Make an Online Memorial Tribute

If you have lost a loved one, dealing with the grief can be a difficult process, not only for you, but for each person whose life was touched by your dearly departed. Creating an online memorial website for the departed person can be the most appropriate, broad-reaching and enduring tribute you can make to honor the life of the deceased. An online memorial allows many others to access the memorial, wherever they are in the world, and it will help you and the close circle of family and friends find another personal outlet for dealing with the loss.

Over time as people contribute their messages, photos and poetry to the online memorial, this site becomes a wonderful source of cherished memories for everyone to reflect upon at any time in the privacy of their own space. Creating an online memorial is an important way to ensure that your loved one is remembered and honored.


  1. Select a suitable site for creating the online memorial. You have various options here, ranging from starting your own website to using existing memorial sites. Here are some suggestions:
    • Create an online memorial with its own domain and keep it updated over the upcoming years. Be sure to make at least part of it interactive to let mourners leave their own messages of love and memories.
    • Use a customized memorial site. There are quite a few sites that allow you to create your own memorial for someone. When choosing such a site, read the terms and conditions carefully and be sure that the site's approach and underpinnings are supportive of what you want for the memorial. Also, see whether it's free or if there is a cost involved – this may make a difference to your choice. When assessing an online memorial site, check that it has full multimedia, free online obituaries, forums and possibly also articles and resources for dealing with grief and condolence guestbooks. Again, having interactive ability for mourners to leave their memories is an important element too.
    • To find such a site, do a search online for "Online Memorial Sites" and you'll get many returns, or ask other people for their suggestions through social network sites like Facebook and Twitter.
    • Use a photo, blog or Facebook account for keeping photos and comments in one place. This may not be as flexible as other options but it can be useful for creating a quick and functional memorial which can be developed into something more substantial later.
  2. Assemble materials for the online memorial. Even objects, papers, and beloved places can be captured through the art of photography, so don't limit yourself. Consider all the things that mattered to your loved one and that are representative of your loved one. Prepare to add these items to the online memorial by assembling them, finding them, photographing them, and making any needed visits to places and people, etc. The following steps walk you through some of the basic things that are helpful to include.
    • Don't feel too pressured to get everything into the memorial straight away. The biography can contain as little or as much information as you like, as you can always update or add more at a later date. Moreover, provided you've made the site interactive or enabled a facility for any mourner to be able to email you additions for the site, you can make the building of the memorial more open to all and therefore more reflective of the many ways the deceased was perceived by different people in the deceased's life.
  3. Prepare all essential biographical data for the deceased. This information should include such things as birth date, death date, full name and places associated with life events. Aim to fully document the life of the dearly departed without getting bogged down in irrelevant or trivial details.
    • If there are details missing, don't be afraid to ask visitors to help out where they can.
  4. Add a portrait or picture of the departed. A well-chosen photo of the departed paints a thousand words and offers the most personal connection with visitors to the memorial. Even better is to choose a range of photos covering various life stages of the deceased's life. Different visitors will respond to different eras of photos, depending on when they spent time with the deceased.
    • Provide the ability for visitors to upload photos for sharing. If you're concerned about what might be uploaded, have them vetted or emailed to you before allowing them to show live but at least provide the means for all who might have photos.
    • If you don't have a Share Photos Online, you'll have to digitize a conventional photo. To do this, you'll need access to a scanner for copying a photo onto your computer. If you don't have a scanner, it's very likely that a friend or family member does and are willing to help you. Also, most print shops and office supply stores will be happy to scan photos onto a CD for a small fee.
    • Alternatively, carefully take a photo of the photo and upload this image. Good digital cameras can make decent reproductions using this method.
  5. Write or choose the tribute text. This text is the essence of your memorial. It can be the funeral eulogy, a poem or your own thoughts and memories. It's your memorial, so take time to reflect, remember and share how you felt, or feel, about your loved one. Telling a story which stands out in your mind about the deceased is always a good start.
    • As with the photos, ensure that others have the space to add their stories and comments about their experiences of time spent with the deceased. The more opportunities that you provide for others to give input, the more well-rounded the memorial will become.
    • Try to add quotes that the deceased loved or that sum up this person's outlook on life.
    • Ask people to share their first, best and last memories of the deceased.
    • Leave space open for the addition of writing at any time by anyone.
    • Be sure to add essays, poems, notes, etc. of worth that the deceased wrote. Personal writing is valued by people who loved the deceased.
  6. Consider adding Publish Your Multimedia Work items. Multimedia items can make the visitor's experience even more interactive and enhance the memories of the deceased's life. Multimedia items include video, Capture Audio and photo albums. Although not all people have access to video or audio clips of their loved one, it is becoming more common to film or tape the people in our lives. If you do have such recordings and you're willing to share them, visitors to the memorial will be able to enjoy a different dimension of the departed loved one.
    • It is advisable to keep the size of the video to a minimum for quick and convenient download by visitors. Some people have difficulty viewing videos, so be sure to add instructions.
    • Again, invite anyone with multimedia items to contact you if they'd like them to be added to the online memorial.
    • Old family movies on celluloid and in other non-digital forms can be transferred to a digital form by photography specialists. Look up local specialists in the Yellow Pages.
  7. Invite family and friends to visit and share their memories or sympathy. Have ready a list of emails or other means for alerting people that you'd like to send invites to. Ask them to pass the invitation on to others that they know knew the deceased too.
    • Consider making a timed event when you can bring a group of interested family and friends together online to share memories in real time. Use Skype or a video site or Facebook or Twitter to arrange this and to run it. It's a bit of work getting a time that's convenient to many but it's worth it for the feeling of togetherness that this can create, especially for people who live far away or if you're holding it as an anniversary memorial event.
    • Ask for feedback. This can be an important source of knowing what you might need to change about the site to make it easier to access, read or to improve the content, etc.


  • Offering condolences is a natural feeling for many people after reading about the life and memories of someone who has departed.
  • Don't be surprised if people who are strangers to you or even to the deceased leave messages.
  • You might like to set up a fund for this purpose and even ask people to donate to help maintain the website in memory of the departed person.
  • If you create your own website, be sure to make the payments to keep the domain open.


  • In most cases it will be appropriate to remove any negative and abusive comments in order to maintain the serenity and respect of the memorial – be sure that you have the power to do this and that you keep an eye on comments.
  • As with any situation where unhappy emotions are involved, be prepared for occasional unhappy or even abusive comments on an online memorial.
  • Exercise great discretion when handling these as the administrator of the memorial – if it's venting from a family member, you may wish to contact them privately.

Things You'll Need

  • Internet access
  • Digital camera
  • Photos
  • Objects, papers and other mementos
  • Multimedia items (optional)
  • Website (own or shared)

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Sources and Citations