If you have a word mark that may be difficult to register because it is descriptive, consider creating a logo that contains the words and register the logo.
You and your competitors can search for trademarks in the USPTO’s trademark database (http://www.uspto.gov/main/trademarks.htm). If your trademark is a logo, the “literal elements” of the logo (e.g. the words “patent law” and “www.heels-dot-com” in my logo) are also entered into the database and are also searchable. When you register a logo as a trademark, you are not claiming exclusive rights to the words in the logo (i.e. the literal elements of the logo) but are claiming rights to the graphical presentation of the logo as a whole. Word marks are stronger from a legal perspective, but they are more difficult to register when they are descriptive. Logos are not as strong trademarks from a legal perspective (since they protect just the particular logo, and if you change the logo, you’ll need to file for a new trademark), but they are easier to register. Both word marks and logos have deterrent effects (i.e. discouraging other from registering similar marks), since basic searches of the USPTO’s trademark database return both word marks and literal elements from logo marks. So if you have a word mark that may be difficult to register because it is descriptive, consider creating a logo that contains the words and register the logo.