5 Reasons Online Memorials are More Meaningful than Obituaries

5 Reasons Online Memorials are More Meaningful than Obituaries

Online memorials offer a meaningful alternative to traditional obituaries because they offer five important benefits.

When your loved one passes away, it is common to write a death notice. Traditional obituaries are a longstanding custom to accomplish this. They are usually published in print newspapers in the communities where the deceased person lived for a significant amount of time. Today, obituaries are sometimes also published in the virtual edition of local news sources. Most often, there is a publication fee based upon word count. You might also have to pay extra to include a photograph of your loved one. As you may have personally experienced, obituaries have several downfalls. Their limitations have led most people to choose online memorial websites for their loved ones instead of supplementing the traditional death notice.

Below, we will discuss five reasons why online memorial websites are a more meaningful choice than the traditional obituary when your loved one passes away.

Publication Lifetime

Traditional obituaries are usually published only once. Sure, you can save hard copies of the newspapers your loved one’s obituary appeared in. But you’ll have to take pains to preserve the quality of the paper over time. While some newspapers now publish obituaries online, too, it’s easy to lose track of the links to them. Also, they may be deleted after a set time to save space.

An online memorial website is something that will exist at a unique URL. You can visit it as many times as you’d like. It will remain visible unless you decide to remove it from the internet. Likewise, you can share it with friends and family as many times as you’d like. It will be easy to “publish” on social media as often as you’d like, too.


A static obituary published by a newspaper serves the purpose of communicating information about a person’s passing. However, there is no option for readers to interact with the obituary to share condolences, stories, photos, or anything else they may feel related to the news.

On the other hand, an online memorial website is built on the assumption that people will crave opportunities to interact when someone they cared about passes away. Instead, an online memorial serves as a collective place of grieving, celebrating, and honoring a life well lived. Regardless of physical location, friends and family can join together in a secure and personalized digital location. They can share their feelings, stories, memories, photos, and even videos. Coming together like this during a time of sadness and loss can aid in a family’s healing journey in a way that a traditional obituary cannot offer.

Informative vs. Story-Based

Have you ever read an obituary of someone you knew and felt that it seemed impersonal? Even though traditional death notices are usually written by those closest to the deceased, there is a cultural expectation that they should be factual, informative, and relatively brief. Unfortunately, this can leave an obituary feeling less like a tribute and more like a piece of news.

With online memorial websites, you can also share information that is of interest. More importantly, though, they can be living, breathing repositories of stories, anecdotes, photos, music, and more. All of these things create the story of someone’s life, rather than a simple announcement of their death.

Collaboration and Support

When someone you love dies, it can do wonders for your heart and mind to hear the words of remembrance others wish to share upon learning their passing. Unfortunately, it’s never possible to know what someone thinks when they read a newspaper obituary unless they reach out to you personally. Unfortunately, most people do not do this because it can feel tough to talk openly about death and grief topics. Comments posted on social media are easily lost in each day’s virtual noise. Social media algorithms may even prevent you from seeing the tributes friends and family have posted about your special person.

An online memorial is a dedicated space filled fully and completely with all of the words people feel compelled to speak from the heart when someone they know and love passes away. In addition, online memorials are easy to share. So that many people can contribute to them, making it much more likely that you’ll get to read all the comments, see all the photos, and relive all the memories of your loved one’s family and friends are sharing to honor and remember their life.

Share Photo Memories

Photos are always precious, but they become even more so when your loved one passes away. Pictures of happier times can make the days easier to manage as you learn to live in a world without your special person. An obituary may include one photo of your loved one. But it lacks the ability to tell a story in photos that speaks more fully to your loved one’s life.

One of the most meaningful benefits of an online memorial website is that all of your old photos can be uploaded, digitally preserved, and easily shared with others.

Final Thoughts on Why Online Memorials are More Meaningful than Obituaries

When taken together, the five benefits of online memorials discussed above provide a stark contrast with traditional obituaries. One is an announcement of death; the other is a celebration of life.

If you want to honor, remember, and grieve in a more personal way, an online memorial website is a meaningful way to do so. An obituary might solve your need to make a general announcement of your loved one’s death. But an online memorial is a way to preserve all the components of their full and complex life.

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