I suspect that nine out of ten Google Analytics users aren’t getting the information out of it that would really help them. (It might be some compensation to learn that in my experience, users with other analytics applications, such as WebTrends, aren’t even getting the most basic information from it.) Certainly if you’re just using Google Analytics “out of the box”, it won’t be giving you all the information you need. But it can do almost anything, if you have the imagination and, if necessary, a helpful website developer.
The first thing you need to do is to forget about all the data Google Analytics offers as standard. You’re almost certainly not a typical user. Go for a long walk and think about what you really want to know about your website visitors. This will probably include what the trends in overall numbers are, how many were potentially any good to you, and what they did. Within that you’ll want to know where they came from, how they’re seeing your site, and if they performed certain actions.
Now we’re getting to the interesting stuff. The key “what they did” information will probably involve a lot more than looking at web pages. For many engineering or scientific companies, one of the key things a visitor might do is to look at a PDF brochure or data sheet. Google Analytics can measure these, just as it can measure button-clicks (such as forms being sent). But they all have to be set up with some additions to the website code, and most web designers conveniently forget to suggest this because they don’t know how to do it*.
And whatever reports you define, they can be set up to be emailed to you every week, month or whatever, so you never have to keep going back and re-creating them.
So go for that walk, and think about what you really need to know about your website visitors. Then get that information sent to you.