Two new explicit finite difference schemes for the solution of the one-dimensional Korteweg-de-Vries equation are proposed. This equation describes the character of a wave generated by an incompressible fluid. We analyse the spectral properties of our schemes against two existing schemes proposed by Zabusky and Kruskal (1965) and Wang et al. (2008). An optimisation technique based on minimisation of the dispersion error is implemented to compute the optimal value of the spatial step size at a given value of the temporal step size and this is validated by some numerical experiments. The performance of the four methods are compared in regard to dispersive and dissipative errors and their ability to conserve mass, momentum and energy by using two numerical experiments which involve solitons.