Having an online presence goes beyond having a website. An online presence refers to all activity and content that a business has under their name on the internet. Having an active website is just part of that activity.
There is a lot of work that goes into getting an online presence. Things to consider when considering an online presence (or for businesses that already have a website):
A website with quality content: Most small businesses leave the content up to the web designer/developer. However, it is important to understand that website designers/developers do not have the expertise that is required to develop quality content. As a business owner, you are the subject matter expert and you should be developing the website content. Do keep in mind that every line of your content is an opportunity to sell your products/services.
A website with strong Search Engine Optimization: Unlike the content developer, an SEO expert understands what it will take for search engines to find your website. Business owners need to work with someone who understands the process (aka Algorithm) used by search engines and implement that on the website. The SEO expert will concentrate on simple things like title tags, headers, etc to make your content easier to find. Contrary to popular opinion, keywords are not as important as they use to be. A keyword without quality content means absolutely nothing. SEO is an ongoing process and it needs to be adjusted as search engines adjust their algorithms.
Advertising: At least during the initial launch phase of a website. There are several ways of advertise that will not break the bank. Work with your website designer/developer or SEO agency for suggestions on how to advertise at a low cost or even free.
Social Media: In this day and age, social media is king. Social Media is a great way of exposing your business to the world. It is also a very inexpensive way to advertise your product/services. Ensure that your site has links to as many social media sites as possible. At the very least, it should have links to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Snapshot.