeper. The clean and easy use site offers a lot of benefits for users. Free profiles include privacy control, and geotagging so that a gravesite can be marked. For a one time fee of $74.99 users can also have access to unlimited image and HD video uploads, download all images, full family tree, and unlimited memorial pages. Keeper also partners with cemeteries and funeral homes to offer a suite of digital memorialization tools
Operating since 2002, Your Tribute claims to have more than 75,000 online obituaries and memorial websites set up on their platform. Unique from their competitors Your Tribute makes a distinction between an obituary and a memorial site. While anyone is free to make an obituary on the platform for more customization and imagery possibilities, memorial websites can be purchased for $149.95.
With a focus on giving people a place to share their loved ones story, a free Remembered.com basic profile has almost all the same benefits of a paid profile. With only unlimited photo storage, page privacy, and creation of a special memorial video fairly falling into the paid features of the options. With the high level costing users a one time $79.99 fee.
With a modern design Memories memorial pages standout by showing memories in a well spaced gallery and a life story tab that is a timeline of events and the posters comments on them. This Australian based company started in 2013 has the goal of the pages being references for generations to look back on. While it’s pricing isn’t transparent on the site they offer the opportunity to make short ‘more technical’ tribute/obituary online for free, or their newly designed memorial page is reported to cost $90.
Funeral planning site Funeral360 offers free memorial pages that include an obituary, a guest book, photos, and the details about life and location of the deceased. They especially pride themselves on having memorial pages that are ad free, meaning they don’t make additional profit via ad revenue on the site.
A site solely dedicated to helping families create obituaries. OBITUARe creates dedicated pages that include an obituary (which they can assist on writing), photos and a guest book. They also have some unique offerings with a flower wall for virtual flowers to be shared and printing options. The obituary is free to make and will remain for three days, for a page that will last a year and additional services such as a memorial card template it costs $20, and for a permanent page it costs $99. There is the option to ask guests to help sponsor the page if families can not afford the cost.
With a clever name that embodies what an obituary should include, Beyond The Dash is a free resource where families can share an obituary and remember those who are gone. The concept is clean and easy to create with an option for a loved one to also share a memory or photo without any difficult logins.
Owned by Ancestory.com, find a grave allows users to create free memorials with not only a focus on honoring those who have passed, but making the information accessible for those interested in genealogy. Family members can be linked and the grave site is indicated so future generations know where they can visit. The memorial page also has of course the obituary, and space for photos or comments to be shared.
We can leave out legacy.com as they are one of the biggest owners of obituaries online. However, rather than working mostly with consumers Legacy.com has mainly partners directly with publications and funeral homes. Working with 1,500 newspapers and 3,500 funeral homes across the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and Europe.
Legacy.com republishes obituaries that are published by media or funeral home partners. Meaning if funeral homes are partners with Legacy.com then customers have the opportunity to create an obituary via the funeral home. The pages are clean and offer guests a place to read a Memoriam, or share a memory, photo, or video. They are also the owners of tributes.com (since 2015), Legacy ia, and Obit finder the app.
Legacy ia is their UK branch, where consumers can post an announcement on the site for free themselves. In addition to seeing locally published obituaries from the newspaper partners.
Tributes.com functions mainly as a directory for a mix of announcements of celebrity deaths, legacy.com obituaries, and a few pages made direct from consumers. Starting at $20 and going up to $50 consumers can create a page on their site. However, the whole site is busy and confusing on what is the main purpose. The obituary design is also crowded and could definitely benefit from a revamp.