Despite the current economic downturn, most small businesses are remaining upbeat about online revenue in the year ahead, according to Register.com.

In a survey of 800 small-business representatives, roughly 70 percent said they expected online sales to grow or remain the same this year, the New York-based Web services firm reported this week.

Forty-one percent of respondents, who included owners and business partners, said they were earning more than a quarter of their revenue from online sales.

"Our small business customers know that investing in a great website is a more effective way to reach potential customers and stay in contact with existing clients," Register.com CEO Larry Kutscher said in a statement. "The response to our survey shows the result of this investment, as a majority of customers expect no decline -- and many expect growth -- in their web revenues over the next year."

The survey also found that most small firms were planning to prioritize website design, followed by search engine optimization and e-mail marketing.