Yes, you probably should
We’ve been running our own little and very simple affiliate program for nearly 10 years now and it brings a nice little chunk of stable traffic every month.
After some testing I’ve decided against joining a network, we’re running a very simple piece of software instead.
Basically it tags every visitor to the site with the affiliate’s ID and we read that ID with the sale. Then we pay out semi-automatically by Paypal at the end of the month. After the initial setup, which took a couple of days, I’ve basically not touched the technical side at all. We had someone create a lot of “banners” and graphical ads but now people mostly only use text links. We’ve never updated the graphics and nobody asked us to.
Not joining a network has the downside of having to manage the technical side on ones own and not having a large base of potential affiliates from the start. But in my experience even in a large network good affiliates are rare and the really good affiliates are able to find and recognize good programs on their own and they understand that you as an independent vendor can pay higher commission rates and are more flexible in what you can offer. So not being in a network might take longer to take off but it offers much more freedom, control and flexibility - and your cookies are not blocked by ad blockers.
Having an affiliate program is a nice incentive for people to put links on their website and tell every customer they can earn a little extra with recommending our product.
Consider offering “lifetime commission”, so the affiliates get a commission with every puchase / update / upsell a customer makes. Affiliates are people - so they like getting money on a regular basis or unexpectedly
That said, our little affiliate program is not our major source of traffic or revenue but it brings very qualified leads regularly and it’s so simple to maintain that setting it up and running it paid off many, many times over.